#5 – OF Cesar Puello

Bats/Throws: R/R

Height/Weight: 6’2”/195

Acquired: NDFA 7/2/07

Born: 4/1/91 (LA Romana, DR)

2010 Rank: 15

Why Ranked Here: Tools. On pure athleticism and potential, Cesar Puello could be the top position player in the Mets system.  However, it is the gap between what he is now, and what he could be that drops him to number three among position players.

Puello, who will turn 20 the week before Opening Day, is a physical specimen.  When the Mets lined up their fastest athletes for a good-natured race in the fall instructional league, Puello won at least one of the heats.  He’s not just fast.  He’s also ripped with broad shoulders and strong arms.  He owns one of the better outfield arms in the system and he enjoys letting it fly.

He improved dramatically as a hitter in 2010, cleaning up his swing and improving his balance and timing.  Although he hit just one home run in 2010, the Mets think the power will come.  He works counts well for a hitter his age.

Puello is a hard-nosed player who will give up his body to earn his way aboard (22 HBP). An aggressive baserunner, Puello has expressed his joy at getting his uniform dirty and creating havoc on the bases.

Puello played right field exclusively for the Gnats in 2010.  He began taking balls in center during instructional league.  If he proves he can play center, his value would soar. 

2010: He rebuilt his swing in a miserable May (.192/.259/.232) but reaped the benefits in the second half when he was one of the SAL’s most dangerous hitters banging out an .346/.424/.430 line before missing the final three weeks with a back strain.  Early in the year, he was late on many pitches, depriving himself of the opportunity to really drive the ball.  By the end of the year, he was getting around on more pitches, and starting to rip balls with authority into both gaps and down the left field line.

Dr. Pangloss Says: The most optimistic scenario for Puello is that he eventually combines 20 home run power, with 40+ stolen bases, with a .360 OBP and plus defense in center field to become an elite major leaguer.  However, both the center field and power part of that equation are purely speculative at this point.

Debbie Downer Says: And if his swing proves too flat to hit for power, and he can’t handle CF, he’s just another guy.

Projected 2011 Start: A+ St. Lucie

MLB Arrival: 2014

10 SAL 372 109 21 1 1 31 73 1 10 20 434 .293 .377 .363 5.3 7.14 16.82
10 Pre-ASB 225 56 12 0 0 20 54 1 8 10 264 .249 .336 .302 4.5 7.58 20.45
10 Post-ASB 147 53 9 1 1 11 19 0 2 10 170 .361 .440 .456 6.5 6.47 11.18

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