Video: Mets Minor League Report Darrell Ceciliani

In his age 23 season, the injury-prone Ceciliani missed a week with a hamstring strain in August, but still played in a career-high 113 games for AA Binghamton where he hit .268/.322/.380 with 17 doubles, six triples and six homers, and a 6.3% walk rate and a 22.8% strikeout rate. He was also 31-of-38 (82%) stealing bases. The left-handed hitter split his time between centerfield (58 games) and left (48 games).

He hit .243/.304/.350 in 103 AB vs. lefties in 2013 and .276/.328/.390 in 315 against righties.

He does not profile offensively in an outfield corner at all. His only hope of starting everyday is in centerfield. Even there, he would struggle to put up a .300 on-base percentage in the big leagues as pitchers will exploit his aggressive approach. On the other hand, he runs well, and offers the ability to play center or left, but does not have the arm for right.

Ceciliani is most likely to stick as a fourth/fifth outfielder who can add speed/defense in LF off the bench and picks up some spot starts for a MLB team against right-handed pitching. He is Rule 5 eligible for the first time this winter (if you’re curious, the full list is available here) and I do not expect the Mets to add him to the 40-man roster this winter.

AA Tuesday: Thor Back on Track

AA: @ Binghamton Mets 6, Reading Fightin’ Phils 3

Syndergaard Stl HeadAfter a rough one last time out, Noah Syndergaard got back on track for Binghamton: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 WP. He threw 62.5% of his pitches for strikes (60 of 96) and induced five groundball outs against one in the air.

After the game, he told Lynn Worthy in the Press and Sun Bulletin:

“Those six days in between starts I really hounded on my mechanics and got back on my program and went out there every day with 110 percent mentality to get better. I didn’t like how my last start went, and I was going to do my best to change that. I feel like I did a pretty good job tonight. I was still a little erratic at times, but I think my mechanics were a lot better.”

Syndergaard is focused on becoming more efficient and keeping his pitch count down. Again, as told to Worthy:

“I think right now the struggle is going deep into counts, putting guys away once I get two strikes. I feel like a lot of the guys get at me when they start fouling pitches off. … I feel like I’ve got to work on putting guys away, but my curveball was pretty solid tonight so that’s always a plus.

You know what will help pick up some early count outs? A better changeup. Also, I have this theory that in the minors, the hard-throwing guys don’t work as many short counts because many batters do not want to swing at 94+ heat.

CF Darrell Ceciliani was 2-for-4 with a walk to extend his hitting streak to 16 straight games, the longest active streak in the AA Eastern League. In those 16 games, he’s hit .460/.507/.730 with eight extra-base hits, six walks and seven strikeouts. For the year, the 23-year-old is up to .294/.344/.430 in 85 games. At the start of his streak, while putting him “In the Team Photo” on their July 12 “Hot Sheet” Baseball America wrote that his run, began “to remind everybody why he has a chance to develop into a fourth outfielder. All the same, he’ll need to sharply reduce his strikeout rate (26 percent of plate appearances) to avoid becoming Kirk Nieuwenhuis 2.0.” At this writing, he’s fanned in 23.5% of his plate appearances, so yeah, that’s still an issue.

 

RHP Jeff Walters continued a really nice year out of the Binghamton ‘pen, getting out a bases-loaded jam in the eighth before working an uneventful ninth for his 27th save, one off the B-Mets’ team record. He’s fanned 46 and walked 12 in his 42.1 innings of work, while yielding just 33 hits. He’s a fastball slider guy who used to be 92-93, but has added velocity this year, and is getting to 94 regularly and touching higher. He will absolutely be a Mets’ bullpen candidate in the next year.

