The Mets’ first-round selection (#12 overall) out of high school in 2012, Cecchini’s offense came around a bit in 2015, hitting .317 with an OPS of .819 for Double-A Binghamton, and it carried over into a strong 2016 season that saw him improve to a .325 average and .838 OPS for Triple-A Las Vegas before finishing up with 6 at-bats in New York. Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed is a good comparison body-and actions-wise. Like Ahmed, Cecchini has a pretty static setup and a deliberate stroke, but does have some fast-twitch strength through the wrists and forearms that lead to some carry into the gaps on his line-drives. He has almost no load, but is direct to the ball and keeps the barrel in the zone. He also makes consistent contact (11% K rate in 2016, down from 11.3% in 2015) and has a track record of getting on base (.390 OBP this year, up from .377 in 2015). However, while he does make good contact, the majority of his extra-base damage is done to the pull field and there is limited power projection overall, even though the wirey frame suggests he might fill out a bit.
So while he does have some offensive ingredients, his overall value takes a significant hit if he doesn’t stay at shortstop. He’s a fringe-average runner, but he’s by no means a baseclogger. He will look to take the extra base, but is not a basestealer. I think that he will maintain the good contact rate in the big leagues and still get on base at an above-average clip, but the separator will be the damage numbers, and whether or not he can maintain the type of extra base production he has shown the last two seasons. I don’t see a ton more power coming from him, so overall I believe he settles at below average in the power department.
Defensively he has plenty of room to improve after 33 errors at shortstop in 2016, up from 28 in 2015 and 27 in 2014. He has average range, but he really has his hands get stiff when on the move and he has deliberate, straightline actions overall. He does have some arm strength, and is a good athlete, but ultimately I see him fitting in more of an Infield-5/super-utility role and moving around rather than sticking as an everyday middle infielder.
Wherever he ends up defensively, the bat is going to be the carry tool for Cecchini–and while he may not be the immediate answer to second baseman Neil Walker departing via free agency or next in line when shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera’s production falls off, his offensive skills could really impact the Mets if he can ultimately move around defensively.