Reese Kaplan -- What's Gavin Cecchini's MLB Future?


When Sandy Alderson made Gavin Cecchini his 1st round draft pick in 2012 there were some skeptics who were not enamored with the selection.  He’s not the type of player who has an outstanding skill that everyone covets.  He doesn’t hit the long ball like Giancarlo Stanton.  He doesn’t run the bases like Billy Hamilton.  He doesn’t field with the aplomb of Ozzie Smith.   Yet there was something there that made the Mets use their 12th position in the draft to make him the top pick.

As he began his career in the Mets system, he moved up as you would expect from someone the club is emotionally invested in seeing succeed.  However, he didn’t reassure a great many doubters during his initial foray into the professional ranks.  Yes, he took quality at-bats and seemed to use the entire field but his pronounced leg kick seemed to hinder his ability to handle better pitching.  His age 18 initial trial across two leagues saw him finish with a .240/1/22 slash line.  Meh. 

He was promoted, of course, and his full season at age 19 in Brooklyn saw him up the batting average to .273 but his run production was even worse with no home runs and just 14 RBIs over the course of over 200 at-bats.

In 2014 he played across three levels, reaching as high as AA, and finally put together a full year’s worth of production.  The batting average was nothing impressive at .247 but he did manage to hit 8 home runs and drive in 56 – somewhat encouraging numbers from a player in a defensive position not always known for offensive prowess.  It was during this time they worked on altering his leg kick into more of a toe tap to help him have more time to get around on faster pitches.

In 2015 as whispers of “bust” regarding his draft status got louder he finally put it all together.  At AA Binghamton for the entire year he hit an impressive .317 while hitting 7 HRs and driving in 51.  He struck out a mere 55 times while walking 42.  He didn’t show much baserunning speed with just 3 SBs, but his OBP was a nice .377.

Everyone knows that Las Vegas is a hitter’s paradise and as expected Cecchini responded in kind with a terrific year at the plate.  He hit .325 with 8 HRs and 55 RBIs while still showing that good approach at the plate and excellent bat control.  Unfortunately his defense seemed to take a major step backwards and with uber-prospect Amed Rosario likely playing SS for the 51s, that will probably push Cecchini to the other side of the diamond at 2B.  His route to the majors may be easier there with Neil Walker playing on a one-year contract and a possible opening resulting in 2018. 

So what kind of player will he become?  There are not a lot of high average hitters who also don’t have another tool.  Some get by on speed, some have outstanding defense.  Others contribute power. 

The best I could parallel as an aspirational model for him was the mostly St. Louis Cardinal (and brief but forgotten NY Met), Tom Herr.  He was a man who once drove in 110 runs while hitting .302 but only driving 8 balls out of the park.  For his career he was a .271 hitter who often walked more than he struck out.  He only hit 28 long balls over a 13 year career, but he was a solid and dependable player who was a starter for 11 of them.  If Cecchini could replicate Herr’s career then people would likely salute Sandy Alderson for a good choice. 


Thomas Brennan said...

I still hope for Cecchini's power to increase. So he should be a much more prolific homer guy than Herr was. That said, Herr was driving in the basestealing elite, as I recall, which probably spiked his RBI totals that year.

Mack Ade said...

Let's face it... I have never ranked him that high on my prospect list. Out of respect, I now have him higher than I have ever had before.

To me, he is just another of those quality minor leaguers that will top off at the AAA level, possibly because he will never get enough bats for an entire season in Queens.

Rosario is going to become the shortstop late in 2017 for the next 567 years and there is not a single quality second baseman in the pipeline that could develop to replace Walker in 2018.

Do you hear me, coaching staff. Bueller?

Reese Kaplan said...

If he was a .280 hitter with 10 HR power wouldn't that play at 2B? I actually feel for 2018 they will pick up the option on Asdrubal Cabrera and have him start at 2B alongside Amed Rosario to mentor him. They'll let Walker go. The smarter move would be to trade him for something in July than let him walk for nothing, but that depends on where they are in the standings at the time.

Eddie Corona said...

Sandys first 2 picks fall in the category of Why? why choose them with a 1 round pick... if Nimmo was a 3rd pick he would be a steal... If Cecchini was a 2nd /3rd pick he would have been a value pick with a high floor low ceiling... But with the first picks you need to draft talent... Not someone who didnt play HS Baseball or best tool was he was avg across the 5 tools...

Mack Ade said...

Eddie -

I totally agree and I am not trying to say anything against either Nimmo or Cecchini, but neither of them derserved a pick this high.

Guys like Tom and Christopher will tell you that I was all over both those drafts when they happened and did my due diligence on them as well. I also had inside information on the private workout that Cecchini had in Queens a few days before the draft.

