Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
Mets minor league OF Cesar Puello was suspended 50 games in early August for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
Before that, the 22-year-old was having a breakout year in Double-A, increasing his walk rate from the year before and hitting .326 with a .403 OBP and 16 HR in 377 plate appearances.
According to Baseball America’s Josh Norris, Puello didn’t make their Top Prospects in the Eastern League list, mostly because of the his connection to Biogensis.
However, Norris concluded, “It also didn’t help that people within the Mets organization have told me beforehand that they don’t really consider him a prospect.”
In defense of Norris, I got the same impression last Spring and the year before when talking to people in St. Lucie, as well. However, that certainly started to change this summer, when around the trade deadline insiders started talking about him as a possible late-season promotion. The suspension obviously derailed that.
“The PED aspect of his season certainly can’t be dismissed, but I personally think had little to do with his success,” Sandy Alderson said at the end of the season, in regards to Puello, according to TCPalm.com. “I think what had the most to do with his success was a shift in approach, mentally, to the game — not chasing pitches, playing a little bit more within himself, taking advantage of physical ability.”
The talk this summer was that, given his strength and ability to adjust at every level, Puello has the potential to hit 20 or so home runs and bat around .280 in the big-leagues. The suspension will hang over his head, but I still think we’ll hear him mentioned a lot next Spring and probably see him in Queens by summer.