Sleeping On Cesar Puello
In the Baseball Prospectus prospect mock draft, I selected Mets prospect Cesar Puello with my 10th and final pick and a number of rounds behind Cardinals prospect Stephen Piscotty. Then, the St. Louis outfielder snuck into the MLB.com top-100, while Puello was an afterthought. I asked Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo about it on their live chat and both said as much. Puello receiving very little prospect love has to be due to the PED suspension, right?
No offense to Piscotty, but Puello is bigger, stronger, faster, younger and outperformed the Cards product at the Double-A level. In 91 games, Puello belted 16 home runs and stole 24 bases. Over 140 games, that’s about 25 home runs and 37 steals. The only argument for Piscotty is his superior plate discipline.
Friend in baseball Toby Hyde had a good piece over at Mets Minor League blog in October. In it, he took 22-year old players with 300 plate appearances in the Eastern League who performed similarly to Cesar Puello. EVERY player reached the Major Leagues.
Names include Starling Marte, Travis D’Arnaud, Adam Lind, Asdrubal Cabrera, Will Middlebrooks and Aaron Hicks. Lesser players include Brandon Laird, Nick Evans and Josh Thole. Puello is in select company, yet ignored.
it’s not as if Puello has no pedigree. He was included in the 2009 Baseball America top-100. From a personal standpoint, seeing a couple of hundred Puello plate appearances also helps. He’s one of the most impressive prospects I’ve ever scouted from a physical standpoint.
In all honesty, his being linked to Biogenesis didn’t surprise me since Puello was rumored as a PED guy in Savannah (A topic of conversation with scouts, but nothing I’ve ever written about). Hyde makes a great point when he wrote Puello was probably clean in 2013. It’s not as if the scandal was a fly by night operation by Major League Baseball. The investigation took months and Puello probably knew the hammer was going to drop.
Puello is a player to to acquire immediately in deep dynasty leagues. Barring injury, he’s a lock for big league playing time as early as next season. When combining tools, performance and age-versus-level, few players are as impressive on paper. Plus, the Mets must like Puello too as they signed Chris Young to a one year pact, creating a path to New York.
4 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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