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SoxProspects News

March 21, 2011 at 8:19 AM

2011 Prospect Previews: Garin Cecchini and Brandon Workman

Today's edition of the series focuses on two of the new additions to the Red Sox organization looking to begin their development tracks and establish themselves within the system.

Garin Cecchini
Position: Third Base
2010 Team: Did not play
2011 Projected Team: Lowell Spinners
Opening Day Age: 19

Strengths: Filled out pretty well physically for his age, Cecchini possesses top notch tools and is one of the Red Sox organization’s newest high ceiling players. Hitting from a more closed stance, he whips the head of the bat quickly through the strike zone from the left side of the plate with quick hands, generating strong torque and rotation with his hips. Capable of driving the ball with excellent backspin, Cecchini’s swing produces natural upward arc to the point of contact and line drives come off his bat very smoothly. Already on the strong side, as he continues to physically mature and learn the strike zone he can begin to fully tap into his power, which has plus potential. With good hands and the early makings of being able to use them well to stay inside the baseball, Cecchini looks to have the type of power that can play well to all fields while producing high rates of contact in the process. A former shortstop in High School, he’s begun the transition to third base in the professional ranks. Athletic and smooth with his actions, his defensive package is highlighted by fluid reactions, soft hands, and a plus arm that plays up well at the hot corner. Cecchini has the overall talent and tools to round into an above-average player on both sides of the ball as he begins to polish his game over the course of the coming seasons.

Development Needs: Suffering an ACL injury during this past High School season, Cecchini was brought along slowly after signing and is now getting his first taste of game action. Not playing much baseball in the last year, he’s coming back up to speed along with beginning his transition to facing more advanced pitching on a daily basis. He has some work to do going forward with building his pitch recognition and honing his approach. Cecchini is very quick through the hitting zone, but at times can be too quick and over-rotate his hips, which causes his bat to get too far out and for the head of the bat to yank at the ball. He can also get out early on his front leg against secondary offerings, but initially has shown that he is trying to be mindful of leaving his hands back. Focusing on keeping his weight back and looking up the middle in his early career will be keys to beginning to build the foundation for using the entire field as a hitter. Cecchini will also need to sharpen his selectivity at the plate and learn which pitches are best for him to do the most damage against, along with limiting chasing secondary offerings outside the strike zone. Possessing the skills to become an above-average defensive third baseman down the line, his work going forward should focus on learning the proper angles and getting more repetitions at the position to continue polishing his glove. As he further physically matures, it will be important for him not to get too stiff and lose too much of his athleticism.

2011 Outlook: In his first Spring Training with the organization, Cecchini appears likely to stay back in Extended Spring Training when the full season teams head north and then be assigned to the New York-Penn League with the Lowell Spinners. The dedicated attention and instruction will be good for him to catch up on the missed time, while he will also continue to be exposed to advanced pitching without the pressure of regular season game action right off the bat. A placement this summer with Lowell will be a good challenge for Cecchini, but also one that as he settles in and gets comfortable can produce nice positive results. Signs that he is adjusting smoothly to the pitching and picking up secondary offerings well should show with higher rates of consistent contact and lower strikeout totals as the season moves along. Although big power totals shouldn’t be expected in the initial stages of his offensive development, Cecchini has the ability to flash some power and show glimpses of his plus power potential. Ready to start his career in the lower levels of the Red Sox system, 2011 is a season for him to work on his near-term development needs and start polishing off some of his rough edges. By season’s end, he should be showing the traits of being ready for a full-season assignment in 2012 and in the process can show he’s on a track to become one of the better position player prospects within the organization.

Brandon Workman
Position: Starting Pitcher
2010 Team: Did not play
2011 Projected Team: Salem Red Sox
Opening Day Age: 22

Strengths: A righty with a big frame and solid base, Workman comes after hitters from a ¾ arm slot. Featuring a fastball with a lot of late life, this offering sits 92-93 MPH and can top out at 94 MPH when he reaches back. When on top of his fastball, it shows some run across the strike zone in on left-handed batters and late finish moving slightly downward. This offering is at its best when it is slicing through the corners and operating from the thighs down to the knees. He possesses the type of velocity and movement to get a lot of late swings or swings and misses with his fastball. Workman’s go-to pitch is his high-80s cutter, which can give opposing hitters fits. The variation in velocity from his fastball along with the late break makes it a tough pitch to square up when he’s snapping it off consistently. This piece of his repertoire already grades out as plus and can be a devastating out-pitch for him as he further sharpens his feel for it. Workman should be equally tough on both righties and lefties due to this offering. Despite being longer with his arm action during his delivery, he’s able to consistently repeat his release point and make it work. With good pace and balance, he limits the instances of rushing his delivery and generally exhibits good command of his arsenal.

Development Needs: Workman has struggled with the consistency of his curveball in the past and needs to polish off the snap he gets with the pitch. When on, his mid-70s curve is of the over-hand variety and breaks down through the strike zone with good depth. However, he can hang the offering causing it to roll more towards the plate and become very easy for hitters to drive with authority. If Workman can round out this pitch, it will give him another solid secondary offering to attack opposing batters with and compliment his cutter nicely. Not having much of a need for it in the college ranks, developing his changeup to play off his fastball will help him stick as a starter as he reaches the upper levels of the Red Sox system. Workman uses this pitch very infrequently, but could pick up the feel for it quickly over the next couple of seasons. Having good movement with his fastball when down in the zone and effective on the corners, it tends to flatten out up in the zone and is hittable when in the middle of the plate. Now facing more advanced professional hitters, he’ll need to work on constantly finishing through his delivery to enhance the command with his fastball in the lower portion of the strike zone.

2011 Outlook: In his first Spring Training with the Red Sox organization, Workman has begun his progression to throwing in game action and looks likely to break camp with the Salem Red Sox when their season starts in April. More advanced with his stuff coming out of college, an initial placement in High-A will be a good test for him to push his arsenal against hitters more in line with his level of development. After settling into professional baseball and getting a few outings under his belt, Workman has the potential to begin to show pretty good strikeout rates and the ability to limit the solid contact made against him. A key to being successful this season is learning how to pitch inside to batters, especially right-handed ones. Good success with keeping his hit totals lower is a good sign that his curveball is beginning to become more consistent and that he’s effectively snapping off his cutter. As the season moves along, Workman has a chance to push himself into consideration for a promotion to Double-A in the later months of the year. It would be at this level that his ultimate projection as a pitcher would start to come into focus. For now, he’s going to follow the path of a starter and try to further polish his arsenal, but could fall into a late inning relief role in the future. Drafted this past year and one of the players in the system with a highly anticipated debut season, 2011 will be a year where Workman gets to cut his teeth as a professional pitcher. There is also potential for him to begin pushing himself up the ranks of the depth chart, giving a glimpse of when he could possibly contribute to the major league team in the next two or three seasons.