While the shortstop position at the big league level is a topic of discussion and uncertainty for 2014, the Mets have some young options in the lower level minors that make for a bright future. One is former first rounder, Gavin Cecchini, who recently completed his 2013 season with the Brooklyn Cyclones. The other his Amed Rosario, who Baseball America named the top prospect in the Appalachian League this year. So, who is New York’s shortstop of the future? The MMN staff debates:
Amed Rosario is the bigger catch here, who I have been prospect drunk about since Spring Training when I reported in about him. He is comparable to Troy Tulowitzki in potential bat. To make matters better about Rosario, Baseball America reported him the number one prospect in the Appy League, regardless of rather pedestrian numbers, calling him incredibly impressive. My coach in spring training said he reminded him of Juan Gonzalez, not a bad comparison to make in terms of production. Gavin Cecchini will be okay and all, just average across the board, with rather unimpressive tools versus Rosario. Average speed, Plus bat, below-average power, average fielding and arm constitute Cecchini’s tools, but Rosario has possible above-average tools across the board, with the potential to stay at short. If he continues to impress and sooner or later delivers on his promise, could be a top-10 prospect in all of baseball, but that’s a big if. No 18-year-old is safe, though. But, whatever team Rosario’s on, I will look for his name, and likely only his name. Verdict: Rosario
While Gavin is further along and had a good year in Low-A this past year in Brooklyn, it’s hard not to compare Cecchini and Rosario’s time with Kingsport. Here are the lines, without names attached: .246/.311/.330 and .241/.279/.358. The first line is Cecchini’s 2012, and the second is Rosario’s 2013 line with Kingsport. They both had a fairly similar amount of time with the K-Mets, but Cecchini flat out got on base more, but came away with 12 XBH, while Rosario 15 XBH, 3 of them being homers, 4 being triples. Neither of them seem particularly stolen base savvy, but…it looks like Rosario’s got more pop in his bat, which can be exciting.
Being named by Baseball America as the top prospect in the APL is a great accomplishment for Amed Rosario. At 17-years-old and playing with Kingsport, Rosario batted .241 with eight doubles, four triples, and three home runs in 212 at bats. I guess he was not intimidated at all in his first season playing pro baseball. That sounds like a great attribute to have especially being so young.
With Cecchini being two years older and having an extra year of pro baseball, I think it’s a touch choice. In his first pro season in 2012, Cecchini somewhat mimicked Rosario by hitting a combined .240 with nine doubles, two triples, and one home run in 196 at bats between Kingsport and Brooklyn. Having a full season with Brooklyn, he batted .273 with eight doubles in 194 at bats. Both play the same position and both have shown that they can handle playing at this level.
It’s a touch choice, but if I had to look at which I felt was better, I would have to go with Amed Rosario. Verdict: Rosario
Sorry Cecch, but you lose the upside battle here in a big way. Cecchini was always considered a safe pick — low risk, low reward. If all breaks right for him, he turns into an average MLB shortstop with below-average offensive talent — but if all breaks right for Rosario, he could be a perennial All-Star. Rosario plays solid defense — not as good as Cecchini, but scouts have raved about his instincts on the diamond and his reaction time to balls hit near him.
There are some who believe that Rosario could fix the holes in his swing and bulk enough to hit at a Troy Tulowitzki-esque level in the future. I do not know if I would go that far, but it is not hard to see a potential .280 hitter with 20 home runs and a handful of steals down the line with Rosario’s skillset. I’d sign up for that at shortstop anyday. Rosario’s the bigger gamble here, but I’ve got a good feeling about him. Verdict: Rosario
I agree with what Satish just said above me — when it comes to developing a player, an organization is hoping for a potential All-Star. With the raw tools Rosario has flashed since he joined the Mets, he provides that kind of upside. Since Cecchini is slightly older and ahead of Rosario in the pipeline, I think he’ll get a chance to prove himself in the big leagues first. However, when it comes to who I think will eventually stick up there, right now it would be Amed. Verdict: Rosario
Amed Rosario takes the victory in this week’s face-off, gaining four votes to Cecchini’s two. The debate isn’t over yet, though. Let us know in the comments section who you think will be the future shortstop of the New York Mets.