3/11/15

MMs Top 25: #14 SS Gavin Cecchini

12 comments
#14 SS Gavin Cecchini (LR#14)
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 180 lb
Age: 21
Acquired: 2012 Rule IV Draft, 1st Round,  Alfred M. Barbe HS (Lake Charles, LA).

2014: (A/A+) .247/.328/.378, 8 HR, 56 RBI, 10 SB (71%), 57 BB, 82 K
2013: (SS-A) .273/.319/.314, 0 HR, 14 RBI, 2 SB (40%), 14 BB, 30 K
2012: (Rk)     .240/.307/.321, 1 HR, 22 RBI, 5 SB (56%), 18 BB, 44 K


     Gavin Cecchini is a polarizing player to Mets fans. Amongst all the guys on this list, he probably has the widest split between fans who hate him and fans who love him. Statistically speaking, the SS position itself is not a very strong one offensively. Pretty much anyone who is capable of posting a .650+ OPS while playing solid defense can be an MLB league average SS. When Cecchini was drafted, fans were up in arms because...well...there's nothing "special" about Cecchini and the club passed on Cardinals darling SP Michael Wacha. That said, while he does not have any "plus" tools, he has 5 solid average ones.

     Cecchini has an already polished smooth line drive swing that fits well at the top or bottom of any line-up. When he combines this smooth swing with an advanced eye at the plate that generates a solid K:BB ratio. His 15.4% K rate in 2014 was actually one of the best in the Mets farm system. He also has the "Sandy Alderson" mentality of "hunting for your pitch." which he uses to work deep counts multiple times a game. All of these things combined get yourself a player who fits extremely well into today's version of an MLB lead-off hitter. 

     Cecchini also has pop in his bat too. Scouts original gave him a lowly "30" grade for his power but he added some strength during the 2013 off-season and came into Savannah and posted a .408 slugging percentage in one of the worst places for power in all of baseball. Even more surprising is that his slugging percentage was actually 30 points HIGHER at home then on the road. His improved power became more evident when the club promoted him to a the much more even Port St. Lucie environment and his HR totals doubled in a similar number of At-Bats. This has led to scouts increasing that tool to a much better "45" slightly below average grade.

     Cecchini's defense/his ability to STAY at SS is what attract the Mets to him in 2012. Many times during the draft a "SS" is drafted high because of his strong bat at what we know is a weak offensive position. However, many times, those guys fill out as they get older and they are forced off the position and end up at 3B. This EXACT thing happened to Gavin's brother Garin during his time in Boston. The older of two Cecchini's was 2 inches taller and 40 lbs heavier which led to his inability to stick at SS. This is not the case for Gavin. He's the right size (6' 1"), his hands are smooth, his movements are fluid, his arm is solidly above average, and his range is solid average as well. Amongst all the SS's in the Mets system right now (outside of Guillorme), Cecchini is the best bet to STAY at SS long term.

     There's a lot to like about Cecchini, there is very little risk in his projection and while his ceiling is not something crazy, like a Troy Tulowitzski type player, he absolutely has a solid projection of turning into a .270 AVG hitter with a .330 OBP, 12-15 HR power, and above average defense. That's an Alexei Ramirez caliber player right there. Could a team ask for any more out of a 1st rounder? Probably.....but I'd rather have a solid contributor than a 1st round bust.


Ceiling: Solid MLB starting SS (Alexi Ramirez)
Floor: Back-up MLB SS.
Anticipated Assignment: (AA) Binghamton starting SS

12 comments:

Thomas Brennan said...

Nice update on Cecchini - what a logjam he adds to in the middle infield - good thing he is a year or two away.

Richard Jones said...

I read your primer and I still can't see how he can be ranked ahead or anywhere near Rosario.
You give Rosario a floor of not making it pass AA. How do you give Cecchini a pass here. How do you know he makes it past AA. He hasn't even hit at the low A level yet. The only reason he is going to AA is because there are prospects behind him.
I have Rosario ahead of all non pitching prospects but I can see how with your criteria someone like Reynolds would be ahead of him because Reynolds looks like he can help now. Cecchini is just a little ahead of Rosario in placement but Rosario is already the better player and he is closer to MLB ready.

