The New York Mets short season “A” ball affiliate is yet to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but at six games out of a wild card spot heading into Sunday with just nine games remaining on their schedule, it seems all but over for the Coney Island-based club, who would have to jump five other teams for a post-season slot.
Because of their collective struggles from the plate, the Cyclones have been involved in many close contests, which obviously grow more crucial as the season continued. An example of this would be their August 24th loss to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
After trailing 4-3 prior to the bottom half of the eighth inning, the Cyclones, despite their three runs, struggled offensively, before taking a timely 5-4 edge before the ninth inning.
And then the Cyclones proceeded to squander the lead and ultimately a critical game for a team in dire need of a late-season string of victories for an opportunity at postseason baseball.
The Cyclones lost 6-5.
With the Cyclones wrapping up a home series against the Auburn Doubledays before traveling to face the Aberdeen Ironbirds, followed by a season-ending doubleheader with the rival Staten Island Yankees, it’ll take the Cyclones’ best run of the season to get them over the hump.
Falling in their favor are the match-ups with Auburn and Aberdeen, two teams who have been eliminated from playoff contention by ranking in the bottom four of the NYPL.
For much of the season, the Cyclones have been at the bottom of the league in hitting, but have had some bright spots for Met fans to hang their orange-and-blue baseball caps on as they look ahead into the organization’s future.
Though he’s only played 30 games with the Cyclones, first baseman Peter Alonso, 21, hit a team-best and very encouraging .321 average in 109 at bats. The 2016 second-round pick also had 12 doubles, five home runs and 21 RBI’s this season.
Outfielder Desmond Lindsay, 19, also showed his mettle in limited action, with the former second-round pick (2015) hitting .291 in 24 games. In his 79 at-bats, he also slugged four home runs with 14 RBI’s.
Throughout the season, the Cyclones unit was more effective from the mound.
The squad’s most effective starting pitcher has been Dominican-born Harol Gonzalez. Gonzalez, 21, really stepped into the role of Cyclones’ ace this season by posting a spectacular 1.57 ERA in 12 starts with a record of 6-2.
With 81 strikeouts in 74.1 innings pitched, he cemented himself as the team’s most dominant pitcher this summer.
Signed as a minor league free agent in 2016, Joseph Zanghi, 21, came as a pleasant surprise for the Cyclones by asserting himself as the team’s top relief pitcher.
Through 21 games (27.1 innings of work), Zanghi recorded a team-best seven saves and a fantastic 1.32 ERA heading into Sunday night. In those 27-plus innings Zanghi also recorded a whopping 42 strikeouts.
This year’s first-round pick, 20-year-old Justin Dunn, generated a lot of excitement upon being drafted 19th overall in June. The Boston College product made only six starts, but was nothing short of promising during his stint as a Cyclone thus far.
With only four earned runs in 24 innings of work, over the course of which he’s also posted 28 K’s and a 1.50 ERA, Dunn did nothing short of excel at the short season “A” level.
These potential future Mets are worth keeping an eye on in the final few games of the season and moving forward in their growth.