Puello, who turned 22 this spring, was born La Romana, Dominican Republic. Cesar was part of that heralded 2007 international signing class for the Mets which featured Wilmer Flores, Jenrry Mejia, Jefry Marte, Jeurys Familia, Jordany Valdespin amongst others. After the signing, a Latin American director told Baseball America:
“He’s the real deal. He’s got some real good tools. He hasn’t shown home run power, but he can hit them a long way. You look at him and you don’t think he can run because he looks like a smaller version of Carlos Lee, but he can run. He has the most tools to make an impact in the system.”
On the diamond, scouts drool over Puello’s tools. He’s got incredible raw power; some scouts have put a 70 grade on it. He’s got good speed (25 SB in 2013). Defensively, Puello currently grades out as an average corner outfielder, but can improve with better reads and routes to the ball. Cesar has a plus arm that will play well in right field at the next level. The biggest question is his hit tool. Puello has seen great improvement since reworking his swing mechanics a couple years ago, but all the mechanical adjustments in the world can’t fix your approach. Cesar has a hard time recognizing breaking balls, and it’s lead some prospect experts to question whether he’ll ever hit enough to become an everyday player in the majors.
Cesar is a tantalizing talent and a polarizing prospect. Some think he can be a very good player at the next level. Others think his bad approach will sink him. I’ve seen Cesar live a few times, and I don’t know what to make. Sometimes, I see a player with talent across the board. When he gets his pitch he crushes it. However, he can look awful versus a good breaking ball– and the pitchers in the majors tend to have those in their arsenals.
To add to the controversy, Puello was linked this offseason to Biogenesis scandal that is currently rocking baseball. It has already cost Ryan Braun his season, and may cost Alex Rodriguez his career. How will it play out for Cesar Puello? Who knows, but it only provides more ammunition for his detractors.