Travis d’Arnaud and his brother Chase both have played in the big leagues. So have Erik Goeddel and brother Tyler. The next Mets player and a sibling to have that distinction figure to be Gavin Cecchini and brother Garin.
Cecchini, the Mets’ first-round pick (12th overall) out of high school in Louisiana back in 2012, is the reigning Pacific Coast League Player of the Week. The 22-year-old shortstop is hitting .323 with four homers and 29 RBIs and has a .394 on-base percentage in 217 plate appearances.
“He has really started to understand a game plan from at-bat No. 1 each day,” Las Vegas hitting coach Jack Voigt said. “He realized early in the year that he was not always going to get a fastball in a fastball count in Triple-A. He is improving his plate discipline every day, and that has translated into a better approach as well as some added power this year.”
St. Lucie shortstop Amed Rosario rightfully gets plenty of hype, but Cecchini is two years older and two levels closer to the majors. Cecchini was drafted four years ago this month, but said: “It literally feels like it’s yesterday. I can remember vividly being in New York for the draft. At the time I didn’t know the Mets were going to pick me. I knew they really, really liked me a lot. But I wasn’t 100 percent sure they were going to pick me with the 12th overall pick. And then my name was called and it was a great feeling.”
For now, Cecchini exclusively has played shortstop. He has not been asked by the organization to diversify like some of the other Mets' infield prospects. And with Asdrubal Cabrera clicking in the majors, that means Cecchini for the time being is boxed out of a promotion.
The positive byproduct: While with Las Vegas this season, Cecchini had the opportunity to be in uniform in the same game as his 25-year-old brother for the first time since they were the double-play tandem in high school. Garin, who has appeared in 13 major league games with the Red Sox, currently is playing in the Pacific Coast League for Colorado Springs, a Brewers affiliate.
Cecchini’s parents were on hand for that May 19-22 series. While playing for their father in high school in Louisiana, Gavin played second base as a freshman and his junior-year brother played shortstop. Midway through the following season, Garin suffered a knee injury and Gavin moved to shortstop for the duration of his prep career.
Cecchini has been slowed by injuries at points during his pro career. A left shoulder strain suffered on a swing forced him to halt his Arizona Fall League participation after four games. It also scrapped his planned participation with Team USA in the Premier 12 Tournament in Asia during the offseason. Residual inflammation in spring training led to a cortisone shot and kept him out of Grapefruit League action.
“Ever since then it’s been good,” Cecchini said.
Now, Cecchini feels like he's "really close” to launching a major league career, although he adds, “obviously it’s the organization’s call.”
Cecchini does have 20 errors this season, although eight came in a recent six-game span. He said he has been particularly intent on remaining focused each and every play, which should remedy that issue.
“I know that I’ve made a few errors this year on plays that I might have taken off,” Cecchini said. “For example, I’m ready the first 20 pitches of the game. And then the 21st pitch, because it’s just a pitch, I’m saying, ‘OK, I’m going to take the pitch off.’ And I’m not focused and mentally prepared, saying, ‘Hey, the ball is going to be hit to me.’ The next thing you know that ball is hit to me and, oh, man, I make that error because my feet aren’t in good position to make the play.
“That’s the main thing I’ve really been working on this year is just staying focused out there and being ready every single pitch. As you keep moving up, the game gets faster, the guys get stronger, they start hitting the ball harder. So you’ve really got to be ready and on your toes every single pitch expecting the ball to be hit to you.”
Average: Nick Sergakis, Brooklyn, .389; T.J. Rivera, Vegas, .363; Wuilmer Becerra, St. Lucie, .327; Brandon Nimmo, Vegas, .323; Gavin Cecchini, Vegas, .323; Amed Rosario, St. Lucie, .310; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, .310; Tomas Nido, St. Lucie, .292; Vinny Siena, Columbia, .291; Dilson Herrera, Vegas, .291.
Homers: Marc Krauss, Vegas, 11; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 11; Dilson Herrera, Vegas, 10; Johnny Monell, Vegas, 9.
