Preseason AA ranking: 10
2015 stats: .305/.368/.440; 8.8% walk rate; 10.2% strikeout rate
Season to date
No hitting prospect outside of Michael Conforto has done more to raise his prospect status this season than Gavin Cecchini. He burst out of the gate in April, hitting .333/.404/.524 and then consolidated those gains in May by hitting .315/.364/.459. After struggling to the tune of .208/.260/.302 in June, Cecchini has gotten hot again in July hitting .406/.494/.551. His 23 errors have dampened his season in some eyes but didn't stop him from being named to the Eastern League All-Star team.
Why he ranks here
Have I mentioned that Cecchini plays shortstop? Yes, the errors are certainly a concern, and you can watch most of them here (h/t @astromets), but most of his issues are correctable in my view. He rushes transfers, double clutches, and occasionally has poor footwork, all of which can be ironed out in time. Whether or not you think Cecchini can stick at short will probably come down to how you feel about his arm. He certainly doesn't have a cannon out there but I would describe the arm as average and though it does make the whole package fringy, I think it can play if he hits. And I do think he will hit. Cecchini has played three seasons in the minors and it seems he comes to each season with a new batting stance. Gone is the leg kick of 2014, replaced by a wider stance and a toe tap. The results thus far have been fewer strikeouts and more power, so hopefully this stance sticks around for a while. I would be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about his ability to stick at short, and a move to second would certainly hurt his value, but I think the bat will be able to carry him and put him in the majors come this time next year.
Here's Jeff on the bat from earlier this year:
"On the offensive side there is some stuff to like here. He has eliminated the high leg kick he used for much of last season. He now uses a very wide, open stance at the plate with a toe tap to close and start his swing. This does mute some of the gap power he was showing with the leg kick last season, but I think it gives him a better chance to adjust to off-speed stuff. It also helps keep his backside from collapsing and the swing plane level. There's still good bat control there as well. I think he will hit some."
And here's Jeff on the glove:
"His instincts and actions are fine, not special, but polished enough. He knows what he is doing out there. He isn't even an average runner anymore, which is an issue. My primary concern is the arm. It's just not strong enough to make all the throws you need to make as a shortstop, and when Cecchini has to reach back for some extra oomph on a close play, he gets a little scattershot."