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Time To Call Up Gavin Cecchini

This may seem irrational. It’s most likely premature, but in reality, the Mets can’t keep languishing away with Jose Reyes at third base.  Last night should be the last straw. 

In the game, Reyes dropped a routine flyball that set the stage for the game tying rally. He got on base, and then he was caught between first and second on a pitch in the dirt. He got lucky that Cesar Hernandez hit him in the back. 

It’s at the point where Reyes can’t make routine baseball plays. He’s fighting it. He’s hitting .100/.182/.140. Those numbers are unfathomably low. It’s really difficult to justify playing him right now. 

He’s fortunate that Wilmer Flores is a platoon bat that can’t hit right-handed pitching. He’s also lucky that Flores is also a poor fielder. T.J. Rivera is also a poor fielder at third base. Rivera is also stuck in Triple-A until next week, and he doesn’t draw enough walks to play everyday. 

This leaves the Mets looking for out of the box options. Even if the Mets were to bring back Kelly Johnson, he still needs time to get ready for the season. 

The common refrain is for Amed Rosario. It’s still too soon for him. The Mets likely don’t want to call him up before the Super Two deadline. Moreover, he only has 51 plate appearances above Double-A.  He still needs more time. 

That leaves the Mets looking at Gavin Cecchini

The Mets 2012 first round draft pick has thrived in Triple-A. Entering last night’s game, he played 130 levels in Triple-A hitting .320/.389/.451 with 31 doubles, two triples, 10 homers, 62 RBI, and seven stolen bases. 

During Cecchini’s cup of coffee with the Mets last September, he showed he wasn’t intimidated playing in the majors. In four games, he was 2-6 with two doubles and two RBI. 

The issue with Cecchini is where does he play?  With his throwing issues and the rise of Rosario, he had been moved to second. The plan was also to have him work at and expose him to short and third this year. 

The early returns of Cecchini at second are good. He’s played well at the position, and he has started the season playing 12 errorless games. The issue is the Mets have a second baseman in Neil Walker

On that front, the Mets could move Walker to third base. Entering the season, Walker indicated he would be willing to play wherever the Mets needed him to play. (Anthony DiComo, mlb.com). Given Reyes’ play, Walker may be needed at third. 

The other option could be playing Cecchini at third. However, with so little time there, and the concerns over his past throwing errors, Cecchini is probably not the best bet for third. Then again, it’s hard to argue that the Mets have there right now is any better. 

Yes, this is a drastic move, but seeing Reyes play and with David Wright likely not close to returning, the Mets have little choice but to pursue the drastic measure. The choices now are really either continue playing Reyes, play a guy who can’t hit right-handed pitching, or roll the dice on a former first round pick. 

At a minimum, it’s hard to argue Cecchini would be any worse. In fact, if Cecchini were to go 1-5 every night while playing mediocre defense, he would be an immeasurable improvement over Reyes.  For that reason alone, it’s time to give Cecchini a chance. 

22 thoughts on “Time To Call Up Gavin Cecchini”

  1. Gothamist says:

    Love to see Gavin Cecchini up with the club and for good.
    Will 2017 be the year for Sandy’s #1’s to accumulate (Nimmo, Smith and Cecchini) and stay for good with the big club?
    How did Neil Walker take to all those reps, throws, bunts, pegs, double play simulations during Feb and March? … Was his back up to those drag bunts or did the club wish to wait to see how he responded to returning to second after his surgery.
    IMO while Cecchini, also not to qualify for another year of arbitration, plays at least fifty games at second as he continues to steal bases or work on that craft in practice, insure he has the skills to bunt, have far fewer errors playing second especially into the fatiquing scenario of playing everyday over two months, getting many reps at third– I would be very excited if he got that June callup and by April 2018 get the majority of the starts next year at second…. IMO, once he has a place in 2018, sufficient reps at 2nd with the Mets, has confidence to deal with possible throwing errors away from second only then I would slowly throw him in the fire occasionally at SS or third… If the Mets were not paying Neil Walker and in need of HRs every game to score then in that scenario having Cecchini get starts at second this June would be my preference… Should the 2016 30+ errors at SS be a distant memory by his call up?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      My thought process is you have to roll the dice somewhere. Cecchini is arguably ready whereas Rosario needs more time. Furthermore, Rosario is the bigger prospect, so you want to protect him from that Super Two status more.

      If the Mets built a better team, this isn’t a debate. Now? It is.

