The New York Mets selected high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini with the 12th overall pick of the 2012 MLB Draft.
Cecchini, an 18-year-old from Lake Charles, Louisiana, led Barbe High School to the Louisiana Class 5A State Championship in 2012 and was named Louisiana’s Gatorade Player of the Year.
He was named First Team All-State in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and was a Louisville Slugger All-American in 2011 and 2012.
Cecchini was also the MVP of the 2011 Under Armour All-American Game. Coincidentally, the Mets top pick last year, outfielder Brandon Nimmo, was the MVP of that All-American Game in 2010.
It's the second straight year the Mets have taken a prep bat with their first pick, and Gavin Cecchini looks to be a legitimate plus defender at shortstop, something that's not easy to find.
Some scouting reports on the 6'2, 175 lb Cecchini from around the web, as gathered by MetsMinorLeagueBlog's Toby Hyde:
The younger brother of Red Sox third baseman Garin, but a very different player. Gavin is smaller and more athletic, and a plus defensive shortstop who should stay at the position all the way up the ladder. He’s a plus runner as well, and has outstanding baseball instincts.
While Garin is arguably the best pure hitter in the Red Sox system, Gavin comes with questions about his bat. He has a smooth line drive stroke but little projection for power, so he’ll have to develop a good approach to find his secondary skills.
Pure shortstops in the draft are always a much-desired commodity, and Cecchini's name is in play for nearly every pick in the teens.
Baseball America on Cecchini:
Wiry at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Cecchini’s best attributes are his steadiness and defensive skills at shortstop. He has good hands and feet as well as the infield actions to stay at short, and excels at cutoff throws and being in the right spot defensively.
His arm strength is a tick above-average and unfailingly accurate. His speed is about the same and plays up like his arm–he’s a skilled baserunner who takes extra bases and steals bases intelligently.
Cecchini’s bat involves some projection, though. Some scouts believe he will be a bottom-of-the-order hitter despite his polished approach because of a lack of strength and impact bat speed.
Cecchini is one of the safer bets in the high school class due to his polish, but scouts are mixed on his true upside.
ESPN.com's Keith Law and Kiley McDaniel on Cecchini:
Cecchini, the younger brother of Red Sox farmhand, Garin, has a better chance to stay at shortstop than his brother did while sharing the same solid makeup and strong feel for the game.
Gavin Cecchini starts with a very wide base at the plate and gets wider as he strides — far wider than he did last summer — leaving himself somewhat off balance through contact, although closing his initial stance could mitigate this.
His swing is somewhat rotational with slight loft but not the kind that will produce big power; it’s not great bat speed but his hand-eye appears to be very strong, and getting him more balanced at the plate should improve his contact rates and doubles power with wood.
In the field, Cecchini has a plus arm with a very quick release, soft hands, and the agility to be an above-average defender at short in pro ball.
There’s a utility-player floor here that makes him somewhat safer than most high-school picks, but I’d be surprised if that’s all he turns out to be.
So, the Mets seem to have a pretty solid player here. He may not have a sky-high ceiling like other prospects, but he's got some skills you can't teach, and that should help him be a solid big leaguer someday.
Here's a video of Cecchini showing off that effortless glove at the 2011 Under Armour All-American game.
Hopefully he's the real deal. Mets fans shouldn't expect him in the big leagues any time soon, as he only turns 19 in December. Only time will tell if Gavin Cecchini is what the Mets hope he'll be.