Why, hello denizens of Amazin' Avenue, and welcome to another thick installment of Five-Tool Tool's late-night insomnia ramblings. Apparently the Rule IV draft took place tonight, and Twitter and various social media were abuzz with lamentations, virtual agape looks of slack-jawed disbelief, and shouts that some teams have "won" the draft while others have "lost" based upon the first round and the sandwich round.
(Disclaimer: These views are mine and mine alone. Want to think I am full of shit? I probably am.)
I like prospects and the entire enigmatic, complex process that ensues when trying to scout and project players, some of whom are seniors in high school. Remember when you were a senior in high school? I was indifferent to college and had no mastery of anything, that and I didn't have the opportunity to make a decision that would affect the rest of my life. In fact, I shudder at what my stupid self would do if given first or second-round bonus money at 18.
A scouting report of myself at 18 would look akin to that of a high-tools, high-risk high school pitcher who had makeup issues. Thankfully colleges, which do scouting on a much grander scale, don't have the most stringent scouting departments and don't actually watch you in the classroom and report back to their superiors as "someone we might consider if he slips below RPI and Fordham, we'll take a flyer on him and potentially offer him some money to entice him from Rutgers".
Kevin Goldstein, an immensely busy man this time of year, said the following 15 hours ago:
12. New York Mets ($2.55M): Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
Forty-eight hours ago, I would have done a mock without Giolito, but he suddenly has a number of rumored landing spots, beginning with New York, who seem to be definitely at least kicking the tires on the draft's biggest wild card. He's a tough sign here, an even tougher one later, but the Mets are rumored to be making another splash. If they get cold feet today, they could go in a number of directions, all of them high school-based, and in particular Corey Seager, Cecchini and another possible difficult sign in Lance McCullers.
Well, apparently the Mets did get cold feet as Giolito went 16th to the Nationals, who like to make splashes in the draft under Mike Rizzo. However, there's a Cecchini sighting in that little quote I gave, and that is whom the Mets would take at twelfth overall.
I looked at his birthdate: December 22, 1993. Good God, is this kid young. Younger than my younger brother. It's always terrifying when you see people younger than you obtain more money in one fell swoop than you will ever see in your life, but c'est la vie.
Here's what MLB.com had to say about the pick:
Bloodlines are always a good thing, so the fact that Cecchini's brother, Garin, was a 2010 draftee and now in the Red Sox organization doesn't hurt. The younger Cecchini, however, is more than making a name for himself.Cecchini has a quick stroke with good extension, enabling him to make consistent hard contact. He's got mostly gap power now and his speed plus instincts allow him to be a basestealing threat and take the extra base. Those instincts also help him defensively.While his hands are good and he grades out as average with his arm and range, some think a move to second might be better. Either way, this scrappy middle infielder is sure to get plenty of looks in the spring.
Quick stroke with good extension? That sounds cool. Gap power? I can dig it. The move to second can be troublesome because it forces the bat to be a lot more effective, but he's been Mets 'property' for all of five hours. You know what, here's what Goldstein said in his pure talent ratings of the 2012 class:
17. Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe HS (LA)
Who he is: The younger brother of Red Sox third baseman Garin, but a very different player. Gavin is smaller and more athletic, and a plus defensive shortstop who should stay at the position all the way up the ladder. He's a plus runner as well, and has outstanding baseball instincts. While Garin is arguably the best pure hitter in the Red Sox system, Gavin comes with questions about his bat. He has a smooth line drive stroke but little projection for power, so he'll have to develop a good approach to find his secondary skills.
Draft skinny: Pure shortstops in the draft are always a much-desired commodity, and Cecchini's name is in play for nearly every pick in the teens.
If there's three words you should let marinate in your head for the rest of the night, let them be PLUS DEFENSIVE SHORTSTOP. Repeat them to yourself as you wonder why the Mets didn't draft other people. Playing shortstop is hard. Playing minor league shortstop can be brutal, but playing major-league shortstop is otherworldly. When scouts say you have 60 defensive chops at a premium position at age 18, that isn't faint praise by any stretch of the imagination. Also, having 60 speed and plus baseball instinct is not something to shake a stick at either.
Even though none of it matters.
Yes, I said it. None of this matters, or at least most of it. You are dreaming on what Gavin Cecchini can do based upon a senior season at a high school in Western Louisiana. Professional baseball is such a different animal that high school stats and projections, while nice, almost become moot the second one enters the professional ranks. You play almost every day against competition even better than any all-star AAU team you can imagine. Everyone is all-state, all-conference, all-America, and probably the stud of their high school or college teams.
Here's some questions I have about our draft picks: How do they adjust to 'failure'? Look at the stats of some of the high schoolers drafted in the first round. They're bananas. Joey Gallo of Bishop Gorman hit 21 home runs this year in what I assume was a 35-to-40 game season. Some players can view a .290/.360/.470 season in their first professional year as a failure when it can be (and usually is) a resounding success. Balls that don't get caught in high school are now snagged by 70 speed centerfielders with ease. Pitchers have "out" pitches, and some even know how to command them at lower levels. How does the prospect adjust to the inevitable slump that will occur in his professional career? Can (and will) adjustments be made?
Brandon Nimmo is still in extended spring training a year after his draft year and that's fine. Steven Matz (remember him) is also in extended and is slated to start the season at Kingsport after elbow surgery.
Be patient, people. Be realistic, but be patient. There are plenty of adjustments to be made (or not), and maturity to occur. Yes, the scouting reports for someone like a Gavin Cecchini don't coincide with the high-tools guys like a Lance McCullers, Courtney Hawkins, or Lucas Giolito. However, every prospect has a nagging question that can only be pacified through actual game play against professional competition and subsequent scouting.
Until then, let's enjoy the ride and see who else the Mets can acquire. I need a drink, good night.