The New York Mets today announced the selection of shortstop Gavin Cecchini from Barbe High School (LA) with the 12th pick of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Cecchini, 18, who bats and throws right-handed, hit .413 with seven home runs, 32 RBI and 31 stolen bases to help Barbe to the Class 5A state title this season. Cecchini played for his father, Glenn, at Barbe. The 6-0, 175-pound native of Lake Charles, LA, was named Mr. Baseball in Louisiana by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
Cecchini led the USA Baseball 18U National Team to the gold medal at the Pan American Championship in Colombia last fall. He hit .500 with 17 RBI in 15 games during the tournament.
As a junior, Cecchini was named Gatorade State Player of the Year and also won the Most Valuable Player award for the American squad at the 2011 Under Armour All-American Game last summer. Brandon Nimmo, the Mets’ first-round pick last season, was the MVP for the American team at the 2010 game.
Cecchini played in the 2006 Little League World Series, starting the game on the mound for South Lake Charles in their only win of the tournament.
Cecchini, who committed to the University of Mississippi, is the fourth position player taken in the first round by the Mets since 2008. He joins first baseman Ike Davis (2008), infielder Reese Havens (2008) and Nimmo (2011).
Cecchini’s brother, Garin, was selected in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by Boston and is currently playing for Greenville (A) of the South Atlantic League.
Barbe had two other players drafted along with Garin in 2010 (Hommy Rosado, Colorado, 11th round; Kevin Berard, 22nd round, Milwaukee). Gavin is the high school’s first first-round pick since 1996, when Toronto took infielder Joe Lawrence 16th overall.
MLB Draft Guide says:
“Gavin Cecchini comes from a baseball family and it shows on the field. His father Glenn is the coach at Barbe and played in college, while his brother Garin was chosen in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by the Red Sox. Gavin’s mother is also a good athlete and played basketball in college. Cecchini is an athletic shortstop and good all around player. He has a nice, simple swing with good bat speed. He barrels the ball regularly and shows flashes of power. Cecchini has good range and a solid arm at short. He runs a 6.6 60.”
John Sickels says:
“The younger brother of Red Sox prospect Garin Cecchini, Gavin is a 6-1, 185 pound right-handed hitter. His glove is ahead of his bat at this point and scouts think he’ll remain at shortstop, but opinions differ about what kind of hitter he will become, and he may take considerable time to develop his offense. His instincts are very well regarded. He is committed to the University of Mississippi, but is certainly signable at this stage in the draft. The Mets will have to be patient while he develops but he comes from a baseball family and scouts have been familiar with him for years. His best physical tool is speed, but there’s a chance Gavin can develop some decent pop to go with it. Up-the-middle players seem to be a common theme in the draft so far, and the Mets have shown more of a willingness to take chances in recent drafts.”
Keith Law says:
“Cecchini, the younger brother of Red Sox farmhand, Garin, has a better chance to stay at shortstop than his brother did while sharing the same solid makeup and strong feel for the game. Gavin Cecchini starts with a very wide base at the plate and gets wider as he strides — far wider than he did last summer — leaving himself somewhat off balance through contact, although closing his initial stance could mitigate this. His swing is somewhat rotational with slight loft but not the kind that will produce big power; it’s not great bat speed but his hand-eye appears to be very strong, and getting him more balanced at the plate should improve his contact rates and doubles power with wood. In the field, Cecchini has a plus arm with a very quick release, soft hands, and the agility to be an above-average defender at short in pro ball. There’s a utility-player floor here that makes him somewhat safer than most high-school picks, but I’d be surprised if that’s all he turns out to be.”
Jonathan Mayo says:
“Cecchini has a quick stroke with good extension, enabling him to make consistent hard contact. He’s got mostly gap power now and his speed plus instincts allow him to be a basestealing threat and take the extra base. Those instincts also help him defensively. While his hands are good and he grades out as average with his arm and range, some think a move to second might be better. Either way, this scrappy middle infielder is sure to get plenty of looks in the spring.”