In the draft, we hear all about tools. There’s hitting, power, speed, defense, and arm. Whenever you hear a scouting report on any player, you’ll hear about his tools. But baseball isn’t all about tools. It isn’t just about the physical aspect. There’s a mental part of baseball and without mental toughness, even the best talents can crumble. And for some players, they turn the mental part into a weapon, a 6th tool that can’t be quantified. Mets 2012 first round pick Gavin Cecchini is one of those players.
Cecchini has the tools. A 6’2″, 185 shortstop coming out of Barbe High School in Louisiana, Cecchini possesses a smooth, compact swing and is proficient at making contact and lacing line drives all over the field. His plate discipline is excellent for a high school product. Cecchini also has shown flashes of raw power that could become more sustained when he fills out a little bit. Cecchini’s speed is above-average and he takes advantage of that to steal bases and it’s just one part of his great defensive ability at shortstop. He has soft hands and displays fluid actions to go along with his above-average arm, giving him everything he needs to not only remain at shortstop but become an above-average defender. Cecchini displays four above-average tools with the power possibly on its way, and he has the ability to be an above-average all-around shortstop.
Gavin Cecchini’s baseball IQ is off the charts. Cecchini’s parents are both high school baseball coaches and the game of baseball has been a part of his life since the very beginning. They brought up Gavin and his older brother Garin Cecchini, the Red Sox’ 4th round pick in 2010, to not just make use of their natural abilities but to play smart baseball that allows them to take advantage of their opportunities and to impact their teammates with leadership. Cecchini has developed instincts that are about as good as you’ll ever see. He already has above-average speed but could be a 30-35 stolen base threat at a high success rate because he is excellent at reading pitches. He alertly takes extra bases and has a great sense of when to advance and when not to. But Cecchini’s instincts are even more special defensively. He has an excellent sense of how plays develop and things come naturally to him that take other young shortstops years to perfect. He has a sixth sense about when he should charge a groundball towards the mound and when and how far out he should go out into the outfield to catch a pop-up. When the ball is hit to the wall or one of the gaps, Cecchini instinctually goes to where he deems is the perfect cutoff spot and seems to always be right. Cecchini’s instincts give him a huge advantage over most players coming out of high school and give him an asset and one less thing to worry about in his development.
Cecchini has a vibrant personality but is naturally humble. He is just as enthusiastic abut the success of his teammates as he is about his own achievements. He’s a leader who prefers to lead by example but has the capacity to be vocal if that’s what the team needs. So many players coming out of high school have attitude problems. Cecchini is the polar opposite.
Cecchini is a very good prospect no matter how you slice it. His tools stand out and his intangibles just make him ever better. Cecchini has the ability to be a shortstop who hits for a good average, gets on base, steals 30+ bases, contributes double-digit homer power if not better, and plays outstanding and intelligent defense. Hard to ask for much more than that. Cecchini can’t be an explosive Jose Reyes-type player. But his all-around game has the potential to be nearly as good for this team. Cecchini provides a steady presence at shortstop but also makes everyone around him better. The Mets entered the draft without a clear shortstop of the future. They have found just that in Cecchini. And by the way, it felt right to see Cecchini wearing a Mets uniform on Draft Night.