Did you ever own a stock that has a lot of factors that would cause you to expect great things, and then it did really well for a while, but then had a long period where it pulled back and, although you expected it to rebound, it just seemed to sputter – your blue chip had turned into a cow chip - but then finally started showing signs of life again?  And you still think it can be a GREAT stock, one you’re so glad you did not give up on?

Not me – I’m a lousy investor!  If I were your stock broker, you’d be broker than you are right now!

But in a baseball scenario, that “stock” to hold onto ought to be be Cesar Puello.
Cesar has been in the organization seemingly forever.  He signed very young, and began playing at age 17, hence people’s impatience with him, but he only turns 24 just before opening day 2015.  He’s still a young dude with real upside.  Let me recap on Monsieur Puello:

Age 17 – an impressive .305 with a .350 OB% in 40 games in the Gulf Coast League.

Age 18 – 49 games in Kingsport A ball - .296, with a .373 OB%, and a jump to a .423 slug %.

Age 19 in Savannah – finally a decent # of games, at 109.  Similar average and OB%, but only one homer.  Shades of Dominic Smith circa 2014!  But his inner Roadrunner emerged as he stole 45 of 55, in 2/3 of a full big league season’s # of games.  Wow.

Age 20 – popped 10 homers in St Lucie, so the strong man’s bat was showing some pop finally, but in 117 games, he slipped to .259/.313/.397.  Typical Met fan stuff – don’t get your hopes up.

Age 21 – he repeats St Lucie and injury bug hits, and , limiting him to 66 games.  Still so-so with .260/.328/.423, but he does swipe 19 of 21, a lot for so few games.  Oh, and Biogenesis is becoming an issue.

Age 22 – while awaiting the 50 game suspension in 2013, Cesar explodes in AA, with a .326/.403/.547 slash in 91 games, with 24 steals.  Crushed lefties with a Ruthian .842 slug %, and against righties, he was fine, thank you for asking: .298/.379/.459.  Simply a spectacular, but truncated season, and that was after a slow April.  After his suspension, though, he plays winter ball – I expect him to tear it up, and instead he does terribly.  Stock is wobbling after the drug suspension and catatonic winter season.

Age 23 – a pretty baffling April – June in his AAA debut in 2014, but Puello followed that with a good 2nd half while Wally puzzlingly continued to play him part time – he only got up 318 official at bats last year - In July, August, and Sept, he hit .284 with almost a .400 on base and about a .500 slug % and still played part time.  Nuts.  You’ve got a guy with 5 tools, let him use them.  He did not hit righties well at all in 2014, but got much better in that regard later in the season.   

So after his puzzling lack of use in 2014, he goes to winter ball and needed several trips to the infirmary to get bench splinters removed from the place where his anatomy meets the bench.   In his team’s first 43 games, he gets into just 23 of them, many in a pinch hit or substitution capacity.  In his team’s first 43 games, he has a whopping 25 at bats!!!  But 12/12 was a great day to buy Puello stock, as he gets a start for the first time in 9 days and goes 5 for 6 with 2 extra base hits.  Causing his manager to realize Puello is actually on the team.  So from the 12th through the 21st, the rediscovered Puello goes 12 for 26 with 4 doubles and 4 homers, with 3 walks thrown in. 

Puello kills lefties (slugged .842 and .525 the past 2 years) but struggled vs. righties for most of 2014.  So he can’t, but against righties in 2013 in AA, he was a fine .298/.379/.459, so I just think they misused him last year.  They wasted at bats on veteran guys – Puello should have been up 250 more times in 2014.  In winter ball so far in his sporadic playing time, he is nailing righties (11 for 34, a double and 3 HRs), so that is very promising.

So let’s see: Cannon arm; blazing speed 56 of 66 in steals over the past 3 years in only about 1,000 plate appearances; power too.  And he gets hit by pitches like they are going out of style (115 times in slightly over 2,300 plate appearances), so he never has a low on base %.

Let’s compare him to a different stock that always seems to be talked up by the analysts, one the pundits say to have in your portfolio at all costs: Brandon Nimmo.  Nimmo will turn 22 next March so Puello is almost exactly 2 years older to the day.  Puello had his great AA season at 22.

Nimmo had a fine 2014 start in A ball at 21, but then struggled after his promo to AA last year, followed by a weak winter ball stint, so while everyone seems to rank him higher than Puello, I have to wonder.   Nimmo has to really show something to me this year to show he is as good or better than Puello; Nimmo has to step it up.

Back to Puello: 2013 and 2014 were years of highs and lows, but the two years together totaled only slightly more plate appearances than if he led off for the Mets for 162 games.  So how did his combined 2013 and 2014 stats look?  You judge: 649 official at bats, 122 runs, 41 doubles, 4 triples, 23 homers, 110 RBIs37 of 45 in steals.  .290/.380/.471. 

Conclusion: The more I think about it, the more I think it would be a huge mistake to lose this guy – I think if he is not on 25 man roster come opening day, he can request to be released – no doubt some other team would snatch him up.  I really think he could be another Carlos Gomez.
He’s built like a bull, and maybe, just maybe he will go on a bull market run for the Mets in 2015.

Whaddya think, folks?  And I hope if you celebrate Christmas like I do, or if not, your holiday season's joy will be but a precursor to a fabulous 2015, at Citifield and in the rest of your lives as well. 

Above is a selfie of yours truly (OK, just the feet of selfsame writer), with chestnuts roasting by an open artificial fire and a NY Mets orange jersey as the centerpiece of the shot.  Peace, goodwill, etc., etc…and hopefully you’re not left like this after the gift buying has finally ended:



Anonymous said...

