Scouting Report: C Yasmil Bucce

The Mets are hoping Bucce's bat comes around

Originally signed by the Mets as a corner infielder in March of 2002, Yasmil Bucce was moved behind the plate in 2005 and instantly became one of the top defensive catching prospects. The Mets are so high on his defensive ability that they virtually protected him in the Rule 5 Draft by placing him on their Triple-A reserve roster this offseason despite his lack of experience.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Yasmil Bucce
Position: Catcher
DOB: August 29, 1984
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

The raves continue to come from the back fields of the Mets' Port St. Lucie complex concerning catcher Yasmil Bucce, a 22-year-old so advanced defensively that scouts are already predicting a big league future despite just 109 at-bats in the United States.

Though Bucce suffered a torn labrum that essentially wiped out his 2006 campaign, costing him a campaign of winter ball, he has become highly regarded in the system.

Even if he is unable to recover in time for Spring Training, Bucce is essentially guaranteed a starting job at some point in Class-A Savannah.

A non-drafted free agent from Venezuela who signed in March 2002, Bucce played mostly first base in three seasons of the Venezuelan Summer League before coming to the States in 2005 as a catcher.

In 34 games for Gulf Coast, Bucce batted .338 with one home run and 17 RBI. He appeared in four games for St. Lucie in 2006, stroking four hits in 11 at-bats.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2006

St. Lucie

.364

11

4

0

3

1

0

1

3

.385

.455

2005

GCL

.337

98

33

1

17

14

1

19

21

.463

.429

2004

VSL

.242

186

45

4

28

26

6

35

47

.398

.355

2003

VSL

.274

175

48

3

32

26

0

18

37

.368

.440

2002

VSL

.222

167

37

1

13

5

0

20

45

.318

.287



Batting and Power. Bucce is extremely patient and selective at the plate. He has had success, granted in limited at-bats, in the United States thus far because he's willing to sit on his pitch and he puts the ball in play. He has very good gap power with occasional home run power, the type of batter that collects a lot of doubles and is good in situational hitting.

Base Running and Speed. Bucce is a gifted athlete with good footwork so he is not your normal plogging backstop. He is a slightly below average runner overall but he is a plus runner at the catcher's position.

Defense. Where Bucce shines brightly is his defensive work behind the plate. He absolutely has the strongest arm and quickest release in the organization, quite the statement considering the stable of plus defensive catchers the Mets possess in their farm system. He is extremely agile and swift, but most importantly, he is one heck of a receiver. He works with his pitchers well, despite the language barrier, and he frames pitches with the best of them.

Projection. Injuries have derailed his career over the last two seasons and yet the Mets (and the rest of baseball) were so impressed with his defensive abilities, the Mets virtually protected him from the 2006 Rule 5 Draft by placing him on their Triple-A roster. He has lost significant offensive development time, but defensively, he could be a plus defensive catcher in the big leagues immediately. He has the offensive potential and defensive prowess to project as a Yadier Molina type if he can stay on the field long enough to develop his bat.

ETA. 2009. Even with just barely 100 at-bats in the United States under his belt, Bucce should fly through the farm system, his defensive game is that special. It will be hard to protect him in future Rule 5 Drafts so the Mets will push him along as quickly as possible. He should begin the 2007 season with the Savannah Sand Gnats, but don't be surprised if he begins the year in St. Lucie. He'll probably just need two full minor league seasons before getting his shot in the big leagues.

InsidePitchMagazine.com Recommended Stories