2015 Prospect List - #32 – SS Gavin Cecchini


 My rankings is solely subjective and based on nothing more than what is in my head at time I’m writing this. I’ve followed the Mets minor league players for many years and I feel I can recognize talent at various levels of their development. What I have failed at is how to determine when this talent seems to diminish. It’s amazing how many first round picks never make it in this game. 

I’m old school, so you won’t seem much SABR-discussion here, I do research and, when I find a good quote or two, I’ll add them to my analysis, but, like I said in the beginning of this post, most of this us subjective.

Let’s get started.

# 32 –

SS Gavin Cecchini   -  SS – 20-years old - #1 draft pick (12th overall) in 2012 draft

                                    $2.300.000 bonus – 6-2/180 – No college – Barbe HS (LA)

                                    2012 – K-Port, 191-AB, .246/.311/.330/641/1-HH/22-RBI

                                                Brooklyn, 5-AB, .000/.167/.000/167, 0-HR, 0-RBI

                                    2013 – Brooklyn, 194-AB, .273/.319/.314/633, 0-HR, 14-RBI

                                    2014 – Savannah, 228-AB, .259/.333/.408/741, 3-HR, 25-RBI

                                                St. Lucie, 233-AB, .236/.325/.352/677, 5-HR, 31-RBI

                                                Binghamton, 4-AB .250/.250/.250/500. 0-HR, 0-RBI

Cecchini surprised just about everyone in the draft room when the Mets chose him for the 12th overall pick in the 2012 draft. Everyone close to the Mets expected them to pick slugging outfielder Courtney Hawkins with that pick, who wound up being picked next at #13 by the Chicago White Sox. (all he’s done is hit 19/HRs a season for two seasons for the A+ CWS affiliate, Winston-Salem).

I remember draft day and we all were looking through our player notes, trying to find something on Cecchini. We walked away that day realizing that this was a player that basically had no ‘tool’ that made him stand out as a potential future baseball star.

Addison Russell and Corey Seager, who are shortstops and were both chosen in this round are full of tools. Cecchini isn’t.

He has no power, he isn’t a gap hitter, and doesn’t have the speed that is going to make him lead the league in triples.

Defensiive, after watching him take groundballs with Amed Rosario and Luis Guillmorme, Richard Justice of Baseball America wrote that he looked awkward at best and was probably playing ‘out of position’.

Your 12th pick overall shortstop being played ‘out of position’?

Gaven was also drafted for his exceptional defensive skills that seem to be deteriorating at each level he climbs to:

            2012- Kingsport - .964 fielding percentage
            2013 – Brooklyn - .964 fielding percentage
            2014 – Savannah - .947 fielding percentage
            St. Lucie - .935 fielding percentage

In summation – I found it increasing difficult to not rank Cecchini below Luis Guillorme who has frankly over-performed as much as Cecchini has accomplished the reverse. There just isn’t enough beef here of an ex-first round pick that got a $2.3mil signing bonus.

First, he was never known for his pop. Now even his defensive skills are coming into question.

I ranked him one slot over out of respect for his pedigree. It’s a one time pass.

I’m not exactly sure what team he is going to have to open with this season but he needs to step up on the first tee and hit one 270 down the middle with his three wood.
Still, wherever he starts doesn’t matter. It is Binghamton where he will make it or break it this season and this could be easily the last time you see his name on any major prospect lists, including mine.

The one good thing you can walk away with here is his combined 8-HR, 56-RBI generated last year between Savannah and St. Lucie, at the age of 20.

We’’ll just have to keep a real close eye on him this season.


James Preller said...

I've hated this pick from day one. I still don't get it.

My best theory is a grim one: that the organization has fallen in love with "approach," to the point where they undervalue "talent."

Gavin does all the things right, except, you know . . .

Lew Rhodes said...

I will chime in in support of Cecchini - a few things of note that gives him some support:

1) Gavin was the second youngest regular player on Savannah last year - only Smith was younger, Cecchini has a December birthday, so his is young even by HS draftee standards - he just turned 21 last week.

2) Despite being younger that 1B Matt Oberste, OFer Jared King, OFer Patrick Biondi and CF Champ Stuart, Cecchini had a higher OPS that all of them - out of the SS position.

In fact, LJ Mazzilli's OPS was only 50 points higher than Cecchini's and almost all of that differnce (32 points) was from BABIP where Mazz had a .332 and Cecchini had a .299

3) That brings me to BABIP - his .299 BABIP in Savannah; which is around ML average, but low for the SALLY league - some of this is impacted by line drive percentage and how hard balls are hit, but a big part of BABIP is luck - a little more luck in the SALLY league, and his OPS could have been over .775 - dang good for a 20 year old SS.

In St. Lucie, his BABIP dropped to .259 - which is really low and shows a good deal of bad luck - some of it was an adjustment to tougher pitching, but overall a .259 BABIP screams bad luck and will like move up to .290+ -- which would move his OPS up to a reasonable .700

4) Speaking of St Lucie - Cecchini was also the 2nd youngest player on that team - Herrera was the youngest (which shows what a stud he is).