Richard Jones said...

Chris

I have one more question. If you were the Mets GM and you were about to make a trade that would really help the Mets. You needed to give one more prospect. The team said we want either Rosario or Cecchini.
Which one would you give up? Who do you want to hold onto?

Christopher Soto said...

@Rich

Cecchini posted a .741 OPS in Savannah during the 2014 season which is superb for a middle infielder in the cavern that is Grayson Stadium.

His OPS dropped to .677 when he was promoted to St. Lucie but when you look at the raw stats and sabermetrics together.....you will see that Cecchini was actually better in St. Lucie.

Savannah- 259 plate Appearances
St. Lucie- 271 Plate Appearances

Savannah- 9.6% BB, 15.8% K rate
St. Lucie- 11.8% BB, 14.8% K rate

Savannah- .259 AVG on a .299 BABIP
St. Lucie- .236 AVG on a .259 BABIP

So his BABIP drop 40 points but his average only dropped 23 points. You normalized that BABIP and the simple math will get you to a .276 AVG in A+


I'm not sure how you can say Rosario is a better player TODAY.

Cecchini currently has more power. His normalized batting average (.300-BABIP+ batting Average) is actually better than Rosario's too.

Cecchini (A+) .300 - .259 BABIP= .041 + .236 = .277 normalized

Rosario (SS-A) .300 - .345 BABIP= -.045 + .289 = .244 normalized


Christopher Soto said...

@Rich

Trade values are built on ceiling irregardless of risk factor.... whereas my prospect listing is built on ceiling in relation to the risk involved.

Rosario's ceiling is absolutely higher than Cecchini's BUT he still has a lot of flaws in his game mechanically in his swing such as his problems with horizontal moving breaking pitches, in addition

Cecchini has a more refined swing, handles breaking pitches better, and currently has more game power.

Christopher Soto said...

Also take into account that Rosario has risen on this list from 23 to 15 over the past 2 updates.....whereas Cecchini has gone from 15 to 14 to 14.

Rosario is absolutely on the way up....I just want to see continued sustained performance at a full season level...that's all.

Richard Jones said...

I have to disagree with your take on trade value. I would take a AAA player who is going to hit .290 with 25 homers over a low A player who's ceiling is .300 with 30 homers. Maybe ceiling has more weight than risk factor but I think a GM is going to take both into consideration.
I did err earlier when I said I had Rosario has my #1 non pitching prospect for the Mets. I do have Herrera over Rosario and it has to do with risk factor. I think Rosario will be better than Herrera but not by enough to outweigh the risk factor between the 2. I'm certain Herrera will be a good MLB player unless an injury setback or something of that nature. I'm not a 100% sure on either Rosario or Cecchini. I think when a player prove he can hit AA or AAA hitting I can buy into your method. When comparing two players who haven't I don't get your method.

Richard Jones said...

One last thing.
Grayson Stadium and stadiums like it have caused misconceptions. It would hurt a player like Duda when looking at stats but it would inflate the stats of someone like Cecchini or Rosario. There is a lot more ground for the outfielders to cover so unless the home run is a big part of your game, your stats will be padded. Outfielders have to play deeper so a ball doesn't get by them and a lot more pop ups fall in for hits. That was a bigger issue in Colorado than the actual homerun.

Mack Ade said...

The issue in Savannah has ALWAYS been the summer humidity

Thomas Brennan said...

We could use a day or two of that Savannah summer humidity up north here about now, Mack...although today was beautiful in NYC.

Celebrated the great weather with a 5 mile stroll...like getting out of solitary confinement after this winter. Yesterday was the first day in 9 weeks that broke 50 degrees.

Lon Forbes said...

Rosario has more upside and doesn't stand unready for smashes as Cecchini does.

Mack Ade said...

It took me a number of years to realize that I can't predict what a rookie/low-A ballplayer is going to turn into when he gets to AA and AAA.

There's just too many factors, especially the quality of players he will be playing against.

You have to wait this process out and I think we're going to see THIS YEAR whether or not Cecchini has the right stuff.

I too believe that Rosario has more up side, but, like I said, its all guess work

Mack's Mets © 2012