Abruzzo Brings Balance

In his second season Jordan Abruzzo got a taste of three different levels, but at each level he showed a consistent ability to swing the bat and help the growth of his pitching staff. It is that kind of balance that will help him move up the depth chart that currently lacks a catcher making a significant impact.

Brooklyn Cyclones catcher Jordan Abruzzo hit .378 over the final 10 games of the 2008 season, raising his average in 122 at-bats with Brooklyn to .275.

The stretch included a two-homer game against Hudson Valley on Aug. 31, and back-to-back three-hit performances on Sep. 3 and 4, the Cyclones' third and second-to-last games of the season, again against the Renegades.

The hot finish helped Abruzzo, a 24-year-old switch hitter out drafted out of the University of San Diego in the 13th round in 2007, balance a second-half dropoff.

"It's a long season, ups and downs," he says. "I don't know if it's just getting tired, it's just such a mental grind. I was at three different levels, but there's no excuse or anything like that. It is what it is."

Assigned to Low-A Savannah to start the year, Abruzzo hit .300 in 203 at-bats with the Sandgnats. A power threat at 6 feet, 3 inches, and 230 pounds, he also hit five home runs for the club. He received a promotion to High-A St. Lucie, where he kept up his pace, if not slightly improved on it: in 66 at-bats, he hit .303 with another two homers.

And then from High-A he was sent to Short Season Brooklyn, where a catcher was needed and Abruzzo's average fell to .268 and .269 in July and August respectively. The Cyclones assignment didn't bother Abruzzo, who says the Mets' NY-Penn League affiliate operates differently than others'.

"You know, if you ask anyone else in another organization, they would look at it as a step down to go from a High-A to a Short Season team," he says. "But if you do well [in Brooklyn], next year you can start at a higher level. To me, you have to look at it as a positive thing."

Switching levels always brings with it an adjustment period. Abruzzo noticed a difference in the Florida State League, which he had to become acclimated to.

"There's a lot of hard throwers in the Florida State League, a lot of good pitching," he says. "Guys hit their spots, throw a lot more strikes. I had to catch up to the speed of the games. It was tough but it all worked out."

But the NY-Penn League features mostly players fresh out of college, so logically Abruzzo would have been able to do just as well if not better in Brooklyn.

Abruzzo, however, feels the difficulty he had in Brooklyn wasn't because of the caliber of the opposition, but because in his first full season as a pro he had to adjust to the wear and tear a catcher's body goes through, and the inconsistency all players can experience with their swings. There was also, of course, a little bad luck.

"It seems like I'm hitting balls and they're getting caught, and then I'm struggling also. I hit a wall a little bit," Abruzzo says. "All I can do is control the process every day. The results—we'll see."

"The other thing is that in a long season, your swing can change a lot and you don't even know," he continues. "So you just go to try to watch video from when you were going well, to know what you were doing well."

With seven home runs for the Cyclones, Abruzzo's season totals between the three stops remained nonetheless impressive. He finished with a .290 average, 14 home runs, 70 strikeouts and 23 walks in 451 at-bats.

A self-proclaimed line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter, Abruzzo did much better from the right side of the plate most of the season. In Brooklyn, he hit .255 against right-handers and .333 against southpaws. But he also saw fewer lefties, with 45 at-bats against them as a Cyclone, and 137 against right-handers.

A naturally right-handed hitter who was encouraged to become a switch hitter in his late teens after knocking one a long way from the left side in batting practice, Abruzzo feels he's strong from both sides of the plate and that things randomly change year to year.

"This year's been interesting, I've been hitting a lot better right-handed against lefties, but in the past I've been better left-handed," he says. "I get kind of excited when I see a lefty. It's tough, you'll be hitting well from one side and you never get up to bat from that side."
Perhaps more important to Abruzzo than his performance at the plate is the way he handles his pitchers. The Cyclones finished with a league-best 2.76 ERA—more than a full-run better than any other team. It's a testament to the pitching staff's talent, but also to Abruzzo's work with it.

"They've been carrying us," Abruzzo says. "[Catchers are] the jockey, they're the horse. We just got to help them out and get to them to where they got to be. I take a lot of pride in that and I know the other catchers do too."

Cyclones pitching coach Hector Barrios and starting pitcher Chris Schwinden, who went 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA, praise Abruzzo for his work ethic and the comfort he provides the staff.

"Every day, every pitch of the game, we're working together," Abruzzo. "We go over the game plan and the execution and how to pitch different hitters. Jordan's outstanding, he's been a great addition to our group."

