Could you imagine getting invited to workout at Citi Field as a high school senior, and meeting David Wright? Well, that’s what happened to shortstop Gavin Cecchini, who participated in a pre-draft workout in Flushing Friday afternoon. After speaking with Wright for about 15 minutes, New York’s franchise third baseman said that he hoped they would one day become teammates; he then proceeded to stay and watch the first no-hitter in Mets history.
“You don’t get to see too many no-hitters, and I was there to witness it for the very first time in the Mets’ history. It was unbelievable and the place was rocking, and it really was an awesome thing.”
It’s very possible that his experience with the crowd going nuts for Johan Santana helped solidify Cecchini’s belief that he wanted to be drafted by the Mets. Last year, New York went with a big high school bat in Brandon Nimmowith their 13th overall pick, and this year they went with the same idea as they took the young shortstop with the 12th pick in the draft.
Gavin, who’s brother, Garin Cecchini, is a prospect for the Boston Red Sox, said that this was the only team he wanted to be drafted by. When he was invited to Citi Field on Friday, he felt that he was already drafted by the Mets and part of the family by the way he was treated. Getting a tour of the stadium and chatting with current players, especially Wright, solidified his desire to be a Met. New York was drawn to Cecchini because of his offensive prowess (.413, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 31 SB for Barbe HS in Louisiana), but he is also a solid defensive shortstop. He was named co-MVP of the Under Armour All-America game and also played for USA’s gold medal team in the Junior Pan Am Championships.
Even though it looks as if Ruben Tejada will be the starting shortstop for the Mets in the immediate future, why did Sandy Alderson want to take Cecchini with their first pick? Well, he’s continuing the shift in the organization that he started last year after drafting Nimmo straight out of high school. Howver, the bigger reason seems to be that the Mets only have three middle infielders in their top-20 on MLB’s Prospect watch. Jordany Valdespin is one, who has spent some time on the Big League club, but has also played a lot of outfield recently. Another is Reese Havens, who hasn’t been able to stay healthy (170 games missed in four seasons), and the last is Danny Muno, who just got hit with a 50-game suspension for using banned substances. So, it makes sense for the Mets to take a chance and draft a high school shortstop to take the lead.
Paul DePodesta, VP of scouting and player development, said that they don’t draft specific players due to organizational needs, but if they can get their hands on any players that play in the middle of the diamond, they will do so. I think this is a great pick because even though it’s going against Omar Minaya’s idea to draft college players who are more developed; bringing in a shortstop out of high school gives him plenty of time to develop into what the organization thinks can be a solid Major Leaguer. What’s even better is that Cecchini is genuinely excited about being a New York Met, mostly because of his experience before and during the game at Citi Field on Friday.
After seeing the youth movement mature on the current Major League roster and to have prospects like Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler waiting in the wings to take spots in the rotation, the criticism that the Mets don’t know how to develop young players is completely wrong, and I’m excited to see Cecchini develop over the next few years.