By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jayce Boyd gives Cyclones manager Rich Donnelly a warm, fuzzy feeling when he digs in for an at-bat.
"Every time he walks up there I feel like he's going to do something good," Brooklyn's second-year skipper noted when asked about the 21-year-old Florida State University product.
Boyd, who helped the Seminoles to 50 wins and a berth in the College World Series before FSU was knocked off by eventual national champion Arizona last month, is batting .323 (10-for-31) with a homer, four doubles, a triple, five RBIs and three runs scored in his first eight games with the Baby Bums. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-handed hitting first baseman joined the Cyclones on July 2 after fulfilling his collegiate obligations, but contributed immediately in his Brooklyn debut, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs that night.
He also provided the game-winning run via a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 11th inning as the Cyclones walked off with a 7-6 win over Hudson Valley at MCU Park.
"I think I was more excited than nervous," Boyd said following the dramatic victory. "But there was definitely a bit of tension. I was getting antsy. I had to move all my stuff from Tallahassee (Fla.), but I finally got to slow down a bit and play some baseball."
Not a bad way for the Mets' sixth-round pick in last month's draft to begin his pro career after hitting a combined .353 with 19 homers and 156 RBIs during a brilliant three-year run with the Seminoles.
"He's played on big stages before," Donnelly said of Boyd following his first game as a Baby Bum. "He's gonna be a good addition to our team."
Boyd, who has platooned with fellow first-bagger Cole Frenzel while putting in time as Brooklyn's designated hitter, has hit safely in all but two of his first eight games, racking up multi-hit efforts on three occasions.
Even after going 0-for-4 in Monday night's 5-2 loss to the Jammers — the Cyclones' season-high third straight defeat — Boyd impressed his manager.
"Right now everything he hits is going right at somebody," Donnelly noted after watching Boyd line out to right field, smash a couple of hot grounders to shortstop and launch a deep fly to center. "But those are still good at-bats."
As for Frenzel, the Cyclones' top hitter during the early part of the season has slowed down a bit. After flirting with the .400 mark during Brooklyn's hot start, the 22-year-old University of Arizona product is down to a still-very-impressive .342 mark.
After struggling to start the season at the Mets' Class A affiliate in Savannah, Frenzel was sent back to Brooklyn for a second season after spending 43 games on Coney Island last summer. He responded by emerging as the Cyclones' top everyday player, both at the plate and in the field, where he remains the New York-Penn League's top defensive first baseman from a season ago.
“Cole has had a terrific start to the season, but right now he’s going through a little lull," said Donnelly after watching Frenzel go 1-for-13 during the Cyclones' sweep at the hands of Jamestown. "He’s swinging at balls in the dirt. Earlier in the year, he was taking those pitches and that’s the difference right now. He’s getting himself in trouble by swinging at bad pitches early [in the count].”
Ironically, Frenzel was named the NY-Penn's Offensive Player of the Week the day Boyd arrived on Surf Avenue. The duo appears fated to be inextricably linked during their time on Coney Island, until one or the other, or maybe even both, take the next step on the organizational ladder toward the majors.
For the moment, however, Donnelly is enjoying having both in his lineup.
“They’re young and they’re like stallions," he said. "They’re a little wild once in a while, but they’re enthusiastic. If you told them to take 500 ground balls they would."
The Cyclones were scheduled to kick off their six-game road trip in Norwich Wednesday evening against the Connecticut Tigers at Dodd Stadium. Brooklyn will not return to MCU Park until July 17.
* * *
This, That and the Other Thing: CF Brandon Nimmo leads the NY-Penn in walks with 19 walks. The Mets' first-round pick (13th overall) in the 2011 Draft has also quietly lifted his average over the Mendoza mark (.205) by collecting nine hits in his last 10 games. "[Batting instructor] Bobby Malek is getting him to be more aggressive on the hitting counts," Donnelly revealed after the 19-year-old Wyoming native went 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored in Monday's home loss to Jamestown. "Don’t be sitting on that breaking ball with two strikes because nine out of 10 times you might get a fast ball and you don’t want to take that. He’s a freshman and he’s slowly growing into a sophomore. He has to work on getting good jumps on the ball [in center field]. In the last 10 days, he’s really gotten good jumps on balls. This is a tough place to play with that wind.” Nimmo also continues to lead the team in RBIs with 15. ... The Cyclones made a pair of transactions on Wednesday, sending INF Jorge Rivero to Rookie-level Kingsport while adding RHP Logan Taylor to the roster. Taylor was the Mets' 11th-round pick out of Eastern Oklahoma State Junior College last month. He ranked third in the NJCAA last season with 120 strikeouts in 83 innings, going 5-2 with a 1.84 ERA in 16 starts.