AA Wednesday: B-Mets Fall, but Cesar Puello Homers Again

AA: Trenton Thunder (NYY) 10, @ Binghamton Mets 6 

Ceciliani B-MetsThe Thunder scored six runs in the first two innings against Mark Cohoon, an advantage too great for the B-Mets to overcome. Cohoon’s ERA rose to 4.60 after a performance in which he gave up eight runs, six earned on 10 hits in five innings. That’s bad, but irrelevant to the Mets’ big league future.

Don’t worry, there was good, and again it came from the B-Mets’ outfield.

RF Cesar Puello was 2-for-4 with a homer, a walk and three RBI, his second straight game with a homerun. The 22-year-old is up to .316/.395/.571 with 13 walks against 42 strikeouts in 48 games. After a slow start, Puello has hit .327/.400/.605 with 21 extra-base hits, including nine homers, in his last 165 plate appearances in 39 games. Fun fact, he’s had just four PA all year against pitchers who are younger than he is. That is a monster month from one of the youngest players in the Eastern League. Despite what others say, at this point, I believe he’s a big leaguer. The question is what kind of big leaguer.

LF Darrell Ceciliani was 3-for-5 with a double to push his season line to .273/.324/.395 while going 14-for-15 stealing bases. He’s picked it up after a slow start and had a .786 OPS since May 1 entering Wednesday. That’s nice, but his only chance to be an everyday guy is to be a centerfielder and he’s mostly played in left.

Friday in AA: An Abbreviated Win

AA: @ Binghamton Mets 8, Harrisburg Senators 4 (6.5 innings)

Rain cut this one short after the B-Mets used a pair of early homers – from 2B Danny Muno and 1B Alan Dykstra to take an 8-1 lead after two innings.

The homer was the first of the year for Muno who’s hitting .212/.364/.327 in 34 games. He’s walked a lot (24 times) but has done little else with the bat.

CF Darrell Ceciliani was 3-for-3 with a triple, a walk and two RBI. Ceciliani played center while Alonzo Harris slipped over to left. Ceciliani, who is a year and a half younger than Harris, now has a season line of .242/.292/.359, giving him an OPS five points better than Harris’ .646.

Erik Goeddel (3-2, 5.45) picked up the win, but his line was messy: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, WP.

Saturday in AA: Puello Extends Hitting Streak; DC’s Big Day

AA: Binghamton Mets 8, @ Harrisburg Senators (WAS) 2 

Ceciliani B-MetsThe B-Mets gave Erik Goeddel plenty of support in this one, outhitting Harrisburg 11-3.

LF Darrell Ceciliani (.248/.299/.367 – 27 G) was 3-for-5 with a homer, a stolen base (his eighth) and three RBI to lead the way. After a slow start, the 22-year-old (pictured at right) has had a nice last 10 games (.310/.341/.500) with five extra-base hits, but just one walk and 13 strikeouts.

RF Cesar Puello was 1-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, tied for the longest active streak in the Eastern League. In those 11 games, Puello is hitting .317/.349/.537 as he’s up to .284/.342/.433 in 19 games this year. Could this be real? He has the tools. Watch the extra-base hits and the walk rate.

Goeddel (2-2, 5.16) was solid: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, but the three-man bullpen of Adam Kolarek, Josh Edgin and Jeff Walters was perfect. Walters has given up one run in 13.1 innings (0.68 ERA) with 12 strikeouts against three walks. He’s a darkhorse bullpen candidate even by later this summer.

Upper Levels Monday: How About the Top of the Binghamton Batting Order?

AAA: Las Vegas 51s 4, @ Fresno Grizzlies (SF) 3 

d'arnaud Vegas HeadSomething good: C Travis d’Arnaud (pictured): 1-3 with a double and a walk. That’s three doubles and six walks in four games in AAA so far.
Something bad: LHP Darin Gorski’s control. Gorski walked four and threw two wild pitches in five innings of work while throwing 55% of his pitches (43 of 78) for strikes. In his five innings of work, he allowed three runs, two earned, while striking out three. Gorski can succeed with velocity in the upper 80s. He can’t while throwing under 60% of his pitches strikes.
Something good: Josh Satin was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He doubled in a tie game in the ninth and scored the winning run on a Jamie Hoffman single.

