7. Gavin Cecchini, SS
Height: 6'2”, Weight: 200 lbs.
DOB: 12/22/1993 (22)
Acquired: 1st round, 2012 Draft (Alfred M. Barbe High School, Louisiana)
2016: Las Vegas (Triple-A): 117 G, 499 PA, .325/.390/.448, 8 HR, 4/5 SB, 11.0 strikeout rate, 9.6 walk rate / New York (MLB): 4 G, 7 PA, .333/.429/.667, 0 HR, 0/0 SB, 28.6 strikeout rate, 0.0 walk rate
Cecchini continued stinging the ball, following up on a 2015 that saw him hitting .317 with the Binghamton Mets with a .325 batting average with the Las Vegas 51s, good for third highest in the league behind teammates T.J. Rivera and Brandon Nimmo. His walk rate and slugging percentage stayed roughly static, and it’s problematic that he didn’t for more power in the Pacific Coast League. Thanks to batting mechanics that do not generate much force, the 22-year-old remains primarily a one-dimensional contact-oriented hitter, possessing gap power and the ability to send mistakes over the fences. While the ability to hit for average is admirable, having few secondary baseball tools to do more with it limits Cecchini’s value.
Also hurting his value is the fact that the Mets have not done more to transition him to second base, as it is very apparent that he is not a shortstop. Cecchini has soft hands and generally has no problem with the advanced footwork of the position, but thanks to a below-average arm and sub-par range, he is forced to rush his footwork, glove work, and throws, leading to the comically-high error totals that have plagued him over the last few seasons. The 22-year-old should be much better suited to second base, where those limitations should stop hurting him.
The only reason Gavin Cecchini remains a prospect is because he makes a lot of contact. That’s not a bad foundation to work with, but the problem is that he doesn’t hit for power and he’s bad at playing shortstop. We don’t know how he will handle second base—his almost-certain future position. The thinking is that his throwing issues will be hidden at second, but I’m not convinced. His issues go beyond throwing. The arm is the worst part of his defense, but everything else, from actions to hands to footwork, is all fringy. There’s still hope the bat can develop well enough to paper over the defense, but this ranking is far too aggressive in my opinion.
Cecchini can probably hit major league pitching a bit, and he also draws a decent share of walks. However, the power is middling at best and the defense is horrendously bad at shortstop. This leaves you with, optimistically, an okay second baseman that can get on base at the top of the lineup. More likely, Cecchini becomes the next Wilmer Flores, roving around the infield in a utility role and making you cringe when he plays short.
Sometimes I’ll see Gavin Cecchini, look at the batting average and peripherals, and say, “I’m underrating this guy a little bit.” Other times, I’ll see Gavin Cecchini, look at the lack of power and underwhelming defensive profile, and say, “I’m overrating this guy a little bit.” At the end of the day, I am confident enough in his ability to make contact and his theoretical ability to play second base—a position the Mets still refuse to transition him to. The ceiling isn’t that high, but the floor appears high enough to be a useful major league contributor in some capacity.