Elizabethan scholars may believe that titling a column, “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” may be a reference to Macbeth, but those erudite enough to appreciate true genius of another ilk may realize the tomorrow references pertain to actors on another stage, Abbott and Costello.
In last week’s column, we discussed the position players on the Cyclones, using the comedy duo’s famous “Who’s on First?” format.
And in the famous comedians’ skit, the pitcher is called “Tomorrow.”
But instead of Macbeth’s three tomorrows, the Cyclones have 18. So we’ll limit the discussion of the Cyclones’ staff to the starters and some of the key bullpen operatives.
But first we’ll start with the man in charge of all these hopeful tomorrows, the pitching coach.
Hector Berrios: “The professor” is back for his fifth season as the Brooklyn arm doctor, having previously held the position in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007. After being named to the All-New York City team in 1979, Berrios pitched professionally for five organizations: the Royals, Tigers, Angels, Dodgers and Cubs, reaching the Triple-A level twice.
In each of Berrios’ previous four seasons with the Cyclones, the Brooklyn staff has finished in the top three in ERA in the New York–Penn League. This season is no exception, as the Brooklyn pitchers currently have an ERA of 2.68, third in the league.
Berrios emphasizes developing each pitcher’s concentration so that the pitcher can repeat his pitches and delivery under any circumstances.
Now, here are his charges:
Brad Holt, righty starter: He attended UNC–Wilmington and was the Mets’ supplemental round pick, 33rd overall, in this year’s draft. In his second start his year, Holt pitched a no-hitter for five innings against Aberdeen, allowing only two runners to reach base. Alas, he was removed because he was operating on a limited pitch count. “Holt has a tremendous amount of talent and comes to the park every day wanting to get better,” said Berrios.
Pedro Martinez, righty starter: This is not the Pedro Martinez, or even any relation to the future Hall of Famer, but, who cares — the Cyclones’ Pedro Martinez is having a better year, with a 1.65 ERA. “He’s a happy-go-lucky kid who’s taken great strides,” said Berrios. From the Dominican Republic, this Martinez was an un-drafted free agent in 2006, and he’s been working his way up the Mets’ farm ladder.
Tim Stronach, righty starter: Stronach has plenty of physical ability and has pitched well on occasion, but has had one bad inning every time out. “Once he really believes that he is capable of being a major league pitcher,” stated Berrios, “We’ll see some great things from him.” Went 4–2 with Brooklyn last season.
Scott Shaw, righty starter: He’s a cool customer from the University of Illinois who can get three pitches over for strikes. “He does the little things right,” says Berrios, “And that way, you can go a long way in this business.” He looked great in Monday night’s win over the Renegades.
Manny Olivares, righty starter: He has to throw more fastballs for strikes. “He has what we call a ‘Bugs Bunny’ change-up,” explains Berrios. “That means the pitch seems to stop in mid-air.” Olivares must command his fastball so he can set up his Disney slow motion.
Jim Fuller, lefty starter: Battling Olivares for the fifth starter role, the 5-foot-10 quiet bulldog has four pitches: a decent fastball that sets up his slider, curve and change-up.
Yury Santana, righty reliever: Santana, no relation to the Mets’ Johan, used to be more of an “I Don’t Give a Darn” player. Not because he didn’t care, but because that was the name of Abbott and Costello’s shortstop, and if Santana seems familiar, he should be because he was with the Cyclones in 2005 as a shortstop. He was converted to a pitcher before the 2006 season, and now he’s back as the Cyclones’ chief closer, and he’s doing a great job using a slider and change-up as his out pitches. So far, he has four saves, one win and only one blown save.
Wendy Rosa, righty reliever: Rosa may have a girl’s name, but he’s been the man for the Cyclones this year. His ERA is a low 1.13 and he’s struck out 10 batters in just eight innings. “This kid has come a long way this year,” said Berrios. “Last year he wasn’t even throwing strikes.”
Matias Carrillo, lefty reliever: His fastball is picking up steam from last year. Another surprise.
Roy Merritt, lefty reliever: Low three-quarter delivery. Keeps the ball down.
Jimmy Johnson, lefty reliever: No, the famous football coach-turned-announcer isn’t trying a third career. This Jimmy Johnson has fine command, and he’s 3–0, with a 1.29 ERA.
So, those are the chief tomorrows who in many more tomorrows may be pitching for the Mets, like former Brooks Joe Smith and Carlos Muniz, now in the big club’s bullpen. Of course, some of the Cyclones pitching today may pitch for other teams tomorrow — like Brian Bannister, Matt Lindstrom, and, of course, Scott Kazmir, whose every pitch for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays is accompanied by the sound of Mets fans’ gnashing teeth.