Don't be fooled by the sunny skies. It's Cyclones season in Brooklyn again.
The Mets' Single-A Short Season affiliate will begin its 2015 schedule on Friday at 7 p.m. at Staten Island, before returning to MCU Park for the Cyclones' home opener on Saturday.
Here's a reminder of what happened last season and what to watch for this year.
The Cyclones went 42-34, finishing in second place in the New York-Penn League's McNamara Division, four games back of the Hudson Valley Renegades. Though they finished with one of the top four league records, Brooklyn was tied with the Connecticut Tigers, who held the season tiebreaker, meaning the Cyclones missed out on the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
LONG ISLAND CONNECTION
Tyler Badamo, who was born in Mount Sinai and attended Dowling, is slated to pitch the Cyclones' home opener on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. vs. the Staten Island Yankees. Badamo was selected in the 24th round of the 2014 draft and pitched in 10 games (four starts) with the Gulf Coast League Mets. The 21-year-old righthander was 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA, striking out 26 in 31 innings.
HITTERS TO WATCH
Enmanuel Zabala is a career .282 hitter with a .364 on-base percentage. The 20-year-old leftfielder from the Dominican Republic played for the Dominican Summer League Mets in 2013 and for the GCL Mets in 2014, where he batted .301 with 10 extra-base hits in 55 games.
Branden Kaupe is entering his fourth season in the Mets' minors. The 21-year-old second baseman was selected by the Mets in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. The Hawaii native is a career .214 hitter in 387 at-bats, but boasts a .355 OBP and has walked 83 times while striking out 108. He previously played with the GCL Mets and Kingsport. Like Zabala, this will be his first season with Brooklyn.
PITCHERS TO WATCH
Righthanded reliever Matt Blackham was a 29th-round selection in the 2014 draft and struck out 25 in 19 innings during his debut season with Kingsport. The 22-year-old Tennessee native had a 1.42 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and .149 batting average against in 11 games.
Righthanded starter Michael Gibbons, 22, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Wheaton College in August 2014. He made one start for Single-A Advanced St. Lucie this season, striking out four and allowing two hits in seven scoreless innings.
Lefthander Kevin Canelon has swung from the bullpen to the starting rotation in four mostly successful minor league seasons with the DSL Mets and GCL Mets. The 21-year-old from Venezuela has a 3.07 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and .216 batting average against in 51 games (34 starts).
Righthanded reliever Alex Palsha was selected in the 27th round of the 2014 draft and pitched in 17 games with the GCL Mets and Kingsport. The California-bred Palsha, 23, struck out 19 in 17 1/3 innings, allowing 13 hits and five walks and posting a 1.04 ERA.
Three players selected in this June's draft will be making their pro debuts for Brooklyn.
Righthanded reliever Corey Taylor, 22, was selected in the seventh round out of Texas Tech. He was 4-0 with an 0.31 ERA in 19 games (one start) for the Red Raiders.
Lefthanded starting pitcher P.J. Conlon, 21, was selected in the 13th round out of San Diego. He was 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA, striking out 82 in 91 1/3 innings. Conlon had a .196 batting average against in 15 games (14 starts).
Second baseman Vincent Siena, 21, was selected in the 14th round out of Connecticut. He hit .362 with 14 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 11 stolen bases for the Huskies.
Ex-Mets infielder Edgardo Alfonzo serves as a coach on manager Tom Gamboa's staff. Alfonzo played with the Mets from 1995-2002, batting .292 with a .367 OBP and 120 home runs.
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