I apologize for the late post today. An overaggressive garbage truck pulled my mailbox out of the ground this morning and I spent some time fixing that after I got home from the field. So I apologize!
This is one of Alex’s favorite pitchers and there is a good possibility that he does not make it to 32. He is not in line at fourth overall because he isn’t in the tier of Hancock and Lacy. I don’t think Meyer and Detmers are either, but some people are mocking Hancock after Meyer and Detmers right behind. So, what do I know?
If Cecconi is available at 32, he deserves strong consideration along with several other pitchers. Like I mentioned the other day, the entire Hurricanes weekend staff is deserving of a high selection.
Slade Cecconi is a big bodied draft eligible sophomore who pitches for the University of Miami. Cecconi serves as the Sunday starter for the Canes behind two very capable pitchers ahead of him. In fact, of the three, Cecconi might hear his name called first in the draft. On many other teams, he would be the Friday guy.
Cecconi has a big frame with wide shoulders. He looks like a pitcher who can easily withstand the rigors of a starter workload in professional baseball. He pitches with a little bit of emotion and looks like the big man on campus standing in the center of the diamond.
Cecconi throws hard routinely hitting 95 with his fastball. I’ve seen the pitch work between 93 and 97 this spring. The pitch has a little bit of arm side life but is at its best when Cecconi is throwing downhill. Cecconi still tries to muscle the fastball at times and loses the downhill trajectory and life. The strength of his fastball is that Cecconi can hold his velocity deep into games.
Cecconi works in a cutter as well. The pitch has a little bit of run away from right-handed hitters and bite into left-handed hitters. The pitch isn’t a swing and miss offering, just a variation from his fastball. As he gets better with the pitch, Cecconi can use this to get some quick outs like Tommy Mace does.
Cecconi also throws a slider between 84 and 89. The pitch has a smaller but good, late break. It has both vertical and horizontal movement breaking between 1:00 to 7:00 and 10:30 to 4:30 from the catcher’s perspective. That can be a tough variance for a catch as Cecconi can be inconsistent with this pitch. The slider is a difference maker when it is on. He needs to be more consistent with this pitch in pro ball. When he slows this pitch down, it really can break well.
The change up is what separates starters and relievers most of the time at the higher levels. Cecconi doesn’t use his change up very often and will need to use it more in pro ball. The coaching staff at Miami calls all the pitches so this isn’t really his fault. Cecconi’s change flashes plus at times sinking away from left-handed hitters with a good separation of velocity from his fastball. It is very difficult to see.
Cecconi works from the first base side of the rubber using a slow and smooth windup. He doesn’t lift his leg high like some pitchers, but uses a lower leg lift before driving to the plate. Out of the stretch, he uses a low leg lift that is quick to the plate. Cecconi doesn’t have a great pickoff move but doesn’t struggle to hold runners.
Cecconi needs to be more aggressive attacking the strike zone. He got behind in a lot of counts during the 2020 spring and averaged just over 5.0 innings per start. He didn’t get pulled from those starts because he was struggling, it was because his pitch count was up. Once Cecconi gets his first pitch strike percentage dialed in, he will be able to go much deeper into games. Cecconi struck out 30 batters in 21.1 innings but those strikeouts all seemed to be in 2-2 or 3-2 counts. That just means five or six pitches per batter meaning a higher number per inning.
Cecconi is a solid starting pitcher prospect. I originally thought he would probably go after the first round but now I’m not so sure. Cecconi is a probably mid-rotation starter who could really see strong results and a solid MLB career once he locks in his command. There are pitchers who are more advanced in their development but there is no doubt that if Cecconi can become more efficient with his counts, he will be really good.
We are getting closer and closer to Draft Day! Make sure you check out the other names we’ve looked at in the 2020 MLB Draft Profile library so that you are up to date on all the possibilities.
Image from The Miami Herald taken by David Santiago.