Before the minor league season gets underway, InsidePitchMagazine.com offers this last look at…
MMLN – Analyzing Down the Outfielders Part II
Cesar Puello: By this time next year we could likely talk about Puello has one of the highest ceiling outfield prospects in the organization. He is raw, but that is where his potential is headed if he stays on his current growth projection. Puello shows enough potential in five tools to become a top ten prospect in the organization after 2010. He shows projectable raw power and the ability to hit secondary pitches. Overcoming inconsistent discipline will be his biggest hurdle at the plate.
Defensively, Puello has the speed and the arm to stick in right field. Now it is a matter of Puello continuing to assemble his tools when he jumps to long season ball this season. Barring any setbacks, Puello will no longer be considered a sleeper and should garner more national attention entering 2011.
Darrell Ceciliani: Ceciliani came is a high draft pick and put together a positive first season despite a slow start in Kingsport. There is still work to do with his bat, but Ceciliani's speed and above average defensive skills make him a true centerfielder that can and will stick at the position as he ascends the organization. Cecliani's offensive game currently relies on finding the gaps and using his speed, but coaches anticipate his bat will become more well-rounded with added size and experience.
Nick Santomauro: Santomauro is an interesting prospect because of raw tools and limited competitive experience prior to his drafting. Santomauro is average defender who will likely stick in left field. However it is potential with the bat that makes Santomauro a prospect to look out for in 2010. He worked out the long, almost sweeping action in his swing during the New York-Penn League season and further work with the swing should make him a more complete hitter in year two.
Julio Concepcion: Concepcion flew under the radar in the Gulf Coast League despite winning the Sterling Award at the level. He's a sizeable prospect 6-foot-4 and nearly 200 pounds. He showed promising signs of power and has the speed and athleticism to become a multi-faceted prospect. Already 20 years old, Concepcion is a fringy sleeper at this point so he will need to get going in 2010.
Need To Make Their Move:
Brahiam Maldonado: Maldonado had a great year on the stat sheet in St. Lucie, however now it is time for the 24-year-old outfielder to show he can do it at a higher level after two years in St. Lucie. Maldonado can rake the fastball, but he is limited against secondary pitches and does bring much to the field as a defender. Maldonado will open as the left fielder in Binghamton, but has stalled as an organizational bat. He will need show significant growth in the Eastern League to change that perception.
D.J. Wabick: Wabick find himself in a very difficult position this spring training. Wabick, who hit .296 with four home runs and 55 RBI last season in Binghamton, will have to compete with rising talent behind him for a starting spot in Double-A. Additionally, there may be too many minor league free agents for him to earn a starting spot in Buffalo. Wabick's best shot at a roster spot is likely as a fourth outfielder in Binghamton, but it is not a position of strength for him to foster stronger impressions about his game. He really needs to maximize his time on the field.
Seth Williams: Williams is another outfielder who needs a strong camp season to influence his spot on a roster either in St. Lucie or Binghamton Williams, 24, appeared in 60 games with St. Lucie last season before injury knocked him out for much of the second half of 2009. Now, the scrappy outfielder will need to piece together enough of tools to land a fourth outfielder spot in St. Lucie or Binghamton.
Pedro Zapata: Zapata is a regular participant with the first teams during intrasquad games and is usually seen among the organization's higher ranked prospects. Hhowever, the 22-year-old outfielder is behind the curve in comparison. Zapata hit .329 in Kingsport last year but shows limited power and plate discipline which has slowed his growth as a hitter. Zapata is a rangy outfielder with good speed and stolen base instincts, but his age and the depth chart of ahead of him spells out a limited future.
Joey August: It's somewhat unfair to say that a player needs to make a move after one season, but that is where August finds himself. August spent the bulk of his first season in Savannah where he hit .210 in 41 games. The problem facing August is that the talent coming up from short-season ball will likely bump him out of a starting job in Savannah and the outfield in St. Lucie projects to be filled with more projectable prospects. August will likely be in another bench role, and one he needs to capitalize on.
Javier Rodriguez: The Mets drafted Rodriguez in the second round of the 2008. No one has doubted Rodriguez's athleticism and defensive abilities. However, scouts have seen very limited tools with the bat. With his lack of power and rough mechanics, Rodriguez may have a tough time getting out of A-ball. Rodriguez repeated the Gulf Coast League in 2009 which is an indicator of just how raw and unprepared he was to make it to the next level. It would be a significant shock to see him break camp anywhere other than Extended Spring Training. He simply has to start showing more with the bat if he is to remove the "bust" tag.
Cody Holliday: Holliday appeared in just 15 games in the Gulf Coast League and hit .175 in 40 at-bats. At 22 years old and with limited time, Holliday has an uphill climb to say the least. Holliday has solid plate coverage and some speed, but the improving outfield depth chart is getting longer and Holliday has a lot of names to jump.
Alex Gregory: Gregory put in a solid first season at the plate in Brooklyn with a .278 average and two home runs. The most difficult part of Gregory's season was that he had to learn the outfield during his rookie season. Gregory, a corner outfielder throughout his college career, should have a shot at a fourth outfielder's spot in Savannah next season.
Kurt Steinhauer: The Mets' 27th round pick in the 2009 draft was a red hot hitter in the Appalachian League, tuning up pitchers for a .364 average and five home runs in 24 games. He hit .328 overall in 36 total games split in the GCL. However, Steinhauer turns 24 years old before Opening Day and that does not bode well for his longevity.
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