I’m one of those guys that is always rooting for the underdog. I like seeing a good Cinderella story and find joy watching people overcome the odds to succeed. There is perhaps no one in the Royals farm system with a better opportunity to create their own Cinderella story than Garin Cecchini.
Garin Cecchini was drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox. After a great 2012 season and a monster 2013 campaign, Cecchini found himself ranked as the 6th best prospect for the Red Sox, according to Baseball America: one spot ahead of Mookie Betts.
Cecchini played the 2014 season in AAA and hit the ball pretty well, posting a .712 OPS. The biggest problem was that his SLG% had dropped exactly 100 points from 2013, going from .471 to .371. Nonetheless, Cecchini was given the chance to make his MLB debut with Boston in 2014 and had an OPS of .813 (.452 SLG%), including his first career big league HR in his 31 at bats.
Then it all fell apart in 2015. A Bubba Starling type of collapse. In 422 AAA at bats in 2015, Cecchini slashed .213/.286/.296/.583 with 100 K in 117 games. He was promptly traded to Milwaukee in the offseason, where he slashed .271/.325/.380/.705 with 5 HR in 424 at bats at AAA. Milwaukee cut him, and the Royals scooped him up.
In 2017 Cecchini slashed .266/.296/.393/.690 with only 4 HR in 290 at bats in a very hitter-friendly ballpark in Omaha. His bat seems to have completely escaped him, and you can imagine that a guy’s confidence would be shattered after his fall from grace.
But I think Garin Cecchini has one more shot. One more shot to over come the odds and turn his career around. The Royals aren’t exactly going to be loaded with infield prospects at AAA next season and I think Cecchini will be given the chance to play every day. He’s a guy that can play multiple positions on the infield and can carry some value if he can just remember how to hit.
Once the 55th best prospect in all of baseball, Cecchini may be down to his last chance to hit in affiliated ball. If he succeeds, the Royals will have found a gem of a Cinderella story. If not, he will go down as one of thousands of talented ball players to never quite figure it out.
Photo Credits: MLB.com