Monday, June 13, 2011

N.Y. METS ~ Brooklyn To Flushing; Cyclones Abound


NEW YORK METS:  The Pipeline From Brooklyn Is Serving Flushing Well.

In 2007, the Brooklyn Cyclones dominated the New York-Penn League's McNamara Division from start to finish.  The Cyclones by the Sea Shore enjoyed one of their finest seasons ever in their decade long history as they rolled to a 49-25 record and a fourth division title.

Dillon Gee was on that pitching staff.  In eleven starts for Brooklyn, he achieved a 3-1 record while sporting the League's sixth best ERA with a 2.47 mark.  In sixty-two innings pitched that season, he allowed seventeen earned runs and gave up fifty-seven hits and only one of those hits was a home run.  He walked a mere nine batters while compiling fifty-six strikeouts.

In 2011, it's now well documented how Dillon Gee is currently anchoring the Mets' staff after not coming north with the team out of Spring Training.  The plan for him was another season at Buffalo.  But then Chris Young was lost for the season with re-occurring arm injuries and Gee was called upon to step in.  But he didn't just step-in; he emerged as the unlikely new leader of the Mets' staff.

What he's accomplished so far is nothing short of remarkable; unless you're someone like me who was privy to his talents a few years ago in my backyard by the beach.  Because then, if you're a Cyclones fan like I am, you would have been eagerly anticipating his arrival on the Big Club after watching him progress through the Mets' system.

Just as in 2007 when he had 62 innings pitched for Brooklyn, he is now at the 62 innings pitched portion of his Rookie Season.  The similarities are striking.

Dillon Gee's 2011 Season:
7-0 record.
62 ~ innings pitched.
48 ~ hits.
21 ~ earned runs.
2 ~ home runs!
20 ~ walks
44 ~ strikeouts.

Aside from his win/loss record, which no one could have anticipated, Cyclone fans have known full well, Dillon Gee's walks have been a little high since being called up.  And I took an early note of that.  But again, that's because I'm familiar.  But he seems to have corrected that aspect of his game in recent starts and his walks-to-strikeouts should start taking a near dramatic turn for the better.  Just watch, I say. 

For me personally, Dillon Gee's rookie season reminds me a lot of his 2007 season in Brooklyn.  But he wasn't the ACE of the staff that season.  That distinction belonged to Dylan Owen.  He completely dominated opposing batsmen that year.  In thirteen starts, Dylan led the New York-Penn League with nine wins while also sporting the League's best ERA; a 1.49 mark.  In seventy-two innings pitched, he allowed fifty-one hits and only twelve earned runs.  He walked twelve batters and struck out sixty-nine.

But Dylan's ascension through the Mets' farm system has been a bit more bumpy than Gee's.  His strikeouts to innings pitched has remained strong, but at the AA and AAA levels, he's become far more hittable since his days in Brooklyn.

The Dillon and Dylan Show were supposed to make their MLB debut together; just like when they pitched in Brooklyn.  But Dillon Gee was also called up at the end of last season.  And so he's separated himself from Dylan in a sense; not just by an eight hour car ride to Buffalo, but in ability.

Met fans can expect Dylan Owen in Spring Training next season and hopefully making the Big Club.  And I'm hopeful he'll be closer to the pitcher I remember pitching in Brooklyn during that sensational 2007 season, than the pitcher making a start tonight for the Buffalo Bisons. 

Dylan Owen is a combined (Binghampton and Buffalo) 3-3 on the season so far.  But he's sporting an alarming 5.26 ERA.  Tonight against the Columbus Clippers, Dylan Owen was knocked out of the game after only 4.2 innings pitched.  He walked six Clippers while giving up three earned runs.  And so, when compared to Dillon Gee, Owen's more perilous journey through the Mets' Minors continues.

Dylan was considered the prospect with more potential.  He was the power pitcher; Gee not so much.  These days, Dylan Owen struggles while Dillon Gee is flourishing with his opportunity to pitch in the Bigs.  I still have high hopes for Dylan Owen; very high hopes.  I also have very sweet memories of him pitching during that 2007 season.  Another full year at Buffalo will serve the youngster well.

There will always be special bonds between Brooklyn fans and their former Cyclones; especially as they make their way through the system and onto the Big Club.  I even still felt an attachment to Angel Pagan after we traded him to Chicago back when.  And that 2007 season, although it did not end in a championship for Brooklyn, stays with us as one of the most memorable summers spent by the Boardwalk.

Lucas Duda was also a member of those 2007 Surf Avenue Sluggers.  In sixty-seven games played, he batted .299 that season.  With 234 at-bats, he amassed twenty doubles; four home runs; and thirty-two RBI.  Earlier this season, he was tearing up AAA-Buffalo before his most recent call up.  Like other former Cyclones before him, he is a familiar and most welcome sight.

The Brooklyn Cyclones open their eleventh season this Friday night against their cross-city rival; the Staten Island Yankees.  And so right off the bat, we'll be treated to the first installment of the Battle of the Boroughs.  Saturday will be Brooklyn's home opener.  I'm excited to see what my 2011 Baby Bums will look like this season.  Every year is different at A-level.  But every season brings with it, a little glimpse of the future.

For some of those 2007 Brooklyn Cyclones, like the ones mentioned above, their 2007 future and that of the Mets is now.  Dillon Gee is becoming one of the biggest stories in Baseball this season and is building a serious case to pitch in the All-Star Game.  Lucas Duda is trying to add some much needed slugging to an, at times, anaemic offense.  And I wish them all well.

So from the beaches of Brooklyn, another summer of Cyclones' Baseball is upon us.  And to that I say, "Play Ball!"

And to all my former Cyclone favorites and Amazin's of today I say, "Let's Go Mets!"


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