      1. Gothamist says:

        I agree on Rosario but Super Two for Cecchini for he will stay up for good?
        I do not think they have the horses yet to risk Cecchini having confidence issues and it is not just fielding. As you said TJ walks seldomly, Cecchini does and why not have him start drag bunting and being groomed for 2018 leadoff and for this year as a late inning pinch hitter / spark plug?
        He can hit for double power and if his batting average stays below .270 at LV would you want him to get on base via those BBs and adding bunting?

        Maybe I am fixated on bunting but in 13 games in LV one SH for the entire team, few SBs.

        Maybe speed, bunts, SB, SF is not the sabermetrics the orgsnization priortizes?

        Eith Evans, Reynolds, TJ playing third maybe drop Gavin to AA to get reps at third and work on OBP? No, that is crazy he just has 13 games at second base at LV.

        I as manager would have my goals pursued in AA and AAA and as prospects come up I would want them to fill roles, gaps, be late inning spark plugs, push veterans to do the same and be better all round players for years to come.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          I go with Cecchini because he’s hot, and he has the ceiling to be an everyday player at the major league level.

  2. Gothamist says:

    Speaking of the shift:

    TC saying that his approach to hitting is the same as every ABAT, to keep it simple and consistent :

    “Hit over the shift”

    or
    upper cut your swing from now on?

    Here is an alternative:

    “Moustakas, who was so out of sorts that he was sent to the minors last season, took a different approach. He tinkered with his stance, he bunts on occasion, and he is letting the pitch travel farther so that he can be in a better position to drive pitches to the left side.

    His turnaround has been stunning: Moustakas was batting .333 through Friday — sixth in the league and nearly 90 points above his career average. He has drastically cut down his strikeouts and raised his slugging percentage to .490.”

    Not an overwhelming sample but who knows who else takes this approach?

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/moustmi01.shtml

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/24/sports/baseball/for-hitters-in-baseball-facing-a-shift-can-mean-an-adjustment-or-not.html?_r=0

    Maybe there is more to TC’s approach?

    How many other approaches are out there?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Mets approach has been to drive the ball to where a player is capable of driving the ball.

      It’s why the Mets are focusing on Bruce pulling the ball and work with Duda on using the whole field.

  3. Gothamist says:

    Well, Bruce waited for two down the middle…
    With pitchers who hit their spots around the the corners of the strike zone … maybe there is an uppercut for those scenarios also?

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/yes-the-infield-shift-works-probably/

    Who am I to know?
    The Mets have a complete front office also.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/job-postings-kansas-city-royals-baseball-systems-developer-lead-developer/#more-231885

    Joe Maddon suggested a shift as TC’s bench coach almost twenty years ago, relied on it heavy in TB and now different story.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Maddon has always been an outside the box thinker

    1. metsdaddy says:

      $$$$$$

  4. Gothamist says:

    First time I can remember you talking about $.
    No other?
    Would Sandy have done it ?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      With the money issue, the Mets never would have interested enough to consider any other reasons.

  5. Gothamist says:

    So what are the variables that we should look for to have more optimism?
    Let us assume you have an overall annusl payroll number where they will address locking up the starters. Outside of that where can money be well spent?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Are you talking this year or next year? For this year, it is what it is.

  6. Gothamist says:

    From your viewpoint you can see my huge disappointment, wish for sale of the team and for the fans to get an owner or a group with much higher net worth but even yet higher to deal with current commitments, covenants and contracts expiring well after 2020.

    If Billy Martin was here I really would gladly care about his routines, watching the players develop as individuals and be like a realistic contemporary Oakland Athletic fan. I really want a new manager at this point. Kufos to TC for a job well done!

    In the next few decades Willets Point will be a very special destination in addition to the Mets being flush with cash flow.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I think Collins should be gone, and I have no love lost for the Wilpons

  7. Gothamist says:

    Agree.
    Should the NYT do a piece with the links I gave you?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Honestly, I’d never presume to tell someone else what to write.

  8. Gothamist says:

    Well, IMO fans and journalists in Boston, Chicago, LA would not let it get this far.
    Thanks

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I think you’re right there.

  9. Gothamist says:

    Well Sandy has been a double edged sword.

    He may have built upon Omar’s picks with a pipeline into the 2020s yet if we did not get him from the MLB office maybe the rescue would be a reality.

    I did root for them against Picard but I hurt myself in doing that, counterintuitive.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I think the Wilpons agreeing to take on Sandy had some impact with them staying on as owners, but I have no proof to substantiate that claim.

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