Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
In the early going this season, the Red Sox’ offense has seen more than its fair share of struggles. The best offensive team in baseball just a year ago, the Red Sox has been far from potent this season and has slipped to 16th in baseball and 11th in the American League. Though it’s far from the only concern in the team’s offense, the Red Sox have gotten well below-average production from third base. Will Middlebrooks has been far from the spark that the Red Sox have needed this season and, for the second time this season, he is on the disabled list. Brock Holt has not been the answer in his limited time this season and it begs the question of whether the Red Sox should knock out two birds with one stone and recall Garin Cecchini from Triple-A Pawtucket, adding a viable third baseman and potentially sparking the offense.
Cecchini is just a step away from Boston and is already on the 40-man roster. It would be relatively little hassle to recall the 23-year old and he has the tools to have a smooth transition to Major League Baseball.
Throughout his Minor League career, Cecchini’s calling card has been his plate discipline and on-base ability and that has held true in 2014. In his first 153 plate appearances of the season, he has slashed .303/.392/.371 with 6 doubles and 1 home run for Pawtucket. He has shown his trademark plate discipline and his on-base percentage in 8th in the International League; however, there are a few flaws in his game that could keep him in Triple-A for a little longer.
While he has reached base at an excellent rate throughout his professional career, his power is yet to develop. That’s not a huge deal, and Cecchini can still be effective without being a power hitter, but one would expect a 6’3″, 220 pound third baseman to grow into a bit more power.
Defensively, there are also concerns regarding Cecchini. In fact, his defense may be the only reason that Cecchini is still in Pawtucket with Middlebrooks languishing on the disabled list; John Farrell cited Cecchini’s defensive development, or lack thereof, as the reason that Brock Holt was recalled over one of the top prospects in the Red Sox’ system. However, Cecchini appears committed to improving his defense and commented on that fact in a recent interview.
"I can promise you this: I’m going to be good enough to play in the big leagues defensively and play a consistent third base. I will improve and I will be a good defensive third baseman in the big leagues for the Red Sox."
If Cecchini can improve his defense over the course of the season and maybe improve his power, though that’s unlikely to occur mid-season, then he will be in Boston, possibly permanently, by the end of the season. In fact, if Brock Holt is unable to fill in at a respectable level, then it’s conceivable that Cecchini could be in Boston by the end of June. That’s good news for the Red Sox as Cecchini seems to be the best candidate within the organization to really make a different and serve as a spark plug in the Red Sox’ offense.