- Adam Rubin, ESPNNewYork.com
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New York Mets fans eyeing 19-year-old Amed Rosario as the organization's future shortstop may have prematurely written off 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini.
Cecchini, selected 12th overall in 2012 out of high school in Lake Charles, Louisiana, produced his fifth straight multi-hit game Tuesday with Double-A Binghamton. He is 13-for-20 during that stretch, lifting his season average to .331. He has four homers, 22 RBIs and a .387 on-base percentage in 42 games.
The output comes on the heels of Cecchini hitting a modest .247 with eight homers and 56 RBIs last season, primarily between Class A Savannah and St. Lucie.
"Because more balls are falling here than last year is the biggest difference, honestly," Cecchini said. "If you ask anybody in the front office how many balls I hit hard last year versus the outs I made, it was like it didn't add up. I was making a lot of hard outs. Balls just didn't really fall and go my way. The balls are falling more."
Three of general manager Sandy Alderson's four first-round picks currently are with Binghamton, with Michael Conforto having been promoted this past week and Brandon Nimmo currently on the B-Mets' disabled list with a sprained ACL in his left knee. Dominic Smith, the '13 first-round pick, is on a 15-game hitting streak with St. Lucie and knocking on the door for a promotion to the B-Mets, too.
Asked about any pressure as a first-round pick who has risen with a deliberate pace through the system, Cecchini said: "For me, there's really no pressure, because regardless that I'm a first-round pick or not, it's still the game of baseball. It's still the game that I've played all my life. I'm still going to go out there and do Gavin Cecchini and be me. Regardless of whether I was the first overall pick or the last pick, I'm not going to change my game. I'm still going to do what I do best and stay with my game and work hard like I always do."
Cecchini said his current goal at the plate is to "keep on just shrinking that [strike] zone and keying in on a pitch that I want to hit." In the field, he is working on "trying to get good jumps off the bat -- reading the ball off the bat and bat angles -- and making all the plays."
Cecchini has 11 errors this season, but he noted a spate came in late April, right after he returned from the disabled list for a groin injury.
"After I had tweaked my groin and I went out for a week, those next few games were in Portland," Cecchini said. "I made like four errors in two games. Not to make any excuses, but when you're out for a week -- I actually think I was out for a little more than a week -- it takes a little time, a few more days, to get back into the speed of the game. So my timing was a little bit off defensively with reading the ball off the bat and footwork and stuff. I made a few errors.
"Other than that, it's just staying with what I always do. Sometimes you can lose a little bit of focus out there. It's always about staying in the game and taking it one pitch at a time. And it all starts during BP. Sometimes, with 142 games, me playing every day, it's really easy to take BP for granted and go out there and just go through the motions. But that's when your day starts. You can always get better taking live fungoes or live balls off the bat during BP, reading balls off the bat. I'm always trying to get better and be the best player I can be."
Average: Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, .344; Gavin Cecchini, Binghamton, .331; Jonathan Johnson, Savannah, .315; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, .311; Luis Guillorme, Savannah, .308; Jayce Boyd, Vegas, .299; Brandon Nimmo, Binghamton, .297; T.J. Rivera, Vegas, .292; Eudy Pina, Binghamton, .290; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, .286.
Homers: Alex Castellanos, Vegas, 10; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 10; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 7; Michael Conforto, Binghamton, 7.
RBIs: Alex Castellanos, Vegas, 33; Michael Conforto, Binghamton, 32; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 29; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, 29; Dominic Smith, St. Lucie, 27.
Steals: Champ Stuart, St. Lucie, 13; Wilfredo Tovar, Vegas, 12; Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 10; Jonathan Johnson, Savannah, 9; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, 8.
ERA: Casey Meisner, Savannah, 1.88; Steven Matz, Vegas, 1.98; Duane Below, Vegas, 2.28; Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 2.62; Seth Lugo, Binghamton, 2.82; Luis Cessa, Binghamton, 3.09; Rob Whalen, St. Lucie, 3.22; Scarlyn Reyes, Savannah, 3.32; Miller Diaz, St. Lucie, 3.45; Brad Wieck, Savannah, 3.49.
Wins: Robert Gsellman, St. Lucie, 6; Steven Matz, Vegas, 6; Casey Meisner, Savannah, 5; Kelly Secrest, St. Lucie, 5.
Saves: Jon Velasquez, Vegas, 10; Paul Sewald, Binghamton, 9; Akeel Morris, St. Lucie, 9; Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 5; David Roseboom, Savannah, 4.
Strikeouts: Steven Matz, Vegas, 70; Brad Wieck, Savannah, 64; Casey Meisner, Savannah, 49; Corey Oswalt, Savannah, 45; Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 43.
Steven Matz has been pulled after 77 and 79 pitches in his past two starts with Las Vegas, despite working on dominant performances. The explanation: The Mets are conserving innings to ensure Matz does not need to be shut down at the end of the season, when he presumably will be with the major league club. Paul DePodesta added that Matz is part of a five-man rotation this season, as opposed to a six-man rotation with Binghamton in 2014, so conservatism is warranted. Matz owns a 1.98 ERA, which ranks first in the Pacific Coast League. Iowa Cubs right-hander Donn Roach ranks second at 2.12.
Smith, the reigning Florida State League player of the week, has continued his torrid hitting since receiving the honor. He extended his hitting streak to 15 games on Tuesday. Smith's lone homer of the season was a walk-off two-run shot in extra innings Saturday. He has 18 doubles this season, five more than any other FSL player. He turns 20 on June 15.
L.J. Mazzilli returned from a 50-game suspension for a drug of abuse on Monday with a bang. Mazzilli produced a two-run homer for St. Lucie in his season debut. He is 3-for-8 with a walk in two starts at second base. Mazzilli is expected to quickly move to Binghamton, where he made a postseason cameo in 2014 before the winter suspension.
Several higher-profile prospects received promotions in the past week. Jayce Boyd, who converted from first base to left field this season, ascended to Las Vegas. Conforto and right-hander Rob Gsellman rose to Binghamton. Outfielder Stefan Sabol joined St. Lucie.
The future of Double-A baseball in Binghamton appears questionable at best. The owners of the B-Mets settled a lawsuit on Friday in which a group claimed it had a valid agreement to purchase the club for $8.5 million and move it to Wilmington, Delaware. While acknowledging the lawsuit had been settled, the B-Mets declined comment when asked if the settlement meant the club was remaining in Binghamton.
Right-hander Casey Delgado was signed out of Traverse City in the independent Frontier League and assigned to Savannah. Delgado, 24, played collegiately at Austin Peay. He made his Gnats debut Thursday with four scoreless relief innings to earn the win. Delgado possesses an "average" fastball and was signed because innings were available with that club, a team official said.
The steady stream of players flowing to the Mets from Las Vegas because of injuries has started to catch up with the 51s. After reeling off a 14-game winning streak earlier this season, Las Vegas has now lost seven straight. The 51s have averaged one run per game during that stretch.
Right-hander Marcos Molina has been prescribed rest and will not require Tommy John surgery. Molina has been shut down since a May 13 appearance with St. Lucie.
The Mets released right-hander Dan Herrmann, who was 0-5 with a 12.23 ERA in 20 appearances (one start) with the Gulf Coast League Mets over two seasons. Herrmann, 20, was a 20th-round pick in 2013 out of high school in St. Louis.