I was scanning through Josh Norris’ Baseball America chat on the Eastern League prospects — and it took me all of five seconds to find something to write about.
Thanks for the chat, Josh. What did evaluators have to say about Cesar Puello‘s season, and did he end up close to making your list?
Josh Norris: He didn’t end up close to making the list, and quite frankly, a great deal of it had to do with the Biogenesis scandal. It also didn’t help that people within the Mets organization have told me beforehand that they don’t really consider him a prospect.
Well, that’s exactly what I did not want to hear concerning the young outfielder. As much as any of us would like to put it behind us or downplay the whole thing, it looks like the BioGenesis scandal is going to hang over Puello this season like a dark cloud. I was almost certain Puello would crack the top-20 list alongside Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero, but I was wrong.
What might have been the most saddening about that statement, however, is Norris’ statement on the organizational view of Puello. First off, there can be internal debate over players in the same way that we do — so that’s not saying that every single person in the Mets organization feels he is a non-prospect. That being said, it is no fun to watch a player you have been touting as a potential Top-5 Prospect get thrown under the bus like that.
All we can hope for is a strong season from Puello in ’14 — because that will be the defining factor in getting the proverbial monkey off his back.
Thoughts from Joe D.
If the Mets don’t believe Puello is a legitimate prospect, someone forgot to give Paul DePodesta the memo. DePo has brought up Puello on more than a few occasions that I know of when discussing some exciting players that could be close to the majors. Maybe DePo was just blowing smoke when he said, “Cesar Puello has big time power, and can be a five-tool player for us.”
DePo also said in July that he felt Puello would possibly make his way to the Mets before the season ended. Obviously this was prior to the suspension, but to say that while Puello was still in Double-A was quite the rave.
Sandy Alderson also spoke glowingly of Puello even after the suspension and shot down any criticism that his near MVP season in the Eastern League was aided by performance enhancers.
“First of all, he’s always been a physical player,” a very defensive Alderson said. “The PED aspect of his season certainly can’t be dismissed, but I personally think it had little if anything to do with his success.”
“I think what had the most to do with his success was a shift in his approach, mentally, to the game — not chasing pitches, playing a little bit more within himself, and taking advantage of his physical abilities.”
These sound more like endorsements to me and certainly nothing close to what Baseball America tried to imply in their assertion.