Now that the 2018 season is over, Minor League Mondays will take a look at each of the New York Mets’ minor league affiliates over the next several weeks. This series will take a look at each affiliate’s season highlights, top prospects, interesting promotions, and more. We continue our climb up the minor league ladder today with a look at the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League.
Minor League Mondays Affiliate Review: Brooklyn Cyclones
2018 Record: 40-35, Second Place in New York-Penn League’s McNamara Division
Story: After a dismal 24-52 2017 campaign, the Brooklyn Cyclones played a much more crisp brand of baseball in 2018. The Cyclones staged a dramatic turnaround, improving to a 40-35 record that was good for second place in the New York-Penn League’s McNamara division. Brooklyn finished five games behind the Hudson Valley Renegades, but they narrowly missed the postseason, getting eliminated from wild card contention on the final day of the season by the Auburn Doubledays. Despite failing to qualify for the playoffs for a sixth straight year, things are looking up for the Cyclones, who played much better for former Met fan favorite Edgardo Alfonzo in his second year at the helm.
Top Promotion: The Brooklyn Cyclones are known for their crazy promotions, and 2018 was no exception. The highlight this season came on August 30th, when the Cyclones paid tribute to the hit NBC sitcom The Office. One of the show’s stars, Creed Bratton, was at the game and did autograph signings and photo opportunities throughout the night while fans had a chance to purchase a limited edition Creed Bratton bobblehead for $30. The Cyclones also had a lot of in game entertainment inspired by the show, such as paper airplane tossing, a Jello mold eating contest, and a Paint like Pam event. This allowed fans to paint pictures of MCU Park, with the best painting being hung in the stadium’s reception area.
OF Ross Adolph: Adolph, the Mets’ 12th round draft pick in 2018 out of Toledo, had a banner year in Brooklyn. The young center fielder batted .276 with seven home runs, 35 RBI’s, and 14 stolen bases in 61 games for the Cyclones. Adolph, who also made the NYPL All Star team and was named the game’s MVP after going 2 for 3 with a triple and a homer in the contest, was named the organization’s Sterling Award winner (the equivalent of team MVP) for Brooklyn.
RHP Jason Vilera: Vilera, a 21 year old right hander from Venezuela, was the Cyclones’ best pitcher in 2018. Over 13 starts for Brooklyn, Vilera went 5-2 with a 1.83 ERA and 0.91 WHIP while striking out 78 batters in 73.2 innings pitched. Although Vilera did not crack the Mets’ top 30 prospects according to MLB.com, he should be a player to watch for the Columbia Fireflies next season.
RHP Ryley Gilliam: Gilliam, the Mets’ fifth round pick in 2018 out of Clemson, was assigned to Brooklyn to begin his pro career. Several scouts believed that Gilliam could be on the fast track to the Mets’ bullpen, and he did nothing to dissuade those notions in his first experience in professional baseball. Gilliam made 17 appearances for the Cyclones and pitched to a 2.08 ERA, recording five saves in six opportunities in the process. The peripheral numbers also looked excellent for Gilliam, who held opponents to a .180 batting average against him and struck out 31 batters in 17.1 innings pitched.
Check back next week as we continue our Affiliate Review Series with a look at the Columbia Fireflies of the South Atlantic League!