Despite being younger, Cecchini put up better numbers than Jeff McNiel and Phillip Evans in St Lucie - in fact, Cecchini hit one more HR than Evans in 160 less ABs.

5) Cecchini has a great eye at the plate and great plate discipline - and it is getting better - his K-rate and K/BB have gotten better every year.

As has his power - these go hand in hand - he is getting better about finding pitches to drive and driving them.

6) He is YOUNG - Herrera has spoiled us a little, but we have to step back and realize that Cecchini has been one of the youngest players in the leagues he has been playing on - take that into account, and his numbers start to look a little bit better.

On defense, I am not a scout and never saw the kid play, but according to everything I read on Bleacher Report, Fan Graphs and from Toby Hyde all suggest that he has the defense to stay at SS and be average to above average defensively.

I think most anyone would look mechanical playing next to Guillerome and Rosario - but this is the first bad report I have ever read on Cecchini's defense.

I think he could do a little of what Reynolds did last year - I think Cecchini's numbers were pretty solid given his age and the league, and I think he is poised for a nice step forward.

Mack Ade said...

Lew -

Your comment was impressive.

Frankly, now he has to do the same.

Lew Rhodes said...

Thanks Mack! Maybe I have a future as a Mack's Mets writer! (Need time first).

I tend to be a little more SABR focused than you do, which is why I like reading your stuff - it takes a different slant than I usually do.

Mack Ade said...

Lew -

And I need writers like you on the site to balance me off.

Thomas Brennan said...

Good synopsis, Lew. Might not be as hard to squeeze out some time as you think - I thought the same.

One other Cecchini supporting thought...he was left to play in Brooklyn in 2013...but missed a good chunk of that short season due to injury...so it was almost a complete loss for him that year. That can clearly stunt progress.

Given that factor, I am very much looking forward to what he does in 2015 in a full season after 2014's full season.

eraff said...

Mets young position players face a real uphill grind...First at Savannah, a really tough park for hitters....then, the Florida State League---full of young and live arms. It's another tough place to hit, expecially for the less experienced guys.

I believe you need to see these guys play....and listen to respected people who have actually seen them repetitively.

I'm not sure where that places GC...?? He seems to be battling fairly well, according to his production and age...and "eyes" seem to report that he's becoming a fairly complete player who can field the position.... IDK---Walt Weiss?...Bill Almon?...that type of guy.

An mlb strating SS of ANY type should be viewed as an excellent outcome...if based ONLY on what we see of the position and the player availability at the MLB level currently.

Anonymous said...

Yikes, Mack......for someone who has always prided himself (in print, at least) of being a minor league guy and someone who has the prospect's back(s), that was an extremely harsh/one sided view of GC.

He is barely 21 and has played pretty well at each level, despite being extremely YOUNG!

I think it is unfair to hold where a player is picked against the player (not his fault he was a 1st round selection).......maybe the Mets reached with him, but that's on the scouts and the GM.

PLUS, as stated above, he is still a baby in terms of development......his story is far from being written and it wouldn't shock me if he was a future piece (very solid middle infielder, say a back up to both Herrera and Rosario).

Lastly, your assessment seems sounds like sour grapes due to the Mets not selecting Hawkins instead.

Hawkins (who is a year older then GC) is pretty much on the same path to date (finished the year at High A with the Sox). Outside of the 19 HR's he has hit, his OPS is not much different then GC's and Hawkins just finished his second year in a row at the High A level, so you would expect him to play better.

You usually excellent articles about the Mets' future players, but this one seemed like a personal vendetta........I think you are better then that, Mack.

eraff said...

It's hardly a personal vendetta to ranmk a guy #32 and provide a rational arguement for doing so.

Frankly, without seeing him play, I'm forced to provide benefit of doubt that "he's probably a player?....short of the #12 Pedigree, he's a 21 year old Kid who had a fairly competitive year(without awesome "toolsiness").

#32 might be low.... heck, he's not a burn your eyes out prospect!

Anonymous said...

I too agree that the assessment was a bit harsh on the young man, but I don't think there was ill intent on the part of Mack, that is just the way he feels about Cecchini. However, I do find a rank of 32 to be well off base for him and was too focused on the negatives, but that is why commenters like Lew (and yourself) are free to contest his opinion. I do agree that it is not really GC fault that he was picked in the 1st round, but with that comes a big signing bonus and additional scrutiny. I still have hopes for GC to rate out as an above average SS offensively and par defensively, so given the scarcity of real talent at the position these days, that would be worth a mid 1st round pick. I wrote earlier that he is my breakout candidate this year because of the peripherals Lew pointed out, some stretches of flash last year, and most of all because I have a feeling he lives and breathes baseball every moment, which along with above average baseball ability is the making of a major leaguer. My hope is that they start him in Bingo and he stays healthy and productive there the whole year; were he to break out along the lines of Nimmo last year, it would dramatically change the landscape of the MI for the Mets. I think his ceiling is a .725 OPS SS who can make all of the plays, which when partnered with a mature Herrara would be eons beyond what they have now. I am more concerned with Dom Smith than Cecchini at this point, but both could take steps forward this year and put some shine on their drafting positions.
Anon Joe F

Mack Ade said...

