Cesar Puello Scouting Report (Early 2010)
As a teenager in the “Sally”, Cesar Puello has surpassed expectations early on and is quietly solidifying himself as a top prospect within the organization. His peripherals leave room for pause, but seeing him in person relieves a number of those concerns. However, projecting Puello is a difficult task as the tools leave plenty to dream on with dream being the operative word. Believers will see a legitimate five tool talent, while doubters will see a “tweener” with a bat for center field who is relegated to a corner defensively.
Physique: An impressive physical specimen, Puello combines ideal size with explosive movements which should allow him to add more power to his game in the future. While his listed height (6’2″) is accurate, Puello looks to be close to 220 pounds. He’s not built like your typical stolen base threat, so one has to wonder how his size will affect stolen base totals in the future. Additionally, his broad shoulders and trunk are perfect for adding bulk and will force him to spend time working to keep his agility as he matures.
Hitting: While Puello did not make a great first impression at the plate during the Sand Gnats opening homestand, pitch-by-pitch, his offensive game grew on me. Yes, he’s still an embryo in terms of offensive development, but his batting eye is better than advertised which is rare for a Latin-American ballplayer. Additionally, he handles breaking pitches around the plate relatively well for a player his age even though he is prone to chasing sliders low-and-away. Changeups have also given him fits leading me to wonder if his 2010 will be similar to Jefry Marte‘s 2009 campaign.
Puello’s hitting mechanics work directly against his obvious strength and strong wrists as his pull hand dominates his swing. This limits his top hand to the point where it is nearly non-existent. His inability to throw the bat head leaves him an inside-out hitter who is forced to fight off pitches inside in the hope of receiving something out over the plate he can push to right-center field. Puello’s power is also limited by poor weight transfer which does not allow him to incorporate his body well. While these mechanical flaws will limit his power numbers for the time being, the adjustments needed are rather small considering his age and the amount of development time he has in front of him.
Fielding: An above average right fielder, Puello uses his speed to make up ground even when his jump leaves something to be desired. He’s especially strong to his glove side and is fearless going after balls near the fence and bullpen. On multiple occasions, he has come up throwing strikes to home plate on balls in front him and even gunned a one-hopper from the right field corner to home plate which was on the money. I would not call his arm strength plus, but it is definitely above average and plays higher due to his accuracy.
Speed: Puello’s running style can be described as a boulder rolling down a hill. He uses powerful strides to quickly gain momentum, much like a linebacker, making him an intimidating presence on the basepaths. At present, he’s eleven for twelve in stolen base attempts and should far surpass his career high of fifteen steals by season’s end. While he looks like a twenty-plus stolen base threat at the big league level, his body type and size may be a limiting factor.
Still years away, Cesar Puello has time to iron out the kinks and max out his impressive all-around skill set. Already an asset due to his speed and defense, Puello’s prospect status jumps significantly if and when he learns how to drive the baseball. Until this aspect of his game improves, he remains on the periphery of the organizations top ten prospects. Based on ceiling alone, Puello belongs among the top five prospects I have seen in a Savannah Sand Gnats uniform.
24 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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