"He's just a great guy," Schwinden says. "He's easy to get along with, he calls a great game. I can't say any more about him."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nBrooklyn Cyclones catcher Jordan Abruzzo hit .378 over the final 10 games of the 2008 season, raising his average in 122 at-bats with Brooklyn to .275.
\r\n
\r\nThe stretch included a two-homer game against Hudson Valley on Aug. 31, and back-to-back three-hit performances on Sep. 3 and 4, the Cyclones' third and second-to-last games of the season, again against the Renegades.
\r\n
\r\nThe hot finish helped Abruzzo, a 24-year-old switch hitter out drafted out of the University of San Diego in the 13th round in 2007, balance a second-half dropoff.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's a long season, ups and downs,\" he says. \"I don't know if it's just getting tired, it's just such a mental grind. I was at three different levels, but there's no excuse or anything like that. It is what it is.\"
\r\n
\r\nAssigned to Low-A Savannah to start the year, Abruzzo hit .300 in 203 at-bats with the Sandgnats. A power threat at 6 feet, 3 inches, and 230 pounds, he also hit five home runs for the club. He received a promotion to High-A St. Lucie, where he kept up his pace, if not slightly improved on it: in 66 at-bats, he hit .303 with another two homers.
\r\n
\r\nAnd then from High-A he was sent to Short Season Brooklyn, where a catcher was needed and Abruzzo's average fell to .268 and .269 in July and August respectively. The Cyclones assignment didn't bother Abruzzo, who says the Mets' NY-Penn League affiliate operates differently than others'.
\r\n
\r\n\"You know, if you ask anyone else in another organization, they would look at it as a step down to go from a High-A to a Short Season team,\" he says. \"But if you do well [in Brooklyn], next year you can start at a higher level. To me, you have to look at it as a positive thing.\"
\r\n
\r\nSwitching levels always brings with it an adjustment period. Abruzzo noticed a difference in the Florida State League, which he had to become acclimated to.
\r\n
\r\n\"There's a lot of hard throwers in the Florida State League, a lot of good pitching,\" he says. \"Guys hit their spots, throw a lot more strikes. I had to catch up to the speed of the games. It was tough but it all worked out.\"
\r\n
\r\nBut the NY-Penn League features mostly players fresh out of college, so logically Abruzzo would have been able to do just as well if not better in Brooklyn.
\r\n
\r\nAbruzzo, however, feels the difficulty he had in Brooklyn wasn't because of the caliber of the opposition, but because in his first full season as a pro he had to adjust to the wear and tear a catcher's body goes through, and the inconsistency all players can experience with their swings. There was also, of course, a little bad luck.
\r\n
\r\n\"It seems like I'm hitting balls and they're getting caught, and then I'm struggling also. I hit a wall a little bit,\" Abruzzo says. \"All I can do is control the process every day. The results—we'll see.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"The other thing is that in a long season, your swing can change a lot and you don't even know,\" he continues. \"So you just go to try to watch video from when you were going well, to know what you were doing well.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith seven home runs for the Cyclones, Abruzzo's season totals between the three stops remained nonetheless impressive. He finished with a .290 average, 14 home runs, 70 strikeouts and 23 walks in 451 at-bats.
\r\n
\r\nA self-proclaimed line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter, Abruzzo did much better from the right side of the plate most of the season. In Brooklyn, he hit .255 against right-handers and .333 against southpaws. But he also saw fewer lefties, with 45 at-bats against them as a Cyclone, and 137 against right-handers.
\r\n
\r\nA naturally right-handed hitter who was encouraged to become a switch hitter in his late teens after knocking one a long way from the left side in batting practice, Abruzzo feels he's strong from both sides of the plate and that things randomly change year to year.
\r\n
\r\n\"This year's been interesting, I've been hitting a lot better right-handed against lefties, but in the past I've been better left-handed,\" he says. \"I get kind of excited when I see a lefty. It's tough, you'll be hitting well from one side and you never get up to bat from that side.\"\r\n
\r\nPerhaps more important to Abruzzo than his performance at the plate is the way he handles his pitchers. The Cyclones finished with a league-best 2.76 ERA—more than a full-run better than any other team. It's a testament to the pitching staff's talent, but also to Abruzzo's work with it.
\r\n
\r\n\"They've been carrying us,\" Abruzzo says. \"[Catchers are] the jockey, they're the horse. We just got to help them out and get to them to where they got to be. I take a lot of pride in that and I know the other catchers do too.\"
\r\n
\r\nCyclones pitching coach Hector Barrios and starting pitcher Chris Schwinden, who went 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA, praise Abruzzo for his work ethic and the comfort he provides the staff.
\r\n
\r\n\"Every day, every pitch of the game, we're working together,\" Abruzzo. \"We go over the game plan and the execution and how to pitch different hitters. Jordan's outstanding, he's been a great addition to our group.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"He's just a great guy,\" Schwinden says. \"He's easy to get along with, he calls a great game. I can't say any more about him.\"