 


AA: Binghamton Mets 7, @ Erie Seawolves (DET) 2

The top two hitters in the B-Mets’ order, DH Alonzo Harris and CF Darrell Ceciliani combined on five of the team’s eight hits. Harris was 3-for-5 with a double and a homer. The 24-year old has hit safely in each of his five games with three doubles and a homer for a .364/.391/.636 line. At 1 BB/6 K, that’s obviously unsustainable, but yeah, that’s a good first week. Ceciliani, who is a year and a half younger – he’ll be 23 in June, has three straight two-hit games with two doubles and a triple.

Erik Goeddel was ok over six innings: 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K.
Jack Leathersich fanned two in his two innings of work. More importantly, he did not walk a batter and threw 67% of his pitches (16 of 24) for strikes.
 

Upper Levels Saturday: Collin McHugh Sharp. The AA Outfield Hits Again

AAA: Las Vegas 51s 6, @ Sacramento RiverCats (OAK) 1 

McHugh Vegas HeadCollin McHugh was sharp to help the 51s improve to 3-0. McHugh’s line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. He threw 60% of his pitches for strikes (56 of 93).

Offensively, the big names (Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores) were all o-for. Instead, the offense came from SS Brian Bixler (2B, 3B), DH Andrew Brown (3-for-4), Josh Satin (HR, 2 RBI) and Jamie Hoffman (3-for-3, BB). I got the feeling that Terry Collins really likes Hoffman during spring training. If the Mets’ outfield is unproductive, he’d be on Collins’ replacements list.

 

AA: Binghamton Mets 7, @ Akron Aeros (CLE) 5

Darrell Ceciliani played centerfield for the first time in three games, while Alonzo Harris shifted to left, Cory Vaughn played right, and Cesar Puello had the night off. All three starting outfielders were productive. Harris was 2-for-4 with a double, his second, and a walk. Ceciliani was 2-for-5 with a double and a triple, while Cory Vaughn was 2-for-4 with a triple, a walk and a stolen base.

Logan Verrett was ok in his AA debut: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Top 41: 36 – OF Alonzo Harris, 37 – OF Darrell Ceciliani, and 38 – 2B Brenden Kaupe

How does one end up in this basket? We’re still dealing with players who are some years or more away from contributing. There is speed in this group, but each player has at least one serious red flag of the group of age, injury and inexperience.

 

36 – OF Alonzo Harris
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Height/Weight:  5’11”, 165 lbs
Acquired:  39th rd ’07 (McComb (MS) HS)
Born:  1/16/89 (McComb, MS)
2012 Rank: NR | Stats
Why Ranked Here: Harris has bounced in and out of the bottom half of the rankings the last few years, peaking at #26 prior to the 2010 season. At the time, he was a second baseman with excellent speed, surprising strength for his size, a free-swinging approach and questions about whether his hands worked at second. Now, he’s a fleet outfielder (the Mets moved him from second in 2011) who has improved his approach and still has surprising pop for his size. He laced 38 extra-base hits in 2012 while going 40-for-51 stealing bases. He can really, really run and is almost certainly the best base-stealer in the system.

 

Here, this is a pretty chart that sums up Harris’ development at the plate.

Harris Walk & K Rates

As Mets VP of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Paul dePodesta explained, “His at-bats, his approach were vastly improved from where they had been in the past.”

The Mets started Harris’ transition to the outfield by playing him in leftfield in 2011. By 2012, thanks to the injuries to other guys, he played more center than left, and did so well.

The downside: it’s taken Harris a little while. He is 24 now. Although many documents list his birthday In November 1989, he was really born in January.

