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Good or bad, 2018 will be a pivotal year for Gavin Cecchini

Will it be sink or swim for the former first-round pick?

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves
Gavin Cecchini
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Drafted 12th overall by the Mets in the 2012 MLB Draft, Gavin Cecchini’s seven-year professional career has been full of peaks and valleys. Even on draft day, he was a player who didn’t have standout tools, and in the years since, that lack of one or two specific strengths has hurt Cecchini’s development.

Over the years, Cecchini has changed his swing multiple times. His most recent swing is flat and level, emphasizing contact over power. Because he does not have much raw power to begin with, possessing gap power but not much more, Cecchini has become something of a BABIP-dependent contact-oriented hitter. While his ability to do damage at the plate is limited, he has more than a clue when he steps in the box, demonstrating excellent plate discipline, drawing a fair number of walks and rarely striking out.

Defensively, Cecchini is mostly limited to second base after initially being touted by many as a can’t miss shortstop when he was first drafted. He has soft hands, and in a vacuum has no problem with his glovework or footwork, but thanks to a below-average arm and sub-par range, he is forced to rush. When he does so, his footwork, glove work, and throws all suffer, resulting in errors.

Cecchini will begin the season the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, and 2018 will be a very important year in terms of his baseball future. His prospect pedigree as a former first round draftee has, until this point, kept him on the 40-man roster, but baseball is a results-oriented business. In 2016, he looked like a competent hitter. In 2017, at the same level in roughly the same amount of games, he took a step back in most offensive categories. Depending on his performance in 2018, the 24-year-old may renew his prospect bona fides, or he may get lumped in with other organizational filler going forward.