#11 OF Wuilmer Becerra
Ht: 6’3” Wt: 225 Level: High-A St. Lucie Mets
B/T: R/R Age: 10/01/1994 (22) Age Dif: -1.7
Acquired: Part of seven player trade from the Toronto Blue Jays
Last Year: #6
2016 Statistics: 65 G, 247 AB, 27 R, 77 H, 17 2B, HR, 34 RBI, 9 BB/52 K, 7 SB, .319/.341/.393
Wuilmer Becerra has often mentioned as the afterthought, a throw-in flyer prospect in the R.A. Dickey trade that also brought Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud. But his profile and signing bonus have always contradicted that line of thought. His scouting reports from that time all indicated much of what we have heard since:
Ben Badler at Baseball America, who had him ranked 5th at the time of his signing:
“He has worked out for teams at shortstop and the outfield, but his future is in the outfield. He’s a good athlete with size and speed, having been clocked as fast as 6.6 seconds in the 60-yard dash. His game speed is slower, though, with below-average times going from home to first. Scouts are mixed on Becerra’s bat. He has good size and strength, and some scouts consider him one of the best righthanded hitters available with good plate coverage and projectable power.”
After hitting nine home runs in 2015 for the Savannah Sand Gnats who play in the spacious Grayson Stadium, it appeared Becerra was living up those original scouting reports.
I got to see him in person during that 2015 Low-A season and at the time noted he appeared a man among boys. Not just true prototypical right field size, but the talent was obvious as well. From batting practice, which was professional in approach and highlighted with home runs peppered throughout the park. To the way the defense respected and played him, not a full on shift, but heavily shading towards left, shortstop backing up a few steps, etc. to the degree that you typically don’t see at the low-A level.
Fast forward one season to the present day, questions have arisen about the power and if it will play in games. (From what I has previously seen, it will) By July the whispers that the young outfielder was playing through a shoulder injury turned out to be accurate. There was a change in approach that resulted in a career high .312 batting average, but only resulted in 18 extra base hits. The question remains if the change of approach was due to injury, a coaching focus for moving his growth forward, or a combination of both. (Which is my personal line of thought).
Becerra had season-ending surgery on a torn labrum in his right shoulder in July. He originally hurt the shoulder during spring training and decided to try to play through it. He received cortisone shots during the season to help with pain, but still only played 13 games in right field and had to to be the designated hitter in 52 games.
The 22-year old Venezuelan is the prototypical right fielder with an above average arm (pre-surgery) that also moves well given his size. Despite the lack of extra base hits this past season he still has plus power potential and showed he can hit line drives to all fields in 2016.
That the organization felt the need to add him to the 40-man roster and protect him from the Rule 5 draft is a positive sign in my view. He will be in major league camp, at least to start, and depending on how his rehab (very quiet thus far) is going we should get to see him on SNY this March. I wouldn’t be shocked if he starts in St. Lucie to get some positive plate appearances before moving up to Binghamton after the spring thaw. I remain hopeful on his progress this year expecting that breakout.