The rosters for the Eastern League All-Star game are going to be revealed later today, and it would be highway robbery if B-Mets outfielder Cesar Puello isn’t included. He’s among the league leaders in multiple offensive categories, posting a .338/.407/.616 line with 14 homers, 51 RBIs, 14 doubles, and 17 stolen bases.
Puello has been sidelined on a couple of separate occasions this month with minor injuries, but that hasn’t slowed his production when he does take the field. In 52 June at-bats, he’s hitting .481/.509/1.000 with seven homers and 20 RBIs. He’s virtually matched his power numbers from May (seven homers, 23 RBIs) in less than half the at-bats (114 ABs).
Despite what he’s done on the field, a team official told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that a promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas wasn’t imminent for Puello. Why is that? This is the first season the outfielder has seemingly put everything together and is finally performing the way scouts had projected him to. So, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I would assume the Mets executives are thinking.
Also, it would be tough to give Puello regular playing time with a crowded outfield for the 51s that already includes Mike Baxter, Jamie Hoffmann, Brian Bixler, and Eric Campbell. That doesn’t include the rehabbing Matt den Dekker, who is currently with St. Lucie, and will eventually make his way to Triple-A, as well.
Is Puello deserving of a promotion? If his numbers don’t say so, then I don’t know what else would. Despite that, I agree with the organization’s logic behind keeping him in Double-A for the time being. They’ve been waiting for him to use all of his tools at one time since he began his professional career in 2008. It wouldn’t make sense to promote him if there is a chance he wouldn’t get regular playing time.
Now, if you ask me, his development should be more important than getting playing time for players like Hoffmann and Bixler, but that’s besides the point. If Puello continues raking after the All-Star game like he has recently, I think the Mets should consider promoting him straight to the big leagues. New York has been taking it slow with promoting their prospects recently, but if Sandy Alderson isn’t able to get an outfield bat before the trade deadline next month and the outfield still isn’t performing, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with giving Puello a taste of the majors before the 2013 season is finished.
(photos courtesy of Gordon Donovan)