If you’re a New York Mets fan, you might want to commit this name to memory for future reference: Cesar Puello.
At the fresh age of 19 years old, Puello has made his way to the top of the Mets farm system, most recently being named the Mets No. 3 top prospect by Baseball America.
Even though Puello wont make an impact on the team in the foreseeable future, he has the potential to become a star at the major league level in the Mets outfield, and here some reasons why:
For a young guy, Puello is bigger than most teens I’ve ever seen, excluding myself though. He’s listed at 6’2”, 195 lbs, but he plays like he much larger.
He has a ripped, muscular physique that will only fill out with age and experience at the professional level, and is said to possess above average speed, with a strong swing, and an above average arm from the right field.
He has shown a surge of power during batting practice, easily driving balls over the left –field wall, but at this stage in his career, he has yet to translate that swing to any games.
In the batter’s box
Since the beginning of the season, Cesar has reworked his swing with the help of the Savannah Sand Gnat coaching staff, and it seems to have been working for him.
Early in the year, Puello’s swing was a raw as it could get; leading the Gnats in broken bats symbolizing the amount of times he was getting jammed inside and hitting the ball off the label and not on the sweet spot.
He held his hands near the center of his chest with his shoulders slumped forward, creating too much time to get ready for the coming pitch. Standing this way, he had to bring his hands back loaded and his shoulders more relaxed before the pitch reached home plate, which is a lot to ask of a A league ball player.
In May, he re-tooled his swing by taking a little step off the plate, relaxing his shoulders and keeping his bat rested near his back shoulder. This created an easier opportunity for Puello to see the pitch and attack it accordingly.
In his first full seasons in the minors, Puello recorded a respectable .292 average, 22 doubles and a .734 OBP all gearing him for greater improvements in the future.
A natural outfielder, Puello’s plus speed makes it capable for him to cut off shallow bloops and chip shots to right. He retreats well on fly balls by covering a lot of ground in right field, while also being able to reach a ball fast in the gap to use his arm to make plays.
His arm is a major weapon, helping him be one the top 15 outfielders in the league with eight assists. That number would be much higher if it weren’t for his reputation around the league causing teams to challenge him less later in the season.
On the bases
Puello is a surprising speedster who loves to run.
“I want to steal more bases,” said Puello after a Gnats victory, “I like to be dirty. I like to slide. When I slide, I get that special feeling.”
I guess he really likes that ‘special feeling’ by looking at his 83% success rate on the base paths, good for second in the SAL with 44 stolen bases and having been caught only nine times all year.
By the numbers
Puello is the epitome of the young ball player coming to a foreign country to play the sport he loves. His English has come a long way in the one-plus years he has been in America and it is only getting better.
With such a determined mind-frame, the possibilities for this kid are literally endless. Be on the lookout for his name in the coming 2013 and 2014 seasons.