The midseason report card

Cyclones win a slugfest
The Brooklyn Paper / Gary Thomas

The Cyclones reached the halfway mark in their 76-game season with the completion of their game on July 26, and they ended their first half with a record of 18–20 and in last place in the McNamara Division, trailing the first place Staten Island Yankees by six games.

The Brooks have some top-ranked talent, but injuries and a few players playing below their potential have kept the club struggling.

Here are this year’s annual mid-year grades. All stats are for the first half.

• Ike Davis, first base: The 2008 Collegiate Baseball All-American from Arizona State was a Mets first-round draft pick (18th overall). The 6-foot-4, 215-pound power hitter smashed 16 home runs this year in college and had 76 RBI. For the Cyclones, he had at least one hit in each of his first 15 games, then tailed off, and is now hitting .237 with no homers and only 9 RBI. He’s been making the adjustment to using a wood bat and he’s been shifting his weight too much to his front foot, diminishing his power. At first base, he’s fielded smoothly, making no errors. Grade: C–.

• Josh Satin, second base: Satin hit .379 at Cal-Berkeley this season with 18 home runs. But as a Cyclone, Satin has lost his timing and was hitless in his first 15 at-bats. Since then, he’s gone 20-for-66 to work his average up to .247. He’s also smooth in the field. Grade: C+.

• Reese Havens, shortstop: Another first-round draft pick this year (22nd overall), Havens never took the field as a shortstop in the first half, sticking to designated hitter while nursing an injured elbow. He hit .261 with three homers in 69 at-bats, but just when he was ready to begin playing shortstop, he injured his groin. Grade: C+.

• Zach Lutz, third base: Lutz played only one game for the Cyclones last year, breaking his right foot on Opening Day. This season, he’s been plagued by injuries to his right quad and his right lower back. When he’s played he’s been superb, hitting .333 with three homers. He’s currently rehabbing his injuries at the Mets’ complex at Port St. Lucie. Grade: B.

• Eric Campbell, third base: Campbell’s been playing third in Lutz’s absence, and he’s hit .303. Grade: A–.

• Sean Ratliff, left field: Ratliff has power potential, but has hit only one and has batted just .193. He has an unusual stance in which he holds the bat straight up and down until just before the pitch — and, as a result, is sometimes late getting the bat back into place. He’s struck out 29 times in 83 at-bats. Grade: D.

Cyclone reliever Roy Merritt was unhittable, striking out four of the six batters he faced, including two with the bases loaded.
The Brooklyn Paper / Gary Thomas

• Kirk Nieuwenhuis, center field: He’s played a solid center field, and has hit .262 with a homer and 10 RBI. Grade: C+.

• John Servidio, right field: Plays all out all the time and has a good arm. “He’s been working hard at going up the middle,” said manager Edgar Alfonzo. The effort is paying off as he’s been cracking some hard line drives. His average is .269 with two homers. Grade: B–.

• Jordan Abruzzo, catcher: He has a strong and accurate arm, and has been nailing potential base stealers. “He really has been handling our pitchers well,” added Alfonzo. The switch-hitter batted .303 in the first half with a pair of homers in 52 at-bats. Grade: A.

Channeling the Bard

Each week, Ed Shakespeare takes a page from his ancient ancestor and offers up some verse in iambic pentameter. In this edition, join the Bard of Brooklyn Baseball as he revisits the Cyclones’ mood before their crucial 5–2 win on Monday night in Staten Island. It’s called, “Keeping Hope Ajar”:

The Brooklyn season nears the tipping point

As Clones face Yanks, a series played in four.

Unless the Boys of Edgar rock the joint,

Those pinstriped Statens get to close the door.

Cyclone star Jordan Abruzzo smiles when chatting with reporters about his two-run blast that beat the hated Staten Island Yankees. Abruzzo laughed when asked if the Yankees were the “evil empire” of the New York–Penn League.
The Brooklyn Paper / Vince DiMiceli

Next week: The pitching staff.

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