Former Met great Edgardo Alfonzo helped out the past few days as a special instructor for the Brooklyn Cyclones, who open their season tonight on the road against the Staten Island Yankees.
Alfonzo brings years of offensive and defensive expertise to these young players trying to get their feet wet in the big leagues. He said being around the team has caused him to remember his early days in the Mets organization.
“They’re big now,” Alfonzo said of the current players. “Here is better than Pittsfield (where he played Single-A ball). To come and see these young guys definitely reminds me of when I started with the Mets. Now that I’m retired and now a coach, it’s a great feeling to be with the kids and see the talent. I’m so happy to be back.”
Alfonzo was sure to instruct the infielders on baseball techniques, but he also said that he made it a point to stress the mental side of the game. Many of the players have the talent, but it’s just a matter of using that talent to their advantage, he said.
Speaking of talent, Alfonzo is very excited about the left side of the Cyclones’ infield: 18-year-old shortstop and No. 7 rated Mets prospect Amed Rosario and switch-hitting 19-year-old third baseman Jhoan Urena.
These two have quickly become best friends, and that chemistry should translate well on the field.
“They’re (Rosario and Urena) going to be good,” Alfonzo said. “We have a lot of potential guys here. They like to ask questions. I’m open to any of those guys who come with questions and try to give the right answer to them.”
Cyclones’ new manager Tom Gamboa echoed Alfonzo’s statements.
“He’s (Rosario) a five-tool player at shortstop and very exciting to watch,” Gamboa said. “I think the people are going to fall in love with him. It’s kind of ironic that his favorite player is Hanley Ramirez because by the time he’s 21 or 22, that’s probably the type of player that his skillset is going to be.”
That would be a great find for the Mets if the next Hanley Ramirez is currently in the system.
Gamboa said Urena has looked good in all the facets of the game as well. Judging by the opening workout, that left side of the infield has the potential to turn in highlight-reel plays each night and provide a spark offensively.
The Cyclones will open their season at home Saturday at 6 p.m., as tall righty Casey Meisner gets the start for Brooklyn.