The New York Mets selected high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini with the 12th-overall selection in the 2012 MLB Draft on Monday night, making it the second straight year under the new front office that they've gone with a high school player with their first-round pick.
The brother of Boston Red Sox third-base prospect, Garin Cecchini, Gavin hails from Barbe High School in Lake Charles, La., and is a high school shortstop draftee that appears destined to stick at the position -- or possibly slide over to second base. Cecchini had committed to the University of Mississippi, but it doesn't seem like he will be a very difficult sign.
Cecchini is 6-foot-1, 180 pounds who doesn't have a ton of "projection" in his body to make him outgrow a middle-infield spot and appears to have the attributes to allow him to stay at shortstop, even if he appears a bit raw. Those aspects are unique and certainly played into the decision to take him.
Analysts and scouts rave about his defensive ability, and while he doesn't project as a "star" with the bat, someone who can hold his own at the position, with doubles power, is an extremely valuable major leaguer. Cecchini batted .413 with seven home runs, 32 RBI and 31 steals in his senior season. MLB Network compared him to Zack Cosart of the Reds.
From SI.com's Dave Perkin :
Cecchini, whose older brother plays in the Red Sox organization, is a fast and athletic middle infielder who displays excellent baseball instincts. Despite being error prone, Cecchini shows the promise of being an outstanding defender. Some scouts are doubtful Cecchini will hit at the pro level. He flashes intriguing bat speed, but will need to make some mechanical tweaks and eliminate a trace of stiffness in his swing.
Keith Law of ESPN ranked Cecchini as his 18th-best draft prospect, saying he could be "an above average shortstop with gap power," while his colleague Jason A. Churchill says the "Mets could be looking at an everyday middle infielder with basement outcome of a very good utility player."
This pick doesn't seem to have the ceiling of last year's No. 1 choice, Brandon Nimmo, but it appears that he has a pretty high floor. It's obvious that the Mets front office, led by the vice president of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta, believes in Cecchini's abilities and makeup.