SS, Savannah Sand Gnats (A)
Age (2014 season age): 20
Acquired: 1st round, 2012
Date(s) seen: 4/26/14-4/27/14 @ Lakewood Blue Claws: 3-5, 2 2B, RBI, 2 R, K
2014 so far: 170 PA, .268/.335/.418, 29 K / 15 BB
The short of it: Cecchini has begun to blossom in Savannah now that he is fully healthy, but I still have nagging questions about his offensive and defensive ceiling.
The long of it: Cecchini has added some physical strength since I saw him last year in Brooklyn, and is probably about ten pounds or so above his listed weight. He showed a lot more loud contact both in batting practice and in my in-game look. Has started using a high leg kick for timing, and to assist in firing his hips. It allows him to explode towards the pitch and gives his swing a little added oomph out of a still wiry frame. I am generally not a huge fan of those kind of timing mechanisms, and it does leave Cecchini vulnerable to breaking stuff as it is tough for him to adjust once he starts his swing. He also occasionally will end up off-balance on his back foot, which can cause him to collapse a bit and uppercut at the ball. The approach is still strong and I have more confidence in the bat than I had last year, but I still wonder how that all-out swing works at higher levels. Ideally he gets even stronger as he goes along and doesn't need to coil himself up so much to drive the ball. Only got one look at Cecchini in the field, and there wasn't much hit to him. Looked fine in Saturday's infield drills, and Toby Hyde has generally been positive on his shortstop play. Has the physical tools to stick there, despite being just an average runner, but needs to adjust to pro game speed. Worth keeping an eye on the body as he progresses as well. While he has a smaller frame than his brother in general, Garin did add mass in his early-20s.
The optimistic projection: Everyday shortstop in the majors. If you want a lazy comp, maybe Erick Aybar with more walks, fewer steals.
The pessimistic projection: Glove ends up stretched at short, swing gets exposed by better breaking stuff, and two years from now he looks a lot like Matt Reynolds.
What to look for during the rest of the 2014 season: If the Mets loosen the reins and give Cecchini a taste of St. Lucie before the end of the season; how (if) his actions and instincts improve with more reps in pro ball.