I believe Cecchini would have gone in the first round, but why us when Lucas Giolito went 4 picks later?

I was all over him and a dud named Courtney Hawkins, so I'm not perfect either.

As for Nimmo, he was a Sup 1 pick at best and they could have had any number of quality players like Alex Meyer, Joe Panik, Sonny Gray, or, sadly, Jose Fernandez.

Adam Smith said...

I think that the Herr comp on Cecchini is pretty good. If he could manage an OBP of .375 he could be a pretty useful piece, and in the right situation, he could carve out a career for himself as a starter at 2B somewhere, but can you count on that from him, year to year? I can very easily see the Mets picking up Cabrera's option and moving him to 2B with Rosario at SS next season. In that case, and with several other potential 2B in the pipeline, I have to believe that Cecchini becomes a trade piece as part of a package sometime in the next 18 months. Likely for a CF.

Mack Ade said...

I forgot to say this...

Fernandez was NEVER a consideration by the Mets

Eddie Corona said...

Hey mack is that true that Jose was never a consideration?
was it because we were so void of position players and we were already deep in pitching or because we didn't think he was worth such a pick...because if it was the later then we should have fired everyone who prepared for that draft...

Reese Kaplan said...

As part of a package for a CF I could see, but on his own he's not likely regarded as having enough potential. He might net you a middle reliever on his own. CFs are harder to find.

Today's article elsewhere on the BABIP issue in Las Vegas makes me wonder if the fielding woes are attributable to the field conditions as well, or if he is just genuinely bad with the glove.

Mack Ade said...

Eddie -

The Mets had him as a 2nd round pick on their board

Mack Ade said...

Reese -

There was a particular day last year in spring training that all the Mets shortstops gathered themselves together on the field right next to the minor league player clubhuse and began to put on a defensive extravaganza.

There was at least 8 of them doing one spectacular play after another, trying to beat each other with as much mustard as they could.

One of the Mets minor league player's father was there and he emailed his thoughts on who he thought were the winners and who was the dead last loser due to rigidity and lack of finesse or creativity.

It was Ceccini.

Anonymous said...

And as usual, Rodney Dangerfield .... I mean Wilmer Flores gets no respect from anyone. Why isn't a potential 20 hrs, 70/80 rbi's and 265/275 average not good enough for 2B? TJ?

Obviously none of this would have mattered if the Mets had a GM with a brain. The Genius in his own mind Sandy Alderson gave us the double whammy last year. First he doesn't bring Murphy back, the best pure hitter to have come up in a long time for the Mets. Then he tries to strike lighting again and trades the 2B of the future in Herrera.

Murphy goes on to lead the Nationals to the NL east title and Herrera is now with Cincinnati. And the Mets have ....question marks.

But then a stroke of Genius hit Sandy while flying at 35,000 feet on his way back to NY. "I should extend Walker because since he got hurt and had surgery, there is no way he will accept a 4M raise. He will absolutely become a free agent." So now, 17.2M later, the Mets don't know if Walker will be at 100% let alone if he will be worth his contract.

So lets see, in 2 years Sandy has let Murphy go because he wasn't worth the money and Herrera was the 2B of the future. Then he trades Herrera. Then he maximizes the payroll with Walker and now he can't even sign our own free agent relievers.

Genius indeed..........I miss O M A R.


Reese Kaplan said...

@Viper -- until recently I don't think it was Sandy Alderson defecating on Wilmer Flores. That was the guy filling out the lineup card. Now, however, with Flores heading to Arbitration I fully expect to see him traded. THAT would be on Alderson.

bob gregory said...


Good question regarding Alderson vs Collins holding Flores back.

I do need to point out......remember all of the conversations and reports that Alderson has a lot to do with who Collins places in the lineup card and where from game to game.

Anonymous said...

We as Mets fans have to now see Murphy kill us for the very least the next 2 years. All because Sandy wouldn't bring him back at a bargain rate knowing full well that he was a perfect backup for Wright and Duda. You see, he had already made up his mind that Herrera was a better option than Murphy. Then he trades Herrera because ...to be determine I guess.

If he now trades Flores simply because Flores agent is taking the Mets to arbitration it will show how little of a man he is. It will give Wally Backman's allegations credibility.

Lets not forget that this Mess the Mets have in the outfield is of his own making. He wanted another killer deal and now is stuck with a crowded outfield and another potential wasted year for Conforto and Lagares.


eraff said...

take a look at Fan Graphs...the BABIP for BOTH Cheech and TJ is off the Charts...and TJ has very little gain from BB

Cheech is 5 years younger---it's much more impressive and projectable.

Anonymous said...

Cheech can't catch the ball these days.

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