Anonymous -

Your last line was far too harsh.

Personal vendettas against minor league baseball players... pick your words more carefully please.

However, your sour grape theory could have some truth to it

James Preller said...

I've seen him play twice -- nothing really stood out for me, definitely not the arm.

From what I can tell from the stats, he looks on track to be Ruben Tejada.

Not what I'm looking for from a first-round pick. And unlike what someone said in a previous comment, it does matter where he was selected -- but more in terms of evaluating the "pick" rather than "the player."

Thomas Brennan said...

Sour grapes or not, it is certainly conceivable Mack's take could prove to be right. Or wrong. 2015 is a huge year for Gavin to quiet the criticisms.

Lew Rhodes said...

We figured it out - Mack is biased against minor leaguers whose names are too hard to spell and who don't have cool nicknames (i.e. Thor)! ;-)

Tejada is not a bad comp for GC - the big difference is that GC is flashing more power - Tejada's high in HR was 5 in Bingampton - GC hit 8 in Savannah and St Lucie - much harder hitting parks.

People forget how solid Tejada was coming up in 2010/11 - he put up a .685 OPS as a 21 year old in 96 ML games in 2010.

The big knock on him has been work ethic - instead of improving, he regressed - his character (there is that word again) was not supportive of working hard to get better - look back to him not showing up early to ST a few years ago and when he did show up, he was completely out of shape.

I get the sense that if Tejada put the hard work in, he would be an above league average SS

I think GC can get to above average, and, by all stories and reports, has the character and work ethic to get there.

Lew Rhodes said...

Looking up Tejada led me to the 2009 Binghampton roster - what a crappy, crappy team that was.

Couple of interesting bats (Davis, Duda, Thole, Tejada) but as bad a pitching staff as you could imagine.

Compare the 2009 team to this year's and you can get a good feel for how much better the Mets' system is.

Christopher Soto said...

Mack's statements certainly have merit but I would agree that there aren't 31 guys with higher prospect value than him.

Currently I have 39 candidates for my next Top 25 Prospect update including what I am hoping is the next Marcos Molina.

Lew Rhodes said...

GC's prospect ranking clearly suffer from being a first round pick.

If he put up the numbers he did at the age he has and was a later pick, he would be ranked higher.

I think that is natural of the "living up to" the hype.

eraff said...

Lew---that 2009 Bingo team has more than a handful of Major League players....some who have had meaningful seasons already!

Not for nothing, but the idea that We know that the Current Bingo squad is better is just Prospect Buzz---Buzzed Prospecting is Drunk Prospecting!

eraff said...

on the other hand!...Ha!!!!!


bingo 2009

Lew Rhodes said...

eraff I was focusing on pitchers - the only pitcher who threw an inning for that team that year who amounted to anything was Meija (and let him keep kicking butt).

The rest of that staff was awful.

Davis and Duda are the only two from that team to have a "good" ML year

Mack Ade said...

Christopher -

I look forward to reading your list.

Happy New Year


eraff said...

Interesting Lew... I'm wondering what the "Pull Through" for a AA team should be. There are 4 players, still relatively young, with about 1500 ab's from that 2009 Bingo squad. Duda, Davis, Tejada and Thole have had/will have Careers---Davis is a mysterious "Early Bail"

Mejia and Holt were Big, Big Prospects! As AA Pitchers, they were very highly regarded arms throughout baseball. That's a scary and Tempering thought...no?

Newee was also there.

When I look at the 2014 team I'm not sure I see SO MUCH MORE---what you dont' YET see is the Arms that might fail....the early and quizzical failure of an Ike Davis.

When they looked that that 2009 Squad, they had young, talented poosition players in Duda, Newee, Thole (22 years old and an 816 ops as a AA Catcher), Tejada and Davis, and two SOLID GOLD Arms in Holt and Mejia.

Prospects?... would you like a Glass of the 2014?---the '09 just didn'rt turn out as well as thought.

greg b said...

I would sign up right now for a avg.260 hr12 from Cecchini with solid defense.
Most teams would too.

Charles said...

I'm hoping Gavin turns into a Stephen Drew type SS. We won't see him ever hit 20 bombs, but good defense, a .280 average, a .370 obp, and 35 doubles a year would make me very happy.

I think he can do it too. And I think at some point he'll need to be traded or moved to second for Amed Rosario.

eraff said...

.370 obp....35 doubles...280...good D... Is that all?

That makes him one of the top 3-5 SS in baseball.

Thomas Brennan said...

Charles, why stop at a .280 average, a .370 obp, and 35 doubles a year for Gavin?

I hope Gavin will be the next Glavine, and Cecchini will likewise be a future Hall of Famer. (I doubt it, but had to go with the Gavin/Glavine thing)

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