Gavin Cecchini should be in the infield mix

One of the true surprises of this spring training has been the play of second baseman Gavin Cecchini. The Mets’ first round pick in the 2012 June draft has not exactly set the world on fire in his professional career so far. His slash line at Vegas last year was .267/.329/.380, a distinct regression from 2016, his first season at the AAA level. In a September call-up with the Mets last year he was bad, with a .208/.256/.273 slash line, not the kind of stats you want to see from a prospect.

In the off-season, the 24 year old Cecchini must have seen the writing on the wall, and he made some changes to his approach. As reported by Abbey Mastracco in, Cecchini began video taping his swing and sending it on to new Mets’ hitting coach Pat Roessler for evaluation.

As a result, Cecchini has retooled his swing by closing his stance, changing his batting angle and getting more push off his back leg, among other changes. He also added some 15 pounds of muscle to his frame. The results so far in ST have been impressive, in ten games Cecchini has a .350/.458/.800 slash line with two homers and a stolen base.

The question is, do the Mets send him back to Las Vegas for a third season, or should he make the Mets’ roster? Cecchini’s best position is second base where he is an average to above average defender, but he has played third and short in the minors, although not as well as he performs at second.

The best approach, if Cecchini continues to hit anywhere near what he has this spring, might be to insert Cecchini into the regular line up at second and shift Asdrubal Cabrera into the utility infielder role now played by Jose Reyes.

Reyes will turn 35 this year, coming off a 2017 where he put up a .246/.315/.413 slash line. He is worse this spring with an ST line of .174/.240/.261, and his defense is not good. The Mets’ portion of his salary is not that high at two million. Reyes, with a lot of mileage on him, is not the future of the Mets. Cecchini just might be the present and the future.

Cabrera and Cecchini could fight it out for the second baseman slot, with the loser taking over the utility infield role, with Wilmer Flores also available on days when he is not playing first base.

At the start of ST this year, one of the big stories was the bulked up Juan Lagares with his new swing. So far, those changes have not panned out for Lagares. Cecchini was flying much lower under the radar, but his changes so far have yielded big pre-season dividends. It would not be shocking to see Cecchini play a key role for the Mets this year, and maybe for many years into the future.

11 comments for “Gavin Cecchini should be in the infield mix

  1. March 13, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    This Spring has been encouraging for Cecchini. Now he needs to go to Vegas and rake while waiting for an opportunity to present itself.

  2. Pete In Iowa
    March 13, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Guillorme, Cecchini, Smith, Rosario, Thompson, Evans and Alonso.
    Sure is going to be interesting to see what pans out among these young infielders over the next season or two.
    Likely, Reyes, Cabrerra and Gonzalez are all gone next year, at the latest. One thing is for certain: the infield is going to look a lot different at Citi in 2019, if not sooner.

    • John Fox
      March 13, 2018 at 10:35 pm

      Thompson could be a sleeper, I haven’t seen him that much but he has contributed

  3. Eraff
    March 13, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    I believe Wilmer is very exposed here…. They continue throwing Middle infielders in front of him because he cannot field a position. They also have 1st basemen in front of him. It’s a tough spot… he’s now making 3.5 million dollars a year, and it seems like they’re holding him for lack of a better idea. It doesn’t look like they want to play him.

    If he doesn’t “Graduate”:, his next Arbitration bump will push him to free agency.

    • Pete In Iowa
      March 13, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      He is rightfully exposed. He simply does not hit enough to offset his lack of speed and poor defense. Unless he does something completely unforeseen, this will very likely be his final year in Flushing.

    • TJ
      March 13, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      We all know Wilmer’s limitations, but his RH bat at 1B combined with his ability to field several positions in a pinch (not well, but better than someone who has never played) keep him on the 25 man for now. Should Wright ever recover, which seems near impossible at this point ever, that could push Wilmer.

      A handful of ST games does not make a career, but kudos to Cheech for stepping up. He is the perfect example of why it is near impossible to rank a team’s system. Before this spring, one bad year in AAA and at 24 he was a forgotten former top prospect. Sure, some guys never pan out, but some guys just are late bloomers.

      • AMandingo
        March 15, 2018 at 8:47 am

        Wright recovering shouldn’t push anyone off the roster. It should just lead to his release. He hasn’t been a valuable player in half a decade, and if he comes back it will only be for a few weeks until he gets injured again.

  4. Name
    March 13, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Cecchini had a big year last spring as well and had a horrible year in Vegas historically bad stint in the majors

    As usual, much ado about nothing.

    • Geoffrey T
      March 18, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      I’m not a big Cecchini fan or believer. But in point of fact, Cecchini did not have a big spring last year. He merely had a big first two weeks. In Week Three, as the pitching got better, his hitting disappeared. We see this every year with a few players. The problem with spring stats is that its such a small sample size that the numbers can easily be overly influenced by a brief hot stretch.
      But what Cecchini is doing this year is different. He’s continued to hit. The thing is (and this is the other problem with spring stats), he’s getting most of his hits late in games against also-rans. When he bats against the legitimate major leaguers, he’s not hitting as much, and he’s not driving the ball against them when he does hit it. Its better than last year. But its still a long way from being good enough.

  5. Mike Walczak
    March 14, 2018 at 12:01 am

    In with young, out with the old, slow or earns too much for their production.

    Maybe we will see changes sooner than later. Agon out, maybe Reyes out. Lagares has had some trade interest.

    Don’t be surprised if a deal or two are made before spring training ends.

    The future is with the youngsters, not the old duds.

  6. Geoffrey T
    March 18, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    There’s really not much question here. Cecchini should be going back to Vegas. There’s no room on this roster for him, and he hasn’t done enough to take a spot away from someone else.
    Offensively, the first two weeks of spring are close to meaningless, as many of the ABs are against minor league pitchers, and the major league pitchers aren’t fully ramped up yet. Over the past week, Cecchini has continued to get his hits against also-rans, but not against the starters or front line relievers. And as we go deeper into sprig, he’s not driving the ball less and less even when he does make contact.
    Defensively, his play at second base is average at best, and nowhere near above average as you describe. And he’s already proven that he can’t play 3rd or sort on a regular basis without making a ton of throwing errors.

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