2012: Harris started as the fourth outfielder in St. Lucie behind Cory Vaughn, Darrell Ceciliani and Cesar Puello. Ceciliani and Puello spent most of the season hurt, and Harris spent most of the year playing, and doing so very productively in center and left field. dePodesta again: “We were thrilled with his progress. He had a breakout year in 2012.”
Dr. Pangloss Says: In a perfect world, Harris is a late bloomer who becomes a solid defender in center and a pesky leadoff hitter at the top of the lineup. Much likelier, he will be a fourth outfielder/second division starter who provides speed and defensive ability off the bench and a little flexibility if he can bring his second base glove along too.
Debbie Downer Says: He makes his money in Japan
Projected 2013 Start: AA Binghamton
MLB Arrival: Late 2014

Basic

GABH2B3BHRBBSOAVGOBPSLG
2012 FSL11644312723784466.287.354.424

Advanced

YearXBH%SO%BB%HR%BABIPISO
20127.713.48.91.6.321.138


 

37 – OF Darrell Ceciliani

Ceciliani w Vaughn ST 2012Bats/Throws:  Left/Left
Height/Weight:  6’1”, 205 lbs
Acquired:  4th rd 2009 (Columbia Basin (OR) CC)
Born:  6/22/90 (Tracy, CA)
2012 Rank: 30 | Stats
Why Ranked Here: I had Ceciliani as high as #12 in the system two years ago, but he slipped to 30 last year and then to 37 this year. He’s hit when he has played, but injuries have hampered his last two seasons. I believe in the idea (I probably learned from reading Will Carroll) that staying healthy is a skill. Ceciliani is missing the skill.

 

Ceciliani is a little bit like Matt den Dekker in that he’s a shade above average speed wise, but will not turn in a plus-plus time running home to first, and can still play a capable or better centerfield. To be clear, he is not the defender den Dekker is. On the other hand, his swing is simpler than den Dekker’s – he’s a more natural hitter with solid gap power. Ceciliani will turn 23 in June and has 23 games of a-ball to his credit. He’s improved his approach in his professional seasons, and his 10% walk rate would play at the top of the order.

2012: He hit when he played, but he did not play enough.
Dr. Pangloss Says: A nice career as a fourth outfielder/second division starter.
Debbie Downer Says: Another injury or two or three keeps him from ever making a 40-man roster.
Projected 2013 Start: AA Binghamton although a tour through St. Lucie to begin the year is possible.
MLB Arrival: 2015

 
Basic

GABH2B3BHRBBSOAVGOBPSLG
2011 A10942110923445296.259.351.361
2012 A+2385286111013.329.402.459

Advanced

XBH%SO%BB%HR%BABIPISO
2011 A6.419.710.70.8.327.102
2012 A+8.213.410.31.0.375.129


#38 – 2B Brenan Kaupe 

Bats/Throws: Both/Right
Height/Weight:  5’7”/175 lbs
Acquired: 4th rd 2012 (Wailuku HS, HI)
Born:  4/10/94 (Wailuku, HI)
2012 Rank: NR | Stats
Why Ranked Here: Kaupe lands in the Top 41 as a top four-round pick with a plus tool or two – his speed is a little bit above average while his bat speed is plus. Kaupe is a thickly built 5’7” and I would be suspect that by the time he reaches the big leagues he will be no better than an average runner. He needs refinement at second base but that’s not surprising for a high school draftee. He has the tools for the position for now.

