MMN Top Mets Prospects 20-18: Cecchini’s Stock Falls, Thompson’s Rises

By Joseph Hill

January 18, 2018 11 Comments

This is the sixth installment of the Mets 2018 top 50 prospects here at Mets Minors. This list was created by all of the writers at MMN expressing their opinions of the prospects we include as well as countless others that didn’t make the list. Links to previous lists can be found at the end.

#20 3B David Thompson

Ht: 6’0″  Wt: 210 lbs   2017 Level: Binghamton Rumble Ponies

B/T: R/R   Age: 8/28/93 (24)   Age Dif: -1.2

Acquired: 4th Round of the 2015 Draft from University of Miami

2017 MiLB Stats: 133 G, 529 PA, 62 R, 125 H, 29 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR, 68 RBI, 8 SB, 6 CS, 40 BB, 92 SO, .263/.325/.429

There was reason for excitement surrounding Thompson’s bat when he was drafted, as he set the single-season home run record in his high school’s history, and he was projected as potentially being a 30+ home run hitter in the Majors. His performance has been respectable but underwhelming in that respect, in that he looks more like a future 10-15 home run hitter. He improved both his walk rate and strikeout rate in 2017, but his power failed to make any significant leaps despite transitioning out of the tough pitchers’ league in High-A.

Being 24 years old already and having already accrued 1300 minor league plate appearances, it’s unlikely that he will ever fulfill his original projections, but 2018 will be a critical year to see if he’s reached his full potential, or if he can use his large frame to tap into the power he was projected to have. He has good contact skills and doesn’t strike out much, but he also doesn’t walk much, so he’s going to have to add a little more power if he wants to become a Major League third baseman.

Defensively, he has about a 45-50 grade arm and has made strides over time in becoming more steady at third. It will be interesting to see if he can make use of the notoriously hitter-friendly Cashman Field in 2018 to make any big strides with the bat.

#19 2B Gavin Cecchini

Ht: 6’2″  Wt: 196 lbs   2017 Level: Las Vegas 51s/New York Mets

B/T: R/R   Age: 12/22/93 (24)   Age Dif: -3.4

Acquired: 1st Round of 2012 Draft from Alfred M. Barbe High School

2017 MiLB Stats: 110 G, 497 PA, 68 R, 121 H, 27 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 5 SB, 4 CS, 40 BB, 61 SO, .267/.329/.380

The former 1st round pick, picked in the same draft as young star shortstops Corey Seager and Carlos Correa, has had a relatively disappointing career thus far. He was originally seen as having a very well-rounded profile, with soft hands, good instincts and a strong arm at shortstop while hitting for contact and developing more power as his frame filled out. Cecchini had very underwhelming offensive numbers in the lower levels of the minors while being so-so defensively due his lack of refined footwork and wild arm.

He had a breakout year in 2015 when he won the Eastern League batting title while hitting .317/.377/.442. He did, however, still make too many errors at short, with 28 that year up from his previous career high of 27 the year before. He continued to combine great contact skills with a fine walk rate and respectable power into 2016 in Triple-A, where he had a career-high .838 OPS and struck out only seven more times than he walked. Still, he made way too many errors (a whopping 33) and overall looked uncomfortable at the position, thus prompting a move to second.

While he made a nice transition to playing second base, his offense took a step back, with just a .709 OPS in Las Vegas and a .529 OPS in 82 Major League plate appearances, and the Mets’ limited use of him off the bench despite being completely out of the playoff picture indicates that they may have given up on him. I personally believe they were too quick to give up on him, but it’s true that there are still questions about his defense despite looking solid at second and his fairly limited offensive upside profiles better for a shortstop than a second baseman.

Still, former 1st round picks should at least get a good look in the Majors, and the playing time Cecchini received was very sporadic and inconsistent, which is something that can mess with a young player’s head and hinder his development. He may have had a down year in Triple-A, but his potential cannot be solely based on those numbers alone, as he has shown the ability to hit for strong gap power in the past and seems to have his head on straight in the field now. He’s a strong bounce-back candidate for 2018, as now that he has gotten comfortable to his new position, it will be helpful to spend a year in Vegas and focus on getting his swing back. He wouldn’t have just been drafted in the first round for no reason.

It’s easy to have doubt in Cecchini, and 2018 will be a big year to see if he can blossom into a major leaguer. I wouldn’t call him a bust yet, but with a choppy swing, shaky defense and mixed minor league numbers, his future with the Mets looks a little misty. In fact, with the Mets’ recent signing of Adrian Gonzalez, they will have to clear a 40-man roster spot, and Cecchini is one of the prime candidates to possibly be cut.

#18 RHP Jordan Humphreys

Ht: 6’2″  Wt: 223 lbs   2017 Level: Columbia Fireflies/St. Lucie Mets

B/T: R/R   Age: 6/11/96 (21)   Age Dif: -0.9

Acquired: 18th Round of the 2015 Draft from Crystal River High School

2017 MiLB Stats: 10-1, 1.79 ERA, 0.868 WHIP, 13 G, 13 GS, 80.2 IP,  12 BB, 83 K, 1.3 BB/9, 9.3 K/9

The 18th round pick has surprised in his brief minor league career, putting up eye-popping numbers in terms of striking out a lot of guys and limiting walks, hits, and home runs. His best pitch is his fastball, which is not overpowering, but he throws it consistently for strikes around 90-92 mph and has used it to produce a surprisingly high amount of swings and misses in the minors. He also has a changeup and a curveball, both of which are still works in progress but have been improving over time.

