This pairing of two tools outfielders makes good sense to me. Puello’s advantage in playing at higher levels is mitigated by his regression in 2012.
#27 – Cesar Puello
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 200
Acquired: NDFA 7/27/07
Born: 4/1/91 (La Romana, DR)
2012 Rank: 6 | Stats
Why Ranked Here: After back-to-back years as my of my Top 10 prospects in the system, (#5 in 2011, #6 in 2012) Pullo slips 21 spots because he has yet to turn his physical gifts into consistent baseball production. Puello has spent the last two seasons in the Florida State League. He turns 22 on Monday and I no longer see a star here. At best, he becomes an average outfielder, but he still has lots of work to do to get there.
Even the biggest reason to dream on Puello – his body and physical tools – now come with question marks. Again, to review, he’s big, very strong and a plus runner. Now the bad, he’s been hurt in each of the last three years. He’s dealt with back strains, hamstring strains, broken fingers and, in 2012, a fractured left hammate bone. On top of the history of injuries, Puello was listed as a client at Biogenesis, the clinic where MLB players purchased banned PEDs. While Major League Baseball suspended Tigers’ minor leaguer Cesar Carillo 100 games when his name surfaced in the Biogenesis documents, Puello has escaped similar punishment because he is on the Mets’ 40-man roster.
Puello is still big and fast, and still runs well. His swing looked better in early batting practice this spring than ever – simpler and shorter to the ball. However, can he take that to games? And can he stay on the field?
2012: Puello played centerfield a little over two-thirds of the time for St. Lucie where he hit .260/.328/.423. As always, his on-base percentage was sustained by hit-by-pitches. He was plunked 16 times – and it was the first time in the last three years he has fallen short of 20, a mark he would have reached had he not missed two months with a broken hammate bone. His extra-base hit rate was a career-best in a full season league at 9.9% while his walk rate was a career-low 2.8% while his strikeout rate climbed back to 23%, a mark he had last reached in the Appalachian League in 2009. Put simply, Puello showed better in-game power, but his plate discipline collapsed. A strikeout rate up at 23% suggests that he will have trouble hitting for average at higher levels.
In his first exposure to upper level pitching in the Arizona Fall League, Puello picked up only two extra-base hits in 103 plate appearances while striking out over 28% of the time. Yikes!
Dr. Pangloss Says: A slightly above average corner outfielder.
Debbie Downer Says: Injuries and pitch selection keep him from ever sticking on a big league roster
Projected 2013 Start: AA Binghamton
MLB Arrival: 2014 at some point, if he can stay healthy
#28 – Wuilmer Becerra
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 190 lbs
Acquired: Trade with John Buck, Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud for R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas
2012 Rank: N/A | Stats
Why Ranked Here: The Blue Jays paid Becerra $1.3 million to sign a year ago. That’s a lot of coin. According to Baseball America, he’s a “plus-plus” runner, who was one of the top bats with some “raw power” on the international market a year ago. Of course, he has a tendency towards length in his swing.
2012: Becerra played in 11 games in the GCL for Toronto when he took a fastball off his face, which broke his jaw.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Above average corner outfield with power and speed.
Debbie Downer Says: Or his swing is too long to hit more advanced pitching while his speed regresses as he ages and fills out and he never plays above AA.
Projected 2013 Start: Extended Spring Training. Then off to Kingsport or Brooklyn
MLB Arrival: Mid-late 2017