In Tuesday night’s New York-Penn League All-Star Game at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark in St. George, Team Blue is going to be led by the Brooklyn Cyclones coaching staff with manager Edgardo Alfonzo at the helm. In his third year as manager of the Cyclones, Alfonzo feels privileged to be leading the team in a league filled with competition:
“Not only for me, but for everyone here, it is a privilege. They should be proud to be a part of the All-Star team, especially in this league with a lot of competition,” said Alfonzo about the honor of coaching Team Blue.
5 players are representing the Cyclones on the squad this year, which is a good indicator of the talent that the Mets organization has at the lower levels of their system:
“That’s great because it means they deserve it. They’ve been playing great baseball and it is good for the organization to have 5 guys in the All-Star Game,” said Alfonzo.
With any All-Star Game, there is always a challenge of getting everybody into the game, but Alfonzo sees it as a good challenge “to give everyone the opportunity to be in the field.”
“We will try our best to do it,” said Alfonzo about the challenge.
While Lowell starter Yusniel-Padron Artilles will get the ball for Team Blue to begin the game, three Brooklyn pitchers (Garrison Bryant, Matt Cleveland, and Mitch Ragan) will enter the game later on. Bryant will pitch the second inning, Cleveland the fifth, and Ragan in the sixth. Those three pitchers have been key to Brooklyn being only 1/2 game out of the McNamara Division lead and the current leader in the Wild Card standings:
They’ve been doing a great job. They should be happy because there’s a lot of competition here. Those guys have been doing great all season long,” said Alfonzo about the 3 pitchers.
In terms of the two position players in the game, first baseman Joe Genord will take part in the Home Run Derby before Wednesday’s game and Wilmer Reyes will start at shortstop and bat third. Genord, who was the Mets’ 9th Round pick in this year’s draft, has 8 home runs in 53 games and the power has been the standout tool for him this year:
“So far, so good. He’s just been a little struggling hitting wise, but he’s going to be a power guy. He has tremendous opposite-field power. He just needs a little more confidence every time going to home plate to make something happen. He’s been doing a great job for us so far,” said Alfonzo about Genord’s season so far.
As for Reyes, he is hitting .310 in 49 games and is one of six players on Team Blue to have double-digit stolen bases (10). While Reyes wasn’t an everyday player to begin the season, Alfonzo says that Reyes brings a lot to the table day in and day out:
“He’s the guy. He wasn’t supposed to play everyday, but now he’s an everyday star, the way he hits, the way he plays. He’s bringing a lot to the table,” said Reyes.
With the Cyclones in postseason contention, Alfonzo is one win away from his 100th victory as a manager. For him, he enjoys the challenges that each year brings as a new group of players come in:
“I feel good. I like the challenge. Every year is the same thing, start over again with new guys coming. It’s something I like to teach the guys pro baseball,” said Alfonzo about how he has grown as a manager.
Of course, with Alfonzo’s noteworthy Major League career, he is coaching players that were young kids when he was an active player. While the 12-year big leaguer doesn’t reveal much about his career, he mentions that he assumes the players should know who he is before they arrive to the organization.
“I don’t ask that question to the guys. Most of them know because when you go to some place, you have to know who you are going to deal with, who you are going to trust when you are here. I assume they know what I did during my career.
Joining Alfonzo on his coaching staff this year for the first time is former Met, Endy Chavez. Chavez is a defensive coach and he wants the All-Star Game to be fun for everyone involved:
“Something I am going to enjoy for sure and it is really good for the beginning of my career to do whatever they need to have fun in this game, that’s the purpose,” said Chavez about what it means to coach in this game.
Chavez has enjoyed being on the coaching staff and being recently removed from his playing career, a lot of the players know who he is and it has helped him communicate with the Cyclones:
“A lot of guys do. That makes me comfortable that for sure we are going to have a good relationship and understand each other,” said Chavez.
Keep it right here at Amazin’ Prospects for all of your coverage of tonight’s All-Star Game.