\r\n","mobileBody":" \r\nBrooklyn Cyclones catcher Jordan Abruzzo hit .378 over the final 10 games of the 2008 season, raising his average in 122 at-bats with Brooklyn to .275.
\r\n
\r\nThe stretch included a two-homer game against Hudson Valley on Aug. 31, and back-to-back three-hit performances on Sep. 3 and 4, the Cyclones' third and second-to-last games of the season, again against the Renegades.
\r\n
\r\nThe hot finish helped Abruzzo, a 24-year-old switch hitter out drafted out of the University of San Diego in the 13th round in 2007, balance a second-half dropoff.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's a long season, ups and downs,\" he says. \"I don't know if it's just getting tired, it's just such a mental grind. I was at three different levels, but there's no excuse or anything like that. It is what it is.\"
\r\n
\r\nAssigned to Low-A Savannah to start the year, Abruzzo hit .300 in 203 at-bats with the Sandgnats. A power threat at 6 feet, 3 inches, and 230 pounds, he also hit five home runs for the club. He received a promotion to High-A St. Lucie, where he kept up his pace, if not slightly improved on it: in 66 at-bats, he hit .303 with another two homers.
\r\n
\r\nAnd then from High-A he was sent to Short Season Brooklyn, where a catcher was needed and Abruzzo's average fell to .268 and .269 in July and August respectively. The Cyclones assignment didn't bother Abruzzo, who says the Mets' NY-Penn League affiliate operates differently than others'.
\r\n
\r\n\"You know, if you ask anyone else in another organization, they would look at it as a step down to go from a High-A to a Short Season team,\" he says. \"But if you do well [in Brooklyn], next year you can start at a higher level. To me, you have to look at it as a positive thing.\"
\r\n
\r\nSwitching levels always brings with it an adjustment period. Abruzzo noticed a difference in the Florida State League, which he had to become acclimated to.
\r\n
\r\n\"There's a lot of hard throwers in the Florida State League, a lot of good pitching,\" he says. \"Guys hit their spots, throw a lot more strikes. I had to catch up to the speed of the games. It was tough but it all worked out.\"
\r\n
\r\nBut the NY-Penn League features mostly players fresh out of college, so logically Abruzzo would have been able to do just as well if not better in Brooklyn.
\r\n
\r\nAbruzzo, however, feels the difficulty he had in Brooklyn wasn't because of the caliber of the opposition, but because in his first full season as a pro he had to adjust to the wear and tear a catcher's body goes through, and the inconsistency all players can experience with their swings. There was also, of course, a little bad luck.
\r\n
\r\n\"It seems like I'm hitting balls and they're getting caught, and then I'm struggling also. I hit a wall a little bit,\" Abruzzo says. \"All I can do is control the process every day. The results—we'll see.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"The other thing is that in a long season, your swing can change a lot and you don't even know,\" he continues. \"So you just go to try to watch video from when you were going well, to know what you were doing well.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith seven home runs for the Cyclones, Abruzzo's season totals between the three stops remained nonetheless impressive. He finished with a .290 average, 14 home runs, 70 strikeouts and 23 walks in 451 at-bats.
\r\n
\r\nA self-proclaimed line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter, Abruzzo did much better from the right side of the plate most of the season. In Brooklyn, he hit .255 against right-handers and .333 against southpaws. But he also saw fewer lefties, with 45 at-bats against them as a Cyclone, and 137 against right-handers.
\r\n
\r\nA naturally right-handed hitter who was encouraged to become a switch hitter in his late teens after knocking one a long way from the left side in batting practice, Abruzzo feels he's strong from both sides of the plate and that things randomly change year to year.
\r\n
\r\n\"This year's been interesting, I've been hitting a lot better right-handed against lefties, but in the past I've been better left-handed,\" he says. \"I get kind of excited when I see a lefty. It's tough, you'll be hitting well from one side and you never get up to bat from that side.\"\r\n
\r\nPerhaps more important to Abruzzo than his performance at the plate is the way he handles his pitchers. The Cyclones finished with a league-best 2.76 ERA—more than a full-run better than any other team. It's a testament to the pitching staff's talent, but also to Abruzzo's work with it.
\r\n
\r\n\"They've been carrying us,\" Abruzzo says. \"[Catchers are] the jockey, they're the horse. We just got to help them out and get to them to where they got to be. I take a lot of pride in that and I know the other catchers do too.\"
\r\n
\r\nCyclones pitching coach Hector Barrios and starting pitcher Chris Schwinden, who went 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA, praise Abruzzo for his work ethic and the comfort he provides the staff.
\r\n
\r\n\"Every day, every pitch of the game, we're working together,\" Abruzzo. \"We go over the game plan and the execution and how to pitch different hitters. Jordan's outstanding, he's been a great addition to our group.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"He's just a great guy,\" Schwinden says. \"He's easy to get along with, he calls a great game. I can't say any more about him.\"

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