RBIs: Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 60; T.J. Rivera, Vegas, 52; David Thompson, Columbia, 49; Dominic Smith, Binghamton, 43; Amed Rosario, St. Lucie, 40.
Steals: Champ Stuart, St. Lucie, 19; Amed Rosario, St. Lucie, 13; Patrick Biondi, St. Lucie, 12; Roger Bernadina, Vegas, 11; J.C. Rodriguez, Columbia, 9.
ERA: Dillon Becker, Brooklyn, 0.00; Bryce Beeler, Brooklyn, 0.00; Franklin Correa, Brooklyn, 0.00; Merandy Gonzalez, Brooklyn, 0.00; Raul Jacobson, Brooklyn, 0.00; Joseph Zanghi, Brooklyn, 0.00; Harol Gonzalez, Brooklyn, 1.80; Taylor Henry, Brooklyn, 1.80; P.J. Conlon, Columbia, 1.84; Ricky Knapp, St. Lucie, 1.92.
Saves: Alex Palsha, Columbia 11; Corey Taylor, St. Lucie, 9; Paul Sewald, Vegas, 8; Akeel Morris, Binghamton, 6.
Strikeouts: Tyler Pill, Binghamton, 71; Sean Gilmartin, Vegas, 68; Joe Shaw, Columbia, 67; Corey Oswalt, St. Lucie, 63.
T.J. Rivera is close to returning from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him since last Tuesday. Rivera is hitting .363/.402/.523 in 237 at-bats with Las Vegas.
Left-handed reliever Chase Huchingson on Tuesday made his first appearance with the 51s since April 18. He had been sidelined with elbow soreness.
Kevin Plawecki is due to join Las Vegas on Wednesday. He was demoted with Travis d’Arnaud activated from the DL.
Wally Backman will manage the Pacific Coast League All-Stars in the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 13 in Charlotte.
Josh Edgin’s fastball velocity gradually has been creeping higher. It’s currently sitting at 91-92 mph. Edgin has not allowed a run in 13 1/3 relief innings with Las Vegas. He has surrendered eight hits and six walks while striking out 16. However, lefty batters are hitting .240 against him (6-for-25), whereas righty batters are hitting .111 (2-for-18).
With the first half essentially complete for St. Lucie, Amed Rosario’s promotion to Binghamton may be nearing. Rosario is hitting .310 with three homers, 40 RBIs and 13 steals in 286 plate appearances in his second season in the Florida State League.
Kingsport opens its season Thursday against Elizabethton. Left-hander Thomas Szapucki, a fifth-round pick last year out of high school in Florida, gets the Opening Day start. The standout pitching staff also features Max Wotell, Adonis Uceta and Jose Medina.
Newly signed first-round pick Justin Dunn, a Boston College product from Freeport on Long Island, is at least 10 days away from his first pitching appearance with the Brooklyn Cyclones. Dunn is expected to work every five days once he is given the green light to enter games. He may get more than one inning each appearance because he began the college season as the closer and therefore did not log as many innings as some other drafted pitchers.
The Cyclones opened their season with two of the longest three games in franchise history. They played 20 innings in Friday’s opener, then 17 innings three days later. The only longer game was a 26-inning affair in 2006. Six different position players had pitched in the first 15 seasons of Cyclones baseball. Three position players saw action on the mound in the first four games of this season.
Nick Sergakis, who was drafted in the 23rd round out of Ohio State, had a five-hit game Monday for Brooklyn. That matched the Cyclones record.
Binghamton’s Phillip Evans lost a 14-game hitting streak Saturday. It was the longest streak by a B-Met this season. He hit .407 during the stretch.
Binghamton right-hander David Roseboom has stranded all 18 inherited runners this season.
Columbia third baseman David Thompson landed back on the disabled list with a slight hamstring strain. Thompson’s 49 RBIs are tied for the South Atlantic League lead.
“Farm Report” appears on Wednesdays during the regular season