Well, it should be no surprise here that I am on board with the CP experiment to start, as I have championed his potential for awhile. And that is what I am betting on; there are no (or few) guarantees when it comes to prospects, do decisions have to be made purely on prospect potential and I believe that his 2013 and second half 2014 demonstrate that some still exists and it would be organizational malpractice to cut bait now, especially since we are talking about him taking the 25th spot away from Soup. There are enough gloves to cover 3B in a pinch and he has a potential skill set that matches a need for the Mets. Don't know if his winter ball spree is enough to convince the Mets to add him, but it sure as heck would be plenty for another team to scoop him up off waivers. Maybe not enough to make the team, but almost a guarantee he wont pass through waivers now, so use him or lose him

Thomas Brennan said...

Yep, it is not inconceivable he could be their best overall outfielder in 2017. So protect him or you may just get burned badly later.

Ernest Dove said...

Maybe the Mets might go ahead and fill their bullpen with all righties, if no lefty gets it together enough. But I don't think they do the same with their bench in regards to outfielders. And since Sandy and company never quickly admit to being wrong, I assume mayberry jr beats out Puello for that OF bench spot. And maybe Kirk is the other and den dekker and his (option) stuck in Vegas.

Thomas Brennan said...

Howdy Herb

I'd cut Kirk. No signs of his strikeout disease letting up. Dekker will have a productive year; let it be in Queens and not wasted in Vegas. 2015 is a year to make the playoffs, not save options. Enuf room for Mayberry and Cesar...latter is a great late inning defense and pinch run guy even if playing little.

Thomas Brennan said...

Whoops, Ernest. Howdy to you too!

Ernest Dove said...

Howdy Thomas
Maybe Mets can have puello and den dekker in the outfield
Technically have Mayberry jr as a back up first baseman and sometime outfielder and then have Wilmer sub for wright etc...... it can work.

Anonymous said...

At least to start, they have enough gloves to cover 3B in a pinch and frankly, Soup was a fire hydrant there and didn't even get time at 3B when DW went down. If he were to be DLed, I don't think they would put Campbell there for an extended period. I am for both Puello and Mayberry to start and reluctantly Kirk also, only because MDD still has options and despite the Ks, Kirk was a useful pinch hitter with pop/speed and a versatile OF defender. I like MDD more, but I think his greatest value to this team could be going back to Vegas to rake and be added to a Colon trade to increase return. I think MDD could still be a starting CF in the majors and the Mets would be best suited by continuing to build his value in that regard, which means playing everyday somewhere.

Lew Rhodes said...

I think Puello makes the team as the 5th OFer - he has too much talent for them to give up on just yet.

His issue facing RH pitching is that he can't lay off good breaking balls - in AA, the pitching is less talented and there will be a lot more mistake breaking balls - in AAA and MLB, not as many meatballs.

If he can't learn to pick up and lay off RH breaking pitches, Mayberry Jr may be his ceiling.

I see the bench being this:

Tejada or another backup MI
Recker or another backup C

Since Flores and Murphy can play 3B, no need to carry a back-up for 3rd.

Campbell and Kirk are the odd men out.

I think the team keeps Campbell for the first few days of the season when they can leave the 5th starter in Florida in the hopes that he will pass through waivers at that point.

Kirk will be released - MDD has passed him, besides MDD is a much better defender and much better base runner.

And, MDD is the only player on the team who can nearly match Lagares's defense

Anonymous said...

In a strange twist, I think MDD goes back to Vegas because he IS the better player, which means he still has trade value that can be build further with everyday ABs. If Puello and Kirk are on the team, either could fill in for a few days if JLag went down and if extended, they could call up MDD to replace JL on a DL. If MDD goes back to Vegas and picks up where he left off last year, he will be an attractive trade candidate or even a replacement for Lagares if he sinks offensively, but he needs ABs everyday. It would also keep with Sandy's hoarding of useful, if not spectacular prospects. Kirk whiffed a lot, but had an excellent BB rate and OPS almost 150 points higher that MDD and was actually a pretty good LH pinch hitter

Thomas Brennan said...

I can't wait for spring training! Let the best men (with or without options) win!

Have a great day, folks.

Mack Ade said...

I have no thoughts on this anymore since, him becoming the 5th outfielder only insures he will never get enough at bats to become the third outfielder

Anonymous said...

I'm in the minority but I think dD is overrated and will never be more than a defensive replacement/PR. Kirk is the same age and better in every tool. He's where he is because the Mets don't use him. If that is to continue I hope another team picks him up and he gets a chance to play. I think he can have a very nice career at any OF position.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hi Anonymous

On Dekker, he had a Jekyll and Hyde experience in 2014. SO-so first half, lousy with Mets. Sent to AAA where for the last 42 games he hit .420/.500/.700, then did well with Mets, especially in Sept, and his strikeouts dropped dramatically. An extreme makeover. Of course, everyone starts out tied for worst hitter in the league come opening day, so it is proving time all over again.

I think he will find the shorter right center field to his liking, and will do quite well.

Time will tell.

Jacob Falk said...

Every tool?
Glove: NO!
Arm: maybe
Hit for average: no
Power: maybe
Speed: no
In summary I guess I disagree lol

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Jacob, Cesar just came over t fix my plumbing and I counted them, exactly 5 tools. Warner Wolf suggested I go to the videotape, so I found this little snippet about Mr. Tools: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Cesar+Puello+Baseball+Reference&FORM=RESTAB#view=detail&mid=BC8260CD363A25300015BC8260CD363A25300015

Jacob Falk said...

I don't doubt great cesar I'm doubting that kirk has better tools than math den dekker, should have clarified a bit!

Jacob Falk said...


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