Last year and the year before, it wasn't until August 15th at the eleventh hour that top draft picks Brandon Nimmo and Matt Harvey signed their first professional contracts. Nimmo had the choice of signing with the Mets or going to the University of Arkansas, and Harvey could have returned for his senior year at the University of North Carolina.
This year, Gavin Cecchini had the choice between signing with the Mets and going to the University of Mississippi. He chose the former and signed a $2.3 million contract four days after getting picked. Cecchini was reportedly very happy to be picked by the Mets, saying, "This is who I wanted to be drafted by all along. There is not a better place to play baseball than New York."
The Cecchini family has already made their mark in pro baseball, as Garin, Gavin's older brother, was a fourth round draft pick by the Boston Red Sox two years ago.
Now that all the excitement has died down, it's time to take a look at the Alfred M. Barbe High school product under the microscope.
As a hitter, Cecchini is a contact guy, like most middle infielders, in particular, second baseman. Cecchini hit .415 with seven home runs, which would roughly translate to a .285 average and maybe 15 home runs in the big leagues. Cecchini doesn't look much like a guy who hits for power, but we could see occasional pop as he develops.
As a runner, Cecchini is interesting. With 32 stolen bases in 32 tries, it looks as if he is a potential leadoff hitter. However, his scouting report gives him "Above Average" on his speed.
If this is the case, then either Louisiana catchers are terrible when it comes to catching base stealers, or his scouting report is mistaken. Either way, Cecchini could find himself in the two spot of any lineup, considering both his bat and his speed.
In the field, Cecchini has been durable. He has the potential to stay a shortstop as he progresses, unlike former first rounder Reese Havens, and seems to have a solid skill set.
The only person I can think of who is better defensively is Carlos Correa, the number one pick, who only had one error in his senior year. But considering Cecchini is the Mets' shortstop of the future and Correa is the Astros' shortstop of the future, we'll just stick to that.
Another plus is that Cecchini has a very high baseball IQ probably from learning from his father, who coached Barbe's baseball team, and his brother. This is highly important, as shortstop is a position that only the smartest baseball players can play. With this, Cecchini could definitely stay at shortstop as he progresses through the minors.
All signs seem to point to a cameo in 2015, with 2016 being Cecchini's first full season. If this is the case, then the Mets had better start preparing him now if he wants to play with Nimmo, Harvey, Zach Wheeler and the other promising young Mets.
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