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The highest ranked position player on this list, Cesar Puello is a high-ceiling prospect with a plethora of athletic tools.
In 2013, all of his tools finally translated onto the field, as he torched Double-A as one of the minor league’s most productive hitters. As a 22 year old in Binghamton prior to his suspension, Puello batted .326 with 16 home runs in just 91 games. He got off to a slow start in April, but had a monstrous June, earning the Eastern League Player of the Month. In June, Puello hit .441 with eight home runs, 24 RBIs, and an absurd 1.362 OPS.
There are questions about Puello’s connections to Biogenesis, affecting his prospect status. This connection brings up some questions about Puello’s character, but on the field he has always been a hard-nosed player. MetsMinorLeagueBlog.com’s Toby Hyde believes in Puello as a prospect, and cites how Puello is, “always willing to take a pitch and get his uniform dirty.”
Also, Puello’s problems as a prospect have never been about his athletic abilities, but his ability to translate those tools onto the field. Performance-enhancing drugs will not take away the holes in Puello’s swing, but in 2013 he showed that he made progress as a baseball player more than as an athlete, exhibiting how his improvement was less Biogenesis related.
Despite Puello’s tools and impressive 2013 season, many scouts still aren’t sold on Puello as a major league quality player. ESPN’s Keith Law has stated he is not a fan, believing that Puello is an extra outfielder at best.
Puello’s 2013 performance also hasn’t convinced the Mets. Baseball America’s Josh Norris wrote that “people within the Mets organization have told [him]… that they don’t really consider him a prospect.” It’s clear that Puello’s performance does not tell the whole story considering how scouts still don’t have faith in him.
With the Mets still likely to acquire a corner outfielder this offseason, if there is an injury to one of the starting outfielders or Juan Lagares’ bat disappears, along with Eric Young Jr. Puello is the organization’s best replacement option. With the tools he brings to the table, he could be an impact player at the big league level.