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Yankees sign former Mets prospect Cesar Puello

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The Mets released the outfielder in August.

Chris McShane

Former top Mets prospect Cesar Puello has signed with the New York Yankees. Puello first signed with the Mets out of La Romana, Dominican Republic on July 2, 2007. The sixteen-year-old already possessed speed and a strong arm, and he boasted an athletic frame in which he could eventually grow into power.

He made his professional debut the following year with the Gulf Coast League Mets and was impressive. He hit .305/.350/.364 with one home run and thirteen stolen bases in 40 games and was named the 12th-best prospect in the league by Baseball America. The following year, Puello was promoted to the Kingsport Mets, and he once again put up impressive numbers. He hit .296/.373/.423 with five home runs and fifteen stolen bases in 49 games and was named the 9th-best prospect in the Appalachian League.

In 2010, Puello was promoted to the Savannah Sand Gnats, exposing him to his first taste of full-season ball. The nineteen-year-old continued to excel, batting .292/.375/.359 with one home run and forty-five stolen bases in 109 games. Scouts and talent evaluators took notice of his performance, and the right fielder was named the 77th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America.

Puello hit his first real roadblock in High-A St. Lucie. In 2011, his first season there, he hit an uninspiring .259/.313/.397. He repeated the level in 2012, and while he hit marginally better—.260/.328/.423—he was limited to 66 games, missing roughly a month due to injuries. After back-to-back seasons hampered by injuries, Puello broke out in a big way in 2013. Promoted to the Binghamton Mets to start the season, the twenty-two-year-old outfielder took the Eastern League by storm, hitting .326/.403/.547 with 16 home runs and 24 stolen bases, placing his name near the top of the leader boards in virtually every offensive category.

Unfortunately for Puello and the Mets, his season ended after 91 games, when he was suspended for 50 games as one of the players tied to the Biogenesis scandal. When Puello returned to the field in 2014 as a member of the Las Vegas 51s, he scuffled. Fighting rust and a concussion that caused him chronic problems through the year, he hit .252/.355/.393.

After failing to make the 25-man roster out of spring training in 2015, Puello originally cleared waivers and was outrighted off of the 40-man roster to Triple-A Las Vegas. Shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his back, a precursor to a stress fracture. As a result, the assignment was rescinded, he was added back to the 40-man roster, and he was placed on the disabled list. Puello spent most of the season there, nursing his back injury, and when he finally was able to get back on the field in a rehab assignment with the GCL Mets, was quickly shut down once again. On August 19, the organization released the 24-year-old.

Puello was in the Mets' organization for eight seasons, and he hit .282/.356/.415 with 44 home runs and 148 stolen bases during that period.