Shortstop rankings are always fun.
- Gavin Cecchini
- Amed Rosario
- Milton Ramos
- Luis Guillorme
- Wilfredo Tovar
- Luis Carpio
In his age-20 season, Cecchini did enough in the first half in the South Atlantic League to earn a promotion to advanced-A coming out of the All-Star Break. There’s a big leaguer in here. He was bigger and stronger than he was in 2013, or 2012 the year he was drafted.
In 57 games with Savannah, he hit .259, with a .333 OBP and .408 SLG with three homers and followed that up with a .236 average, .325 on-base percentage and .352 slugging percentage with five home runs in 68 games in the Florida State League. While the overall lines aren’t that impressive, his underlying strikeout and walk rates are sharp.
Moreover, after struggling through July, he was very, very good in August: .286 AVG, .403 OBP and .459 SLG with 21 walks against 14 strikeouts, in 124 PA, over 30 games.
In all he popped eight home runs. He has a little bit of power, and given a full season, could get to 10-15, which from the short stop position, plays.
Cecchini’s range to his left and going up the middle is the strongest part of his defensive game, as he shows lots of range in that direction and handles those plays with flair. He’s more tentative going to his backhand in the hole between short and third. He has the feet/hands/arm to play short.
If his bat continues to develop, he’s going to be an above average big leaguer for a while. In any event, his defense and approach will get him there.
Cecchini will open 2015 in Double-A and could very well reach the big leagues by 2016.
There are scouts who think Rosario is just about the best prospect in the Mets’ system. Rosario played all of 2014 as an 18-year-old and will not turn 19 until November. He’s still a very slender 6’2”.
He’s starting to grow into his body, too. I thought he was moving smoother in the field in 2014 than he did when I saw him in Kingsport in 2013. At that, though, he did not have the blazing fast feet of Guillorme or his balance either. Still, there is enough to stay at shortstop for now.
Offensively, Rosario began to clean up a very busy swing, but he still has a long way to go. He must use his lower half better, and maintain a consistent hand path and trigger mechanism. These are big issues. At the plate, he’s shown that he’s very focused on shooting the ball the other way in games. In BP, he will show very impressive power given his age and size to his pull side, but he has not put that into games much.
To be fair, playing in the NYP at a year younger than Cecchini did in 2013, he put up numbers that were similar or better. Rosario hit .289 with a .337 OBP and .380 SLG in 68 games, playing against competition that was mostly two or three years his senior. Comparing their NYP seasons, Rosario struck out a little more and walked a little less, but hit for a little more power. Cecchini made himself better before his SAL debut in 2014. Now Rosario must do likewise.
|2013 - Cecchini||3.8||14.2||6.6||0.0||.319||.041|
|2014 - Rosario||5.9||16.2||5.9||0.3||.345||.090|
The Mets’ went a little overslot to sign Ramos for $750,000 in the third round of the 2014 draft. A high schooler with a reputation as a slick defender, with Cecchini/Rosario and Guillorme in front of him in the system, he began his career in the Gulf Coast League. He hit .241 with a .299 on-base percentage and a .355 slugging percentage in his first 51 professional games as a 19-year-old. While that doesn’t look like much, it compares well with both Cecchini and Rosario in their US professional debuts in the Appalachian League in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
With Rosario ticketed for Savannah in 2015, Ramos will have to settle for a short-season assignment, likely Brooklyn.
A little like Tovar in say, 2010, Guillorme is an absolute joy to watch flash the leather in low minors games. He has wonderfully fast, soft hands and balletic feet and body control. His arm is merely averagish. That’s already a problem, in the sense that he he can track down more balls in the hole than he can make a play on at first. Anyway, he’s a sublime defender who really seems to enjoy playing defense.
Playing almost everyday for Kingsport, Guillorme hit .282, posted a .337 OBP and a .324 SLG in 57 games, with 17 walks against 28 strikeouts and 10 doubles as his only extra-base hits. He’s a little, slight dude who has to put everything he has into his swing to send a line drive to the outfield. He was just six-for-10 stealing bases and is, at best, an average runner. It’s hard to see him hitting enough to play everyday in the big leagues, but his defensive ability will keep him employed through Double-A, for sure, and buy him a chance to prove that he can hit.
A torn ligament in his left thumb, sustained sliding into a base, took Tovar out of the Binghamton Mets lineiup from May 30 through July 27. When he was healthy, he put up a very Tovar year at the plate for Binghamton with plenty of contact, very few strikeouts and very little power, hitting .282 with a .345 OBP and .345 SLG in 78 games, with 21 walks against 22 strikeouts.
He’s a gifted defender, who made his way into two games with the Mets in September when they needed healthy bodies. Tovar turned 23 this past season and now owns a .267 average, .326 on-base percentage and .340 slugging percentage in almost 1,000 plate appearances in Double-A.
The Mets signed Carpio, who turned 17 (!) on July 11 for $300,000 in 2013. Assigned to the Dominican Summer League to begin his professional career, he hit .234 with a .347 OBP and .301 SLG with one home run and 12 stolen bases. At the time he signed, Ben Badler at Baseball America, who ranked him the No. 30 player on the international market, wrote that Carpio “is a good athlete who will start his career at shortstop but may end up at second base or center field. His hands are solid, but his footwork needs improvement, and he has a fringe-average arm.”
Sure enough, he played 33 games at second in 2014 and 26 at shortstop. That’s not a great sign that the Mets think he’s a shortstop long term.