Las Vegas, Nevada —— Entering play on Friday night, New York Mets middle infield prospect Gavin Cecchini is slashing .264/.323/.375/.698 over 105 games this year for the Pacific Coast League‘s Las Vegas 51s, with 26 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 36 walks, and 59 strikeouts. I’ve observed the Louisiana native and Mets top prospect several times this year; below is Baseball Census‘ full Gavin Cecchini scouting report, including several videos.
Gavin Cecchini Scouting Report — Video
Our most recent video of New York Mets middle infield prospect Gavin Cecchini shows his at-bats across an early August series against the Oklahoma City Dodgers, taken from several different angles and locations on the field:
We also have more Gavin Cecchini video, taken earlier in the season back in late April when he was again with the Las Vegas 51s:
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Gavin Cecchini Scouting Report — Notes
A very good overall athlete, Gavin Cecchini would be able to handle shortstop in most organizations, whether on an everyday basis or as a platoon player, but with the New York Mets (and Amed Rosario now in the big leagues), Cecchini’s future is that of a utility infielder or a second baseman if he can hit enough. The son of a high school coach in Louisiana and with a brother in professional baseball, too, Cecchini is hard-nosed, intense player who hustles hard on defense and couples it with actionable tools: an above-average arm, good footwork in the field, and soft hands that allow him to make plays, specifically to his backhand side where he can then flash enough arm strength (at any infield position) to make it work. I’m probably more bullish on his defensive skills than most, but I think Cecchini has the wherewithal to be a significant infield contributor at any position in the big leagues in the future, and could hold down an everyday role defensively so long as his bat develops enough to warrant it.
The bat, then, is the question mark for me. Gavin Cecchini enjoyed a massive 2016 in Las Vegas (.325/.390/.448/.838), in which he finished third in the Pacific Coast League in hitting, but he’s come back down to earth this year, and he’ll forever be well below-average in his power profile. He need not hit for power, of course, but an improved hit tool would go a long way to securing Cecchini an everyday big league role. As it stands now, the infielder shows off good contact skills and a gap-to-gap line drive approach, with a very pronounced ability to keep his head down and swing with a bat plane that stays in the zone a very long time,in a way similar to Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado. He struggles against premium off-speed pitches, though, and too often failed to hit the ball with authority this year in Las Vegas, failing to adjust to league pitching after his massive 2016. Nevertheless, a career .282 hitter in the minor leagues (and .300 in the big leagues, though in just 20 at-bats), Cecchini must prove his approach can work long-term against big league pitching to warrant an everyday second base role to complement Rosario at short in New York City.
Gavin Cecchini Scouting Report — Projection
Still just 23 years old and already with (little) experience in parts of two big league seasons, Gavin Cecchini has grown in the upper minors and the big leagues well, even despite a down year in 2017 with the 51s. He’ll fight for the second base job come spring training in 2018, but I think it’s most likely he winds up a utility man who can play short, second, third (hell, even first) with ease, transitioning between them as a bench option. He’s an above-average big league defender right now, and anything he gives with the bat will help, though I’m not bullish he will produce as much offensive firepower again as he did in 2016 in the notoriously hitter-friendly PCL. So long as his contact skills remain in the big leagues as they have in Vegas, though, he should do enough to keep a roster spot.
All that said, the New York Mets have themselves a classic coach’s kid: intense, hard-working, team-first and smart on the field with good situational awareness. All those intangibles should help Gavin Cecchini max out his ability and help his skills play up into what could be a long, productive big league career no matter the role. Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith will command much of the attention in New York in 2018, and for good reason, but the development of a more nuanced athlete like Cecchini as a catch-all utility man (or even an everyday second baseman) will go a long way to help determine whether the Mets are truly deep enough to compete long-term.