The 2015 Mets are eerily imitating the 2012 Brooklyn Cyclones season


The 2012 Brooklyn Cyclones finished the New York-Penn League (class-A short) season with a 45-31 record, seven games back of the Hudson Valley Renegades for the McNamara Division crown, but still qualified for the league’s lone wild card.

Hudson Valley finally put an end to Brooklyn’s campaign in the semifinal round, two games to one.

Mar 5, 2015; Melbourne, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher

Hansel Robles

(67) pitches during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Much like their parent club today, that Brooklyn team was somewhat offensively challenged, but very well stocked with quality pitchers.

Despite leading the league in walks, and hitting the second most home runs, the Cyclones somehow scored the circuit’s third least runs.  They additionally totaled the third least hits, posted the league’s second worst team batting average, and came in dead last with only 28 stolen bases in 76 games.

Purdue University product Kevin Plawecki made his professional debut.  As the starting catcher he went 54 for 216, slashed .250/.345/.384, with 8 doubles, 7 home runs and 27 RBI.

Two seasons later in 2014, he quickly proved his worth after just 58 games for (double-A) Binghamton, slashing .326/.378/.487, with 18 doubles, 6 home runs and 43 RBI.  Midway through the season, Kevin was promoted to (triple-A) Las Vegas, where in 43 games, he slashed .283/.345/.421, with 5 home runs and 21 RBI.

This season, Kevin was struggling through his first 9 games with Las Vegas when summoned to New York after Mets starting catcher Travis d’Arnaud broke a bone in his hand.  In 32 games and 102 at-bats for the big club thus far, Plawecki is slashing .208/.248/.311, with 2 home runs, 13 RBI, and 30 strikeouts.

Travis d’Arnaud is due back shortly.  To date, he has completed 5 games with (A) Port St. Lucie as part of his rehabilitation assignment.  Once back with the Mets, Kevin Plawecki, 24, will return to Las Vegas and resume his development at the plate, and on minimizing potential base theft from behind it.

Then 19-years old, Brandon Nimmo played in his first complete season as a pro.  He went 66 for 266, and slashed .248/.372/.406, with 6 home runs.  He was 4th in the circuit in doubles, and 6th in RBI.

Nimmo has made a methodical climb through the Mets system since getting drafted by the Mets with the #13 overall selection of the 2011 amateur draft.  He’s presently coming up on his 100th game with Binghamton.  So far after 34 games and 138 at-bats this season, Nimmo is slashing a respectable .297/.368/.420, with 11 extra base hits and 9 RBI.

The Mets 2012 #1 selection in the June draft shortstop Gavin Cecchini debuted for the (R-Appalachian League) Kingsport Mets, then was promoted to Brooklyn late in the season where he appeared in 5 games and stayed through the 2013 season.

The 2012 Brooklyn Cyclones were carried that season by pitching; brilliant starting pitching to be exact.  In fact, Coney Island’s staff dominated the New York-Penn League:

  • #1 – 2.62 ERA
  • #1 – least runs allowed
  • #1 – 1.054 WHiP
  • #1 – least hits allowed
  • #1 – Strikeout/Walk ratio
  • #1 – most shutouts
  • #1 – most saves
  • #2 – least walks issued
  • #2 – most strikeouts

The team featured a Fabulous Five starting rotation consisting of Luis Cessa, Rainy Lara, Luis Mateo, Gabriel Ynoa, and Hansel Robles.

  • Luis Cessa – 13 starts, 72.1 inn, (5-4) 2.49 ERA, 1.065 WHiP, 44 K, 5.5 K/9, 1.6 W/9.
  • Rainy Lara – 12 starts, 68.0 inn, (8-3) 2.91 ERA, 0.956 WHiP, 77 K, 10.2 K/9, 1.6 W/9.
  • Luis Mateo – 12 starts, 73.1 inn, (4-5) 2.45 ERA, 0.900 WHiP, 85 K, 10.4 K/9, 1.1 W/9.
  • Gabriel Ynoa – 13 starts, 76.2 inn, (5-2) 2.23 ERA, 0.926 WHiP, 64 K, 7.5 K/9, 1.2 W/9.
  • Hansel Robles – 12 starts, 72.2 inn, (6-1) 1.11 ERA, 0.784 WHiP, 66 K, 8.2 K/9, 1.2 W/9.

Most of the Class of 2012 are now pitching for Binghamton.

Luis Cessa is in his first full season with Binghamton.  He is presently 4-4 with a 2.81 ERA after 51.1 innings pitched, with a 1.227 WHiP, 7.4 K/9, and 1.9 W/9 average.

After 46 innings Rainy Lara is 3-2 with a 3.91 ERA and 1.370 WHiP, and a 7.2 K/9 and 2.5 W/9 average.

Gabriel Ynoa seems to be enduring the most struggles.  After 53.2 innings, he is 2-3 with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.472 WHiP, with unsightly 10.4 H/9, 2.9 W/9 and 4.5 K/9 averages.

Meanwhile, Luis Mateo is right back in Brooklyn.  Ironically, he was the first of the Fab-5 to reach Binghamton, if only for just one game in 2013.  Unfortunately, he was also the first of the group to require Tommy John surgery in June of 2013 after making just 4 appearances for the season.  He returned to pitch late in 2014, which included 4 appearances for Brooklyn where he’ll begin the 2015 (short) season later this month.

Hansel Robles‘ 2012 performance was particularly inspiring coming on the heels of two promising campaigns in the Dominican Summer League, then one with Kingsport.  By 2014 with Binghamton, however, the Mets began transitioning him away from his usual role as a starter.  In 110.2 innings Hansel posted a 4.31 ERA, 1.355 WHiP, fanned 106, with an 8.6 K/9 and 3.5 W/9 average.

After just 5 appearances for the Las Vegas 51s this season, he was pressed into major league service for the injury plagued New York Mets.  In 15 games and 11.2 innings all in relief, Hansel has so far posted a 5.40 ERA, and a 1.286 WHiP.  He owns a 10.0 K/9 average, and hitters are batting just .217 against him.  However, he’s walking batters at a rate of 3.9 W/9, owns a 3.29 FIP, and is allowing 48.5% of base runners to score against him.

Hansel Robles primarily throws a 95-mph fastball, slider, and a little used change-up.  Once Bobby Parnell, Vic Black, Jerry Blevins, and Jenrry Mejia start returning to fortify the Mets’ bullpen, Robles will return to his rightful place at Las Vegas to resume working with pitching coach Frank Viola.

So go the fortunes, or misfortunes, to date, for several of Brooklyn’s class of 2012.

With regards to their campaign, strong pitching was enough to carry them into the post-season, but once there a lack of offense failed to propel them forward.

The 2015 June amateur draft is now upon us, which in turn will repopulate the Brooklyn Cyclones locker room with a new batch of prospective summer hopefuls.

At present, however, the situation in Queens eerily resembles that of Brooklyn’s in 2012.  The Mets are running neck and neck with the Washington Nationals atop the National League East due largely in part to strong starting pitching and the bullpen work of Jeurys Familia.  But, without an offensive infusion the Mets threaten to negate any success gained by its pitchers.

The onus is on Sandy Alderson, then, to secure offensive talent that hopefully ensures this accumulation of pitching remains relevant, or risk a similar fate as the Mets’ Brooklyn affiliate did in 2012, or worse, not qualify for the post-season at all.