Brooklyn report: Martin cleans up

Outfielder Dustin Martin, a late-round selection in this year's draft from Sam Houston State University in Texas, has jumped into his role as Brooklyn's cleanup hitter and stepped up as the Cyclones' offensive leader this month.

Outfielder Dustin Martin, a late-round selection in this year's draft out of Sam Houston State University in Texas, has stepped up as the Brooklyn Cyclones' offensive leader this month.

A 6-foot-2, 205-pound slugger who models himself after long-time Houston Astros standout Jeff Bagwell, Martin went to the Mets in the 26th round this year with the 784th overall selection.

That choice may turn out to be a steal. In 12 games this month for Brooklyn entering Sunday's play, Martin is batting .367 (11-25), leading the team in doubles (3) this month and runs batted in (5) while carrying a four-game hitting streak into Sunday's game at Vermont.

Overall, in his first taste of professional baseball and life in the Big Apple, Martin is batting .286 (16-56) in 22 games.

The corner outfielder is still looking for his first professional home run and some semblance of consistency at Brooklyn's KeySpan Park, where he's hitting just .120 compared to .419 on the road.

"I've been around big cities and I know what it's like," Martin said earlier this season, "but this is a lot bigger than Austin or anything like that. It's definitely different. I live out in the hill country and there are no buildings like this around here. It's a big change."

But the future appears bright for Martin, who impressed manager George Greer in pre-season workouts and opened the year as Brooklyn's cleanup hitter.

His approach at the plate and demeanor reminded one observer of Florida Marlins first baseman Mike Jacobs, who played at Brooklyn and escalated through the Mets' system before making the major leagues last year.

Martin has been scribbled into the No. 4 spot seven times this season, the most of any spot in the lineup he's hit in, and appears to be establishing his regular insertion there.

State of the Cyclones: The Cyclones are making up for a slow start by carrying a five-game winning streak into Sunday's game at Vermont.

Boosted by a series sweep of Williamsport this week, Brooklyn has improved to 11-13, which places them five games behind Aberdeen (16-8) in the McNamara Division of the New York-Penn League.

Brooklyn leaderboard, offense: Luis Rivera's .295 average ranks him seventh in the system and third among players currently on short-season teams … Overall, Brooklyn's .206 average as a club is the lowest in the organization.

Brooklyn leaderboard, pitching: Right-hander Jake Ruckle has compiled a 1.82 ERA this season, second only to Binghamton's Mike Devaney (1.58), although six of Ruckle's 10 starts were made at St. Lucie. With the Cyclones, Ruckle is 2-1 with a 2.20 ERA … Tobi Stoner is 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA for Brooklyn, which ranks him seventh among pitchers currently with short-season clubs … Brooklyn's 3.33 staff ERA is third among the Mets' seven minor league teams in action.

ON THE RISE

Reports are high on right-hander Tobi Stoner, a 16th round pick in this year's draft out of Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia.

Stoner is 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA in four starts for Brooklyn, scoring his first pro win on July 4 at Hudson Valley with six innings of two-run ball. Stoner has walked just one and struck out 19 in 22 innings for Brooklyn, limiting opponents to a .200 batting average.

TOUGH TIMES

The Cyclones have struggled offensively as a whole, as evidenced by their .206 team batting average.

Jonathan Malo, a standout infielder last season at Brooklyn, is batting just .135 (5-37) in July after being re-inserted into the fold to help boost the Cyclones' sagging early-season performance. He had been batting .253 with six homers and 18 RBI in 51 games at Class-A St. Lucie.


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