Appy League Review: Mets Prospects

With Kingsport being no more than 40-minutes away from Elizabethton, the Mets showed up 30-minutes before game time robbing me of a chance to see batting practice and infield/outfield. Nonetheless, I’m not sure it would have mattered as 2012 Mets first round pick Gavin Cecchini was penciled in the lineup as designated hitter and the rest of the starting lineup was short on prospects beyond diminutive second baseman Branden Kaupe. I also lucked into three innings of Akeel Morris, a relief pitcher rumored to have big velocity who fell apart early on as a starter before reeling off 16 innings of two earned run ball to end the season.

Gavin Cecchini: Not seeing him play shortstop certainly limits the look, but I’d be remiss to not mention his hit tool was better than I was expecting. From watching the video, it’s easy to see the swings weren’t pretty at times and pitch selection is still a work in progress. However, the couple of controlled swings he put on fastballs up in the zone both resulted in hard barrel contact. As his balance and weight shift improve, so should his pitch selection and consistency. Cecchini is unlikely to become an impact bat due to lack of power, but true shortstop prospects are difficult to come by so he does not have to be. In Savannah, I’ll receive a long look at him on defense and update the profile at that point.

Branden Kaupe: Jose Altuve was the first name to come to mind when seeing Kaupe take the field. The diminutive second baseman has similar quickness and thickness through the upper half. A switch hitter, the 18-year old has excellent bat speed from both sides of the plate and appeared to have an advanced understanding of how to work counts to his favor. He also showed 55 speed from the left side by running a 4.15 home-to-first time and could likely match that from the right side as well. Plus, he showed solid range at second base. With a .173/.358/.195 line in the Appalachian League, it would be easy to dismiss Kaupe. He’s a nice player though and a steal compared to the average fourth rounder I see in person.

Akeel Morris: Maybe the most perplexing arm in the lower levels of the system, Morris was considered a potential break through prospect entering the 2012 season. As a starter, he floundered finishing with a 12.90 ERA over six starts before being transitioned to the bullpen. As a reliever, his 1.13 ERA including a 27/10 K/BB ratio in 16 innings was a remarkable turnaround. In game action, Morris’ fastball was 90-93 MPH with improved command throughout the outing. The velocity was less than I was expecting and his max effort delivery, combined with a tendency to short arm the baseball definitely speaks to a bullpen profile. His breaking ball was a tight, 77 MPH curve which benefited from his short arm action. As a two-pitch reliever, he has some potential, but his days as a starter are likely over.

In all, the Kingsport roster was void of impact talent from the players I saw. Tomas Nido would have been a good “get”, but he was not in the starting lineup which was disappointing. With the Mets promoting at a much slower rate than under the previous regime, it might be 2014 before I have the opportunity to see this group again.

We hoped you liked reading Appy League Review: Mets Prospects by Mike Newman!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Mike Newman is the Owner/Managing Editor ofROTOscouting, a subscription site focused on baseball scouting, baseball prospects and fantasy baseball. Follow me onTwitter. Likeus on Facebook.Subscribeto my YouTube Channel.

newest oldest most voted
Spike
Guest
Spike

wait, Kaupe is a steal in the 4th round?? is that a joke? I mean, did any other team even have him on their top 500 lists?

BlackOps
Guest
BlackOps

Who the fuck has access to any team’s top 500 list? If anyone out there does, let us all know.

Stinky
Guest
Stinky

oh god. Kaupe had 2 XBHs in 173 PAs. One diminutive player makes an impact in the past 40 years and suddenly every 5’5″ player is the next Jose Altuve. oh jeez. there is a reason why Kaupe was so obscure and we saw it play out at K’port. This pick was about knowing he would sign under slot so the Mets could have some extra dough to try and throw at someone after rd 10. Let’s not pretend it’s something more.

Stinky
Guest
Stinky

Mike:
Then it sounds like you are putting yourself out there and for that I admire you. Video of Kaupe looked like he is no more than 5’5″ and 155. If you saw him, what would you say he is?

Stinky
Guest
Stinky

also let’s not act like Altuve is lighting the world on fire.

Stinky
Guest
Stinky

I don’t know why it was “a little much” honestly. I think Altuve not lighting the world on fire is a fair statement. I don’t think it’s necessary or even appropriate to qualify every player eval at the ML level *by age group*. This is Altuve’s 2nd ML season and his OPS+ is 102 now I think after a mid 80’s OPS+ in 2011. He’s been a big story mostly for his diminutive size and for making the AS team this year as the lone Astro.

I’m not saying he’s awful. Not at all. I’m just saying that he’s not special (unless you’re his momma – 😉 ) but he certainly has room to grow.