SoxProspects News

February 12, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Cecchini pursuing improvement every day


BOSTON, Mass. -- Garin Cecchini makes no bones about his approach to the game of baseball. As far as he's concerned, if he's not finding a way to improve on a daily basis, then he's doing something wrong.

“It's all about getting better every day,” Cecchini said at the Jan. 19 New Stars for Young Stars fundraising event. “I mean, are you a better writer than you were three years ago? Probably so. That's what it's all about. You're better than you were last year and as long as you keep developing like that you're going to be... anybody's going to be fine as long as you keep going up.”

One area in which Cecchini made noticeable improvements last season in Low A Greenville was base running. The 21-year-old stole 51 bases while only being caught six times en route to winning the Red Sox Minor League Base Runner of the Year award. Grading as having just slightly above-average speed by SoxProspects.com scouts, Cecchini explained that speed is only one aspect of his success swiping bags.

“I mean, you can't be slow,” said the third baseman who currently sits at seventh on our top prospects board. “But it's instincts man, being a baseball player. That's what it's all about. I think baseball has gotten away from having as many baseball players. You have to have baseball players; you can't teach instincts. You're blessed with it, you're born with it. It's one of those things where I'm studying pitchers and studying the game so I know when I can steal and when I can't.”

Cecchini had just 12 stolen bases in his first season in the organization in 2011. That total likely would have been higher though had a wrist fracture not limited him to 32 games with the Lowell Spinners. Cecchini was coming on strong that year when a pitch struck him in the wrist, ending his season in late July. Having dealt with an ACL tear his senior season in high school, he has experience staying motivated while not being able to get on the field. 

“Injuries are part of the game, and all athletes are going to go through [them],” he said. “It’s how you bounce back. Are you going to have the same attitude and drive that you had before the injury?”

Having played an abbreviated version of the short-season schedule in 2011, one would imagine the jump to full-season ball would be especially tiring for Cecchini, as it often is for any players making that jump. After all, Cecchini played in 86 more games with Greenville than he had the season prior. Not so, said the player.

“No, not at all man,” he said on if he wore down at the end of 2012. “It all depends on your offseason. If you train hard during the offseason, harder than what it's going to be during the season then you'll be fine. It's all about taking it day-by-day.”

The former fourth-round pick improved on his average and on-base percentage last season, hitting .305/.394/.433 in 455 at-bats, but power was one area that regressed a bit. Though Cecchini had 38 doubles and four triples, he had just four home runs last season, a step back from the rate at which he hit them out in Lowell where he had three and a .500 slugging percentage. Power is often the last tool to develop and our scouts see him as having slightly above-average power potential, but regression is never positive. For his part, he’s not focused on the home run totals specifically.

“I'm not worried about the power,” he said. “The power's going to come. It's hard enough to put the bat on the ball, much less try to hit a home run. I could care less about the power to tell you the truth, if you can hit you can hit. If you can help the team win, either by a double or a home run, it doesn't really matter.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Cecchini continues his transition from playing shortstop in high school. Some players may see sliding over to third as an easy switch, but Cecchini emphasized how he had to learn what he was doing wrong initially and how far he’s come at the position.

“It's going great,” he said on the transition. “I've been working with our infield coordinator, Andy Fox. I worked with Carlos [Febles], our manager, every single day. I attribute to them really helping me with my defensive fundamentals. I was doing some stuff wrong coming out of high school, like flipping the glove and my feet weren't moving right. But like I said it's all about getting better every day.”

Again, it comes back to that similar theme for the young infielder.

“If I get 1 percent better every day at anything [I’ll be happy],” he said. “The mental game -- everything -- being a better teammate. If I get better at all of those things then I'm going to be on the right development path. It takes time to be a big leaguer, and I know that.

“That's my goal, and I'm going to be a big leaguer.”  


Photo credit: Garin Cecchini by Kelly O'Connor


Matt Huegel is Managing Editor for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattHuegelSP.


 
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