Garin Cecchini, 3B
You haven't heard much about Cecchini's low slugging in 2012 this year, and with good reason. He's already hit three homers, four triples, and eight doubles in under 100 plate appearances, has an equal number of walks and strikeouts, and just to top it off has already hit double-digits in steals. Baseball America's Ben Badler said Cecchini's approach is "polished" and that he's "really starting to drive the ball this year," and that could mean Cecchini is finally having that breakout year that his long doubles and still-projectable body suggested was in his future.
Obviously, he's not going to hit nearly .400 all season, but he doesn't have to in order to produce a high-quality line. He's a career .315/.405/.478 hitter with an impressive plate discipline, developing power, and baserunning prowess that extends beyond just swiping bags. He's still just 22, and while his glove isn't as developed as his bat, he's expected to be able to continue to handle the hot corner. He's on the radars of some prospect analysts already, but if he keeps it up, he's going to be hard to miss going forward.
Sean Coyle, 2B
Coyle struggled in his first go of it at High-A in 2012, but he was also 20 years old and dealt with some injuries. A year later, he's looking a lot more like the second base prospect people were excited about heading into last season, as he's hitting for lots of power and, unlike before, making good contact. There are problems that will likely rear their head before the year is out -- he's punching out 25 percent of the time, and he's not drawing nearly enough free passes given his low contact rates. There is time to improve on those areas, though, and if he can develop his power to be a legitimate weapon in his arsenal at the plate, he might see a fewer balls in the strike zone, anyway.
That's what you hope happens, but pitchers could also attack him more in vulnerable areas, rendering his power less effective. It's unclear what side of this cat-and-mouse game Coyle will end up on, but for now, he's succeeding with serious pop.
Mike Augliera, RHP
Augliera isn't posting strikeout numbers like he did last year with the Drive, but it's a positive development to see that he has yet to give up a home run. Augliera led the NCAA in K/BB last spring before he was drafted by the Red Sox, but it was clear from his early pitching with Low-A Greenville that, while he had mastered throwing pitches in the strike zone, within it was something else entirely. Command is a significant part of the game, especially for someone like Augliera who isn't going to blow you away with pure stuff. The fact his hit rate looks fairly normal, and his homer rate is made up of zeros, could mean good things.
As it's just one month we're talking about, it could also be a whole lot of luck, so that and the strength of his strikeout rates are the keys to look for in this, his first full season as a professional pitcher.
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