Garin Cecchini, 3B
Cecchini had himself a fine 2012 campaign, though, maybe not quite what people expected given he slugged over .500 in the short-season, pitching-heavy New York-Penn League the year prior. Still, there was a lot to like about a .305/.394/.433 season from the 21-year-old third baseman in his first taste of full-season ball, as he showed quality contact skills, displayed advanced plate discipline, stole 51 bases in 57 attempts, and showed himself to likely be capable of handling the hot corner long term.
His 2013 follow-up is off to a good start, with Cecchini already nabbing three bags against more advanced catchers, while putting up a pretty looking line over his first 20 plate appearances. This is a big year for Cecchini, as Portland, for all its prospect wealth, has two fringe types in Michael Almanzar and Kolbrin Vitek handling third. If he can prove himself early and often against High-A arms, maybe he'll see his development sped up a bit by the end of the year, taking time away from those two post-promotion. Of course, he'll have to make those strides offensively first. But don't be surprised if Cecchini, now a year older, sees a few more doubles turn into homers this time around.
Sean Coyle, 2B
Coyle's 2012 was a lot rougher than Cecchini's, as he .249/.316/.391 in his first exposure to High-A pitching. Without context, that's disappointing, but when you throw in that Coyle slapped together a .247/.362/.464 line with 48 extra-base hits including 14 homers the year before at Low-A Greenville, and that disappointment takes on another level. It's just been a few games, but it's for that reason that it's good to see Coyle start out hot.
The 5-foot-8 Coyle isn't a highly impressive prospect, but there is a chance he could be something useful. He has plate discipline, albeit plate discipline that needs some work, and some pop in his bat. He's only 21 as well, so even though he's repeating High-A, he's actually a year and change younger than the average Carolina League hitter. If he does better in his second chance, he'll likely get the kind of notice he did a year ago at this time, before his performance stole all of that interest away.
Mike Augliera, RHP
Augliera, at this stage, is likely best known for signing well under slot in the first amateur entry draft where that mattered for more than just keeping a team on commissioner Bud Selig's good side. Augliera, their fifth-round pick, had a slot value of $243,000, but signed for just $25,000 as a college senior with little leverage, allowing Boston to distribute those funds to other players that would need more than their slot to sign.
Thinking of him in just that way isn't fair to him, though, as he led the NCAA in strikeout-to-walk ratio in his senior year, and, despite early struggles after turning pro, showed growth in terms of understanding the difference between throwing a strike and throwing a quality strike last summer. Augliera's control is phenomenal, but it's command that will get him to the majors someday. If he can sharpen his command to the point where he can not only throw strikes, but consistently throw them where hitters can't punish him for it, then he'll end up with a career in relief in the majors. Not too shabby for a fifth-round college senior whose appeal was signability.
Before we award him a 2015 roster spot and bullpen job, though, let's see if he can get through High-A Salem, where he skipped to after playing in short-season Lowell last year. He's certainly old enough for the level, but came into the year with just 38 professional innings to his credit. There might be some bumps early, as there were in 2012.
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