Despite the fantastic numbers Humphreys has put up, his stuff is more indicative of a future back-end starter at the Major League level. His command, intelligence and work ethic have all been praised by scouts though, things which could help him to continue to have good results even if the arsenal of his stuff isn’t as impressive as other top pitching prospects. It also helps that he has a naturally athletic build. If he can refine his offspeed stuff and his breaking pitch even more, he could eventually turn into a very good starter.

Unfortunately, Humphreys was injured midseason and had to undergo Tommy John surgery in late August, therefore he will likely miss most or all of the 2018 season. It’s an unfortunate bump in what had been an impressively quick development, but he’s still young and it’ll be interesting to see how he rebounds when he eventually comes back.

With his work ethic that has been described as “unbelievable” by one scout, he’s someone who should do a good job of handling the mental repercussions of a long-term injury; it’s really just about how much the injury affects his throwing motion and his stuff. Had Humphreys not been injured, we likely would have ranked him higher on this list, but skepticism on whether he will be able to bounce back bumped him back a few spots.

Previous Rankings:

50-41 Led by Jacob Rhame

40-36 Led by Wagner Lagrange

35-31 Led by Gregory Guerrero

30-26 Led by Juan Uriarte

25-21 Led by Adonis Uceta

  • Ernest Dove Jr.

    I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face…… I see David Thompson as a major league baseball player. Thank you……. 😉

  • LongTimeFan1

    Totally agree.

    A lot of the writers on are rather young/inexperienced in making player assessments and end up stating the ridiculous, like Thompson won’t have big league power in light of his minor league performance, now 24 years of age,

    In my view which is based on 50 years of being avid MLB fan – Thompson has power potential, 20-30 Hr, and to be solid starting big league third baseman. After changing his stance in June or July last season, the power began in earnest.

  • Jason Mercado

    I think i see it too. They were a bit harsh on him. He had a good season and improved his power numbers from the previous season. Maybe won’t be 30+ HR hitter people expected when he was in HS, i think its not out of question for him to have 20-25 Hr seasons. He’s not a perfect prospect, maybe not a star but i see him as a regular on a Major league team.

  • Jason Mercado

    Shame Humpreys got hurt, was putting up some good number and wanted to see how that translated to next level since he doesn’t have blow away stuff.

  • Ernest Dove Jr.

    All I can do personally regarding Thompson is go off me sitting first row 3b line watching him two years ago play multiple games for Lucie.
    My 2 cent eyeball test is always in a sense worth exactly that but it’s what I’m going on.
    I formed an opinion that Thompson and Kaczmarski look the part of grinder type major league baseball players who will hit where ball needs to be hit in given situation.
    Could mean their stars or guys who accumulate what amounts to a cup of coffee once at the level but again I think he and they have that chance.

  • Nessim Toledano

    Yes, it is. The bigger shame is how d@m—ed many pitchers were hurt last year, either getting hurt 2017 or recovering from major surgery the year before. We won’t be seeing him or Szapucki in 2018. Also don’t know what the status is for a large handful of others pitchers who ended the season on the DL.

  • Nessim Toledano

    Puzzled as to how you project Thompson for just 10-15 HR power when, aside from his slow start in April, he 15 last year in just 390 ABs over the last four months of 2017.
    As for his “big frame”, when I saw him last spring, I was surprised at how skinny he was. Considering how well he had driven the ball in 2016, (34 doubles to go with his 11 HRs on just 430 ABs), I was expecting him to be bigger. Its easy for me to see hhim filling out and increasing his power increasing over the next couple of years.
    I’m also curious as to how no mention is made of Thomson’s progress in the AZ Fall league, while every article or item about Kevin Kaczmarski raves about his even though Thompson actually posted better slash numbers, overall, than KKacz.

  • Nessim Toledano

    I think we should all but throw out Gavin Cecchini’s two good years at the plate as they came with unusually high (and therefore unsustainable) BABIPs that were above .360. Outside of those two years, Cecchini has underachieved both at the plate, and in the field.
    Fan perception is highly colored by the fact that he was taken in the first round, and he gets a lot of love merely because of that, despite the fact that scouting reports at the time suggested that he’d been taken too early.
    But that was six seasons ago, and his first round pick status should have no relevance by now. He’s not a first-round pick anymore, he’s a 7th year minor leaguer. And thats how he should be viewed. Performance, at this point, needs to take precedence over age-old projections. He deserves [only] as much major league playing time as his performance earns him. And his performance last year did not deserve much. He was over-matched at the plate, unsure of himself in the field, and barely able to make the throw when turning the DP at second.
    While you would posit that more playing time would help him get over these thigs, its just as plausible that putting him on the field and into situations for which he is not [yet] equipped to succeed could have done more damage to his psyche than not playing. He got the playing time that was warranted, given his situation and skill set, regardless of the Mets non-contender status. He’s lucky to still be on the 40-man roster, IMO, and being a former first-rounder might just be the only thing keeping him there.

  • LongTimeFan1

    Well said.

  • Jason Mercado

    Nothing has really stood out about him even when he was drafted scouting reports said there was no real high level tool just that he will be a steady hitter and glove. He’s shown neither, he should be off the 40 man roster. Rather have Guillorme on the main roster than him bc of his glove.

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