MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Red-hot Mets prospect Cecchini delivers in AFL win

Red-hot Mets prospect Cecchini delivers in AFL win

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Gavin Cecchini looked forward to playing in the Arizona Fall League last offseason, but he injured his left shoulder swinging a bat and appeared in just four games with the Salt River Rafters. So he has appreciated the opportunity to return to the AFL this year, and he's making the most of it.

Cecchini, the Mets' No. 3 prospect, had his third multihit game in his last four contests Wednesday afternoon, delivering two hits, two runs and an RBI to help the Scottsdale Scorpions defeats the Surprise Saguaros, 5-4. The Mets shortstop also made a nice defensive play, handling a tricky hop to start a double play in the second inning.

"I'm definitely glad to be here," Cecchini said. "The more baseball you play, the more reps you get, the better you're going to be. Any time you get to play baseball, you get to work on the things you need to work on, and that's all that matters."

Gameday

The 12th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, Cecchini made his big league debut this September with the Mets and hit two doubles in six at-bats. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, where he hit .317/.377/.442 in 109 games and set career highs in most categories.

While Las Vegas is one of the most hitter-friendly environments in the Minors, Cecchini is one of the best hitters in the Mets' system. He has a contact-oriented approach that doesn't yield much power but yields a lot of line drives from gap to gap. He has average speed and some baserunning savvy.

Cecchini has the hands, arm strength and instincts to play shortstop, though he must get more accurate with his throws after making 61 errors in 214 games during the last two Minor League seasons. He has committed five errors in 11 games in the field (10 at shortstop, one at second base) in the AFL, where he's hitting .286/.362/.429.

"I'm trying to work on everything," Cecchini said. "Whenever you start working on a certain aspect and think there's no more room for improvement, that's when the game bites you in the butt. You have to stay focused on what you need to work on. I've been happy with how the AFL has gone. I've made adjustments throughout."

Multiple Mets farmhands contributed to the Scorpions' win. Right-hander Corey Oswalt bounced back from a three-run top of the first with three subsequent scoreless innings to improve his record to 3-1 with a 3.68 ERA. Left-hander David Roseboom fanned all three batters he faced in the eighth inning.

In his second start back after missing three weeks with a mild shoulder strain, Saguaros left-hander Stephen Gonsalves didn't look right. The Twins' Minor League pitcher of the year after going 13-5, 2.06 ERA with 155 strikeouts in 140 innings between Class A Advanced and Double-A, he lasted just seven batters while surrendering four runs in the bottom of the first. His fastball sat around 88 mph and he threw just 13 of 31 pitchers for strikes, giving up three walks and three hits.

The loss dropped Surprise (12-12-1) a full game behind the Peoria Javelinas in the West Division race. Scottsdale (11-14) is in last place in the East, but won for the seventh time in 10 games and is now just two games behind the Salt River Rafters for first place.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.