Can Kaupe hit? When I saw him in Kingsport, I thought he looked overmatched. He was passive early in the count and then later chased breaking balls, and got eaten up by fastballs. The Appalachian League is a tough league for high school kids, and Kaupe struggled some. Different strokes for different folks, but Mike Newman, who’s opinion I trust came away much more impressed by Kaupe when he saw him later in the season.
2012: On the face, .173/.358/.195 is pretty ugly. Also, Kaupe managed two extra-base hits in 50 games and struck out in 25.4% of his plate appearances. Almost the only productive thing he did offensively was walk 38 times, or 22% of his plate appearances. Is that a discerning plate eye or passivity?
Dr. Pangloss Says: Jose Altuve-light.
Debbie Downer Says: AA tops.
Projected 2013 Start: Extended Spring Training then off to Brooklyn in June
MLB Arrival: Late 2017

Basic

GABH2B3BHRBBSOAVGOBPSLG
2012 APP50133231103844.173.358.195

Advanced

YearXBH%SO%BB%HR%BABIPISO
2012 APP1.225.422.00.0.256.023

The Weekend in the AFL

What were Mets’ farmhands up to in the Arizona Fall League this weekend? All of the Mets’ pitchers threw Thursday, and with the AFL taking Sunday off, there were just two games – Friday and Saturday – to talk about.

CF Darrell Ceciliani - Friday: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI.  The hits were his first in three games for Surprise. At 22, he’s playing for an Opening Day assignment to AA Binghamton in 2013.

CF Cesar Puello - Saturday - 2-for-5, RBI, K. Puello has at least one hit in each of his three games in the AFL, going 5-for-14 (.357) but five strikeouts and zero walks to go along with one HBP. This would be a good time to start learning the more disciplined approach he will need in AA and the big leagues.

Cesar Puello Leads Mets 2012 Arizona Fall League Delegation

The Arizona Fall League has released preliminary rosters for the 2012 version of the circuit. Teams use the AFL for different players including: as a finishing school for top prospects, as preparation for the transition to a higher level, either AA or AAA, as extra-playing time for a guy who was injured during the season or as an extra audition for a spot on the team’s 40-man roster.

At the moment, the Mets are sending three position players: CF/RF Cesar Puello, CF/LF Darrell Ceciliani, INF Danny Muno and three pitchers: RHP Greg Peavey, RHP Ryan Fraser and LHP Chase Huchingson. In 2012, the Mets will be members of the Surprise Saguaros.

We’ll analyze the position players in this post, and take on the pitchers in part two tomorrow.

 

Position Players
CF/RF Cesar Puello 
What he is: Big, strong, fast and still incredibly raw. There’s upside here, but he’s still a long way from fulfilling it.
2012: A broken hammate bone has limited Puello, my #6 pre-season Mets prospect, to just 61 games this year. When he’s played he’s shown speed: he’s 17-for-19 stealing bases and some power – his second half isolated slugging percentage of .200 is very strong. However, his walk rate has disintegrated from 6.8% in the SAL in 2010 to 2.6% this year. His on-base percentage has been sustained by 15 hit-by-pitches.
Why He’s Going: Puello falls squarely into the category of an injured guy who needs more time this year. Also, he’s hit .293/.379/.552 in August, so this is a bid, or a chance to solidify his place in the Binghamton outfield on Opening Day 2013.

 

CF/LF Darrell Ceciliani
What he is: The Mets’ fourth-round pick in 2009, who has been held back by injuries in 2011 and 2012. Some scouts like the swing enough to see an everyday, while more other slide towards the fourth-outfielder side. 
2012:
Recurring hamstring injuries have limited Ceciliani, my #30 prospect pre-season to 19 games in 2012 after an off-season when he had a stress fracture in his foot. When he’s played, he’s hit, going .324/.388/.451 with six extra-base hits, eight walks and only 12 strikeouts.
Why He’s Going: He just needs to play more in a season in which he will fall short of 30 games during the regular season.

 

INF Danny Muno
What he is: The Mets’ 8th round pick in 2011 and my #36 prospect preseason, has hit since turning pro playing mostly playing the middle infield. At 23 in advanced-A, he might make it as a backup infielder.
2012: I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of pop in Muno’s swing in spring training 2012. Then, he was busted for PEDs and suspended for 50 games on May 18. He’s got a nearly 1:1 K/BB ratio (49 K/45 BB) this year.
Why He’s Going: He needs the reps.