When a team is in the midst of a rebuild, as the Milwaukee Brewers are, acquiring talent at a low price is a must, especially when said team is strapped for cash. I mean, let’s face it, the Brewers aren’t the Dodgers. They don’t have money to just give away. Instead, they are forced to find cheap talent and take fliers on thus far underachieving players. Rebuilding teams’ goal is to find that hidden gem, that player who teams have given up on, the player with hidden value.
A player just like Garin Cecchini.
Cecchini was once one of Boston’s most-prized prospects. Before the 2014 season, he was ranked the 74th prospect in all of baseball. With strong on-base skills and solid defense at third base, many in Boston were excited about this young kid. But after a 2015 season in Triple-A, a season in which Cecchini was absolutely atrocious, the Red Sox quickly threw in the towel and traded him the Brewers for cash considerations. That’s right. Cash considerations. A former top prospect being moved for cash. What a world we live in.
According to the depth chart on the Brewers’ website, Jonathan Villar is currently the club’s starter at third base. I highly doubt that will be the case come Opening Day. To me, only Cecchini and Will Middlebrooks — also a former Red Sox — have a real shot at the starter’s job. With Middlebrooks, however, we know what we’re going to get from him; marginal defense with a very low OBP. He’s more of a depth player than anything else at this point in his career. Cecchini can be more than that, though.
Cecchini will be 25 just a few weeks after the 2016 season starts, which means he’s still relatively young among baseball standards. And if you forget his year last season, he’s been a damn good minor-league baseball player. His biggest skill set is being able to get on base, something he’s done at a .340 mark or higher in every year of his minor-league career (excluding 2015). That includes a .420 OBP in 295 plate appearances in Double-A. The dude clearly knows how to get on base. Once he’s on base, he can steal a few bags, too, He stole 51 bases in Single-A in 2012.
He has almost no power, which is odd for a third baseman. Usually the hot corner requires somewhat of a home run threat. But the fact that he’s a left-handed hitter surely helps him as Milwaukee’s roster has a plethora of righties. Cechinni also won’t kill you defensively. He’s no gold glove, but he can get the job done. He’ll surely be better than Juan Francisco.
The main reason I’m not concerned about Cechinni’s lackluster performance in 2015 is because he actually decreased his K rate. Plus, while his BB% did drop, it wasn’t overly significant. Last year Cecchini was plagued by an abnormally low BABIP, and his stats suffered because of it. I don’t see that happening again.
By no means do I think Cechinni will be the next star in Milwaukee, but he has a chance to redeem himself and his career and become a good player. The Brewers have nothing at all to lose by acquiring him while they have everything to gain. There’s no risk involved here. Moves like this are exactly what GM David Stearns needs to continue doing. This is what rebuilding is.
To quote 50 Cent, Garin Cecchini could be “the diamond in the dirt that ain’t been found.”