On The Rise: Cesar Puello

By Andrew Battifarano

Many this season have called the Mets outfield the worst in all of baseball. With Marlon Byrd putting up the best numbers this season (Eric Young, Jr. has too small a sample size), one would have a hard time arguing against it. While many fans are clamoring for a possible trade deadline pickup or free agent signing in the off-season such as Shin-Soo Choo, there may be hope in the farm system from Cesar Puello. Despite controversy this season, Puello has been tremendous for Double A Binghamton.

Mar 7, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; New York Mets right fielder

Cesar Puello

(67) connects for a base hit against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. The Mets defeated the Marlins 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The young outfielder signed with the Mets in the summer of 2007 and has done a solid job in the Minor Leagues since being in the organization. While his .260 batting average, .328 OBP and .751 OPS last season in St. Lucie might not jump out at you, he did make headlines during the off-season and earlier this year again. In the same report that linked Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez to the Biogenesis Clinic in Miami, Puello was also named and was thought to maybe be facing a possible suspension at some point.

While many figured this scandal would be a huge burden on the young Puello, he has not shown it at all in his performance  and has actually made a tremendous leap this year with the Binghamton Mets. Unlike last year, his numbers are off of the charts. Thus far in 63 games, he’s batting a tremendous .331 with 15 homers and 55 RBI. He also has an amazing .395 OBP and .602 slugging percentage this season.

Even with all of the news surrounding a possible suspension during the past month, Puello did nothing but rake at the plate during the month of June. During the third month of the season he hit .441, while clubbing right homers and driving in 24 runs. His numbers against lefties are outstanding as well, hitting .458 and having an OBP of .508 against the southpaws. On June 10th he was named Eastern League Player of the week.  To go along with his terrific numbers at the plate, he’s also stolen 18 bases in 22 attempts so far.

While many people point to the Dodgers’ phenom Yasiel Puig excelling after not spending time in Triple A, it may prove beneficial to keep Puello in the minors until he is truly seasoned. Especially since his walk rate isn’t exceedingly high, and his strikeouts are already at 55 for the year, developing patience is key at the big league level and rushing a guy who is a free swinger might not be the best idea. Although Puello might not be called up until September next season, he might be part of the long-term outfield solution. Coupled with a few moves from outside the organization, the outfield could be looking strong sooner rather than later.