Appy League Review: Mets Prospects

With Kingsport being no more than 40-minutes away from Elizabethton, the Mets showed up 30-minutes before game time robbing me of a chance to see batting practice and infield/outfield. Nonetheless, I’m not sure it would have mattered as 2012 Mets first round pick Gavin Cecchini was penciled in the lineup as designated hitter and the rest of the starting lineup was short on prospects beyond diminutive second baseman Branden Kaupe. I also lucked into three innings of Akeel Morris, a relief pitcher rumored to have big velocity who fell apart early on as a starter before reeling off 16 innings of two earned run ball to end the season.

Gavin Cecchini: Not seeing him play shortstop certainly limits the look, but I’d be remiss to not mention his hit tool was better than I was expecting. From watching the video, it’s easy to see the swings weren’t pretty at times and pitch selection is still a work in progress. However, the couple of controlled swings he put on fastballs up in the zone both resulted in hard barrel contact. As his balance and weight shift improve, so should his pitch selection and consistency. Cecchini is unlikely to become an impact bat due to lack of power, but true shortstop prospects are difficult to come by so he does not have to be. In Savannah, I’ll receive a long look at him on defense and update the profile at that point.

Branden Kaupe: Jose Altuve was the first name to come to mind when seeing Kaupe take the field. The diminutive second baseman has similar quickness and thickness through the upper half. A switch hitter, the 18-year old has excellent bat speed from both sides of the plate and appeared to have an advanced understanding of how to work counts to his favor. He also showed 55 speed from the left side by running a 4.15 home-to-first time and could likely match that from the right side as well. Plus, he showed solid range at second base. With a .173/.358/.195 line in the Appalachian League, it would be easy to dismiss Kaupe. He’s a nice player though and a steal compared to the average fourth rounder I see in person.

Akeel Morris: Maybe the most perplexing arm in the lower levels of the system, Morris was considered a potential break through prospect entering the 2012 season. As a starter, he floundered finishing with a 12.90 ERA over six starts before being transitioned to the bullpen. As a reliever, his 1.13 ERA including a 27/10 K/BB ratio in 16 innings was a remarkable turnaround. In game action, Morris’ fastball was 90-93 MPH with improved command throughout the outing. The velocity was less than I was expecting and his max effort delivery, combined with a tendency to short arm the baseball definitely speaks to a bullpen profile. His breaking ball was a tight, 77 MPH curve which benefited from his short arm action. As a two-pitch reliever, he has some potential, but his days as a starter are likely over.

In all, the Kingsport roster was void of impact talent from the players I saw. Tomas Nido would have been a good “get”, but he was not in the starting lineup which was disappointing. With the Mets promoting at a much slower rate than under the previous regime, it might be 2014 before I have the opportunity to see this group again.



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Mike Newman is the Owner/Managing Editor ofROTOscouting, a subscription site focused on baseball scouting, baseball prospects and fantasy baseball. Follow me onTwitter. Likeus on Facebook.Subscribeto my YouTube Channel.


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Spike
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Spike
3 years 8 months ago

wait, Kaupe is a steal in the 4th round?? is that a joke? I mean, did any other team even have him on their top 500 lists?

BlackOps
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BlackOps
3 years 8 months ago

Who the fuck has access to any team’s top 500 list? If anyone out there does, let us all know.

Stinky
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Stinky
3 years 8 months ago

oh god. Kaupe had 2 XBHs in 173 PAs. One diminutive player makes an impact in the past 40 years and suddenly every 5’5″ player is the next Jose Altuve. oh jeez. there is a reason why Kaupe was so obscure and we saw it play out at K’port. This pick was about knowing he would sign under slot so the Mets could have some extra dough to try and throw at someone after rd 10. Let’s not pretend it’s something more.

Stinky
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Stinky
3 years 8 months ago

Mike:
Then it sounds like you are putting yourself out there and for that I admire you. Video of Kaupe looked like he is no more than 5’5″ and 155. If you saw him, what would you say he is?

Stinky
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Stinky
3 years 8 months ago

also let’s not act like Altuve is lighting the world on fire.

Stinky
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Stinky
3 years 8 months ago

I don’t know why it was “a little much” honestly. I think Altuve not lighting the world on fire is a fair statement. I don’t think it’s necessary or even appropriate to qualify every player eval at the ML level *by age group*. This is Altuve’s 2nd ML season and his OPS+ is 102 now I think after a mid 80’s OPS+ in 2011. He’s been a big story mostly for his diminutive size and for making the AS team this year as the lone Astro.

I’m not saying he’s awful. Not at all. I’m just saying that he’s not special (unless you’re his momma – ;-) ) but he certainly has room to grow.

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Guest
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3 years 8 months ago

Yeah that’s a pretty dumb comment. Whether or not he appeared on some stupid Top 500 list or not is irrelevant. Getting a potential contributor of any kind in Round 4 is no easy task.

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Guest
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3 years 8 months ago

BAs a Mets fan I didn’t care much for the Cecchini pick. I understand that league average (thats what he profiles as from what I’ve reas) shortstops are reasonably valuable and all but I would have preferred top take a high ceiling low floor guy with a first rounder. We’ve already got a guy in Tejada who offers that kind of production and he’s only 22. Our system seems to have enough guys who’s ceilings are that of bench or platoon guys. Depth guys are nice but what we lack are impact hitters. How did you feel about the pick, Mike?

yeahhhhh but
Guest
yeahhhhh but
3 years 8 months ago

youre not going to find an impact hitter in the 4th round.

yeahhhhh but
Guest
yeahhhhh but
3 years 8 months ago

sorry, embarassing mistake.
on second readthrough, i completely concur.

Sergio
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Sergio
3 years 8 months ago

Good write-up. Mets fans weren’t happy about either the Cecchini or Kaupe pick. Hawkins was the guy most of us wanted.

Ogre39666
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Ogre39666
3 years 8 months ago

From my experience, most wanted Lucas Giolito.

John
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John
3 years 8 months ago

Isn’t it good if you get one draft pick to the majors? Well if the Mets were able to get some solid picks later in the rounds, then I am okay with Cecchini because for a high school pick, he seems to have a low floor and signed for below slot, allowing for some more chances to be taken.

nycfellow
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nycfellow
3 years 8 months ago

Even though he struggled this past season, Kaupe has a quick enough bat to lift him out of hitting woes. Coupled that with a year of maturity, and kaupe should have a bounce back season in 2013.

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