Mets Minors: Gavin Cecchini and the season that wasn’t

The 2017 season has not been a good year for the Mets in any way shape or form. The major league team was wracked with injuries, the minor leagues underwhelmed and had injuries of their own and the franchise hasn’t looked very nice. As we, the sports pundits, begin to shift gears from talking about the 2017 season that was to the 2018 season that will be, I want to talk about a few moments where we expected bigger things.

Gavin Cecchini was supposed to be a player whose path to the majors was fairly safe. That was the reason the Mets drafted him and not a higher ceiling prospect like Corey Seager. Only that’s not the way things turned out. Seager, as we all know and bemoan, has turned into a top MLB shortstop, whereas Cecchini has not only had a longer road to the majors, he’s looking more and more like a mediocre bench player at best.

In 2016 he had given us reason to hope. Despite increasingly troubling defensive numbers, Cecchini put together an .838 OPS in AAA and had a fine four-game audition in the majors. If he could build upon his growth in 2016 the Mets could look to slide him into the starting second baseman’s position and likely a strong #2 hitter. That was not to be.

This was the case for a number of Mets in the minors. Justin Dunn, Wuilmer Becerra, David Thompson, Desmond Lindsay and others all turned out disappointing seasons for a Met franchise that had high hopes to start the year.

Here’s to hoping that next year turns out better than we predict.

8 comments for “Mets Minors: Gavin Cecchini and the season that wasn’t

  1. Jimmy P
    September 18, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Here’s my question: Where’s the tool? Where is he a plus guy?

    I actually think his career has gone about as well as expected. I mean, beyond that he doesn’t have the arm for SS. How do scouts miss that?

    I think the glove/arm works at 2B. He has no real speed and lacks power. The eye is good, the BA might continue to come along. If this were 1972, he could play 2B for a lot of teams.

    It’s just hard to imagine what they hoped he’d become. The bat has progressed, overall, though he’s had a rough 2017. The lack of speed really hurts when you don’t have power. Were they hoping for the next Doug Flynn?

    Seems like a good kid who is doing everything within his tool set to become the best player possible. But he needs to hit around .320 w/ 30 doubles to be a plus 2B in the year 2018.

    Utility guy. Nice that he can fill in occasionally at SS if needed.

    Strange pick from Day One.

  2. Joe F
    September 18, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Don’t think you should lump Thompson into that group. He had a really bad April and a soft July, but had really solid numbers the rest of the year. 16 HR and 29 2B is not that bad with one dreadful month and by all accounts, he fielded the position much better than expected. He still is what he has always been as a prospect: could eventually hit major league pitching with some pop and if he can play 3 adequately, he could become a useful major leaguers. He did not have the set backs that the others had

  3. Eraff
    September 18, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    They are not pushing Cheech out on to the field very often…. the fact that he sees about as much action ( or less) than Reynolds is a big Clue that they are not enthused with him.

    I don;t like picking out a Cory Seager as my baseline for Critique–heck, Mike Piazza was passed on almost 2000 times before the Dodgers pulled his ticket.

    I think it’s On Time to be critical of the top of the Draft over the past several years… Kay, Dunn, Lindsay—these guys are not yet visible. Alonzo is in the early going, and with some really good results, but the profile of Met draft choices is pretty flat right now. You expect to see something splashy from top round picks—I’ve seen enough to say that it’s lacking.

    Confession…..I’ve never seen most of these guys play.

    • Jimmy P
      September 18, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      I think the First Round gets far too much attention, mostly because it’s all most of us know with any detail. Probably fairer to look at first 5 rounds over a period of time.

      Again, again: The Mets farm is currently ranked near the worst in all of baseball. This is his farm, these are his guys, and it’s in poor shape. That’s just the way it is these days. He failed. For a team with budget constraints, it is a serious problem that goes beyond any “hits and misses” in the first round.

      Hey, if Smith turns into an All-Star 1B, the story shifts a little bit. That’s how fluid this stuff is, and it’s why I like to look at it from different angles. I’ve always favored the “impact players” approach, but overall, across-the-board performance seems like a better indicator of the system as a whole: draft and development and competitive culture that leads to consistent depth.

      • September 18, 2017 at 7:01 pm

        The first round gets most of the attention because that’s where most of the value is.

        You really think expanding views to the fifth round is going to tell us much? In Alderson’s first draft in 2011, there have been only eight guys to make the majors from the fourth round and those eight have combined for a 1.0 bWAR. In the third round that year, 11 guys have made the majors and those 11 have combined for 5.2 bWAR. Meanwhile, 10 players picked on the first round individually exceeded the value of all of the guys picked on the third round.

        We can judge however and whatever you prefer but there have to be baselines to compare and the understanding that a higher pick should result in higher rewards. So much grief has been given the Mets for passing on Jose Fernandez to pick Brandon Nimmo. But the Mets had the 13th pick and ended up taking the guy who to date has the 17th-best bWAR value of those selected in the first round. Meanwhile, the teams with the second and fifth pick of the draft took guys who haven’t reached the majors. The Mariners picking a guy who didn’t reach the majors with the second overall pick is far, far worse than the Nimmo pick.

        • Jimmy P
          September 18, 2017 at 10:31 pm

          To me, it’s never about one pick here and there. It’s the sum total across time. A batting average approach rather than talking about the strikeouts or just the home runs. And that’s where Alderson has failed, brutally.

  4. TexasGusCC
    September 18, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Ironically, the rave last year is what a line drive hitter Cecchini was and it was the rrrors holding him back.

    I’ve always been a “talent” guy, and let the player put in the work, better than these “safe” picks that the Mets take. Pass on Devin Perez for Justin Dunn? I know, the “issues”. Pass on Jaren Kendall for Dave Thompson? Again issues.

    These guys may suck and Dunn and Thompson will be mega-stars for years. Well, great. But, my point is the Mets aren’t talent evaluators, they’re shrinks and cheapskates. Take the safe guy that won’t end up on the back page and doesn’t want too much to sign. That’s why their players, talent level, and organizational skill players are lacking.

  5. Jimmy P
    September 18, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    I don’t recall it from when I saw him in the NY/Penn League, so I’m surprised by Cecchini’s wild one-handed swing. He’s like Ozuna that way — but in only that way. It just doesn’t seem to be in keeping with the player I imagined him to be.

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