The End Is Near For New York Mets Prospect Cesar Puello
One thing to keep in mind with the New York Mets‘ contingent of September call-ups is that with three of the Mets’ minor league affiliates making the postseason, it’ll take a week or two until the full list of prospects the Mets intend to call up arrive. But one prospect that you shouldn’t expect the Mets to bring up when the triple-A playoffs are over is Cesar Puello, whose days in the Mets organization could be numbered.
Puello is on the team’s 40-man roster, so it would be easy for the Mets to bring him up at anytime this September; but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Puello has been on the 40-man roster since November 2011, even though he was still in A-ball at the time, as the Mets have been compelled to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft and avoid exposing him to waivers due to his five-tool talent and high upside. But nearly three years later, Puello still hasn’t reached the big leagues, and the Mets may be losing patience and becoming more apt to cut ties with him.
In his first season on the 40-man roster in 2012, Puello remained in A-ball for a second straight year and had an injury-plagued season, struggling to turn his talent into production. Puello finally started to break out in 2013 in double-A, hitting a line of .326/.403/.547. With that performance, Puello looked like a player who deserved a September promotion, as well as someone who could be ready to contribute in the big leagues full time at some point in 2014. However, Puello served a 50-game PED suspension at the end of season, preventing him from receiving or deserving a promotion to the majors last September.
Despite the suspension, there was hope at the start of 2014 that Puello could pick up where he left off, but that didn’t happen. Throughout the 2014 season, Puello has had the same problems he had earlier in his career: He didn’t show an advanced approach, he didn’t take walks and even in a hitter-friendly league he struggled to generate consistent power, hitting a line of .252/.355/.393. With that kind of regression following such a promising 2013 season, the Mets may be growing tired of waiting for Puello to put it all together and tiring of him taking up a spot on the 40-man roster.
Puello’s struggles and lack of plate discipline started to cost him playing time the second half of the season. It’s not so much that Puello’s playing time diminished; it’s that he was put on the bench in favor of players who were non-prospects, and all along there were whispers from within the organization that the Mets didn’t consider Puello much of a prospect.
Between those rumors and Puello’s struggles this season, don’t be surprised if the Mets once again pass on making him a September call-up. Nor should anyone be surprised if the Mets remove him from the 40-man roster this winter. They’ve given Puello plenty of time to make the most of his talents, and he hasn’t done so. There’s little reason for the Mets to continue waiting.