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  1. #1
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    Savannah Sand Gnats 2014 Roster

    Milb.com
    Savannah, GA- The Sand Gnats, in conjunction with New York Mets, have announced the initial 2014 Sand Gnats roster. The Sand Gnats will defend the South Atlantic League title with the help of two first round draft picks: first baseman Dominic Smith and shortstop Gavin Cecchini. Joining them will be the core of the 2013 Class-A Short Season Brooklyn Cyclones pitching staff that held down a 2.79 ERA including starters Robert Gsellman, Miller Diaz, and Savannah native, John Gant.

    John Gant will return to his roots in Savannah, Ga., after a breakout season last year with the Brooklyn Cyclones. The 6'3" righthander compiled a 2.89 ERA over 13 starts while striking out 81 batters, the most in New York Penn League behind only his Cyclones teammate Miller Diaz. Gant was born in Savannah, Ga., but moved to Wesley Chapel, Fla., as a youth, where he competed for Wiregrass Ranch High School in the competitive 7A district and was named the St. Petersburg Time's All-North Suncoast Pitcher of the Year. The Mets drafted Gant in the 21st round in 2011.

    When 18-year-old Dominic Smith heads out to first base on opening night, he will represent the highest draft pick to play for the Sand Gnats since the team became a Mets Affiliate in 2007. The Los Angeles, Calif., product was drafted by the Mets in the first round (11th overall) out of Serra High School. The 6-foot-tall first baseman hit .301 with 17 extra base hits over just 51 games with the Gulf Coast League Mets and then, briefly, the Kingsport Mets. Smith's debut earned him a Sterling Award, an award issued by the Mets to the most valuable player for each of the organization's nine minor league affiliates. Mets Scouting Director Tommy Tanous has said that Smith, "wakes up in the morning, and he's ready to swing the bat."

    Smith was ranked No. 92 on Baseball America's top 101 prospect list and No. 37 on Keith Law's ESPN top 100 prospect list. Smith is a proud alumnus of MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) and Urban Youth Academy (UYA) initiatives. Upon being drafted, Smith credited much of his success to the youth programs. "They exposed me to so much baseball and got me to this point. Without them, I wouldn't even be here," Smith told MLB.com. Along with fellow 2013 first round pick and close friend Philadelphia Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford, Smith represents the newest generation of African American and minority players to succeed with the help of RBI and the UYA.

    In 2012, Gavin Cecchini (CHA-KEE-NEE) was drafted by the Mets in the 1st round (12th overall) out of Alfred M. Barbe High School in Lake Charles, La. The 6'1" shortstop has always been around the game thanks to his baseball family. Gavin's older brother Garin is a highly touted third baseman in the Boston Red Sox organization. Both Gavin and Garin were coached at Barbe High School by their father and mother. Cecchini, normally known for his slick glove work, hit .273 with the Cyclones in 2013, picking up steam in August where he led his team with a .324 average while on a 16-game hitting streak. He was ranked No. 10 on MLB's 2014 New York Mets top prospect list.

    Righthander Robert Gsellman led last year's Brooklyn club with a miniscule 1.014 WHIP over 70 innings. The 6'4" Santa Monica, Calif., 20-year-old commanded efficiency with a strikeout-to-walk ratio that ranked No. 5 among qualified starters in the New York Penn League. His stellar year earned him a Sterling Award. Gsellman also pitched briefly in Savannah in 2013, including an emotional Sand Gnats debut on the Sand Gnats' cancer awareness night "Pink in the Park," ; Gsellman lost his mother to cancer in 2009. He earned the win that night yielding just one earned run over five and a third innings.

    Gsellman should be joined in the rotation by fellow Brooklyn starter Miller Diaz, who led all New York Penn League qualified starters with 87 strikeouts while sporting a 2.02 ERA. Sterling Award winner Robert Whalen , who boasted a 1.87 ERA in 12 starts for the Appalachian League's Kingsport Mets, figures to pitch as a starter as well.

    Infielder and 4th round pick L.J. Mazilli (son of former Mets all-star, Lee Mazilli) will join the Gnats after leading the Cyclones with 34 RBI, hitting .278 with 18 extra-base hits in 2013. The outfield will be manned by Jared King and Patrick Biondi, who were responsible for nearly 25 percent of the Cyclones runs last season, scoring a combined 61 runs.

    Cuban-born infielder Jorge Rivero will return to Savannah after an injury stalled a .279 Sand Gnats campaign in 2013. Rivero's on-base skills and knack for contact made him a solid lead-off hitter while healthy for 33 games. Outfielder Stefan Sabol will also return to Historic Grayson Stadium after a showing a glimpse of raw power and speed last season, where he launched 9 home runs and stole 13 bases.

    Catcher Jeff Glenn will return to Savannah after receiving the most efficient pitching staff in the league during last season. With Glenn, Kevin Plawecki, and Albert Cordero behind the plate, 2013 Savannah pitchers are believed to have shattered a historical record with a 4.24 strikeouts-to-walk ratio -- the highest ratio in both minor league and major league baseball in recorded history.

  2. #2
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    Is this AA?

  3. #3
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    2 years in and cecchini is still in A ball?

    keep defending alderson everyone

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by utl768 View Post
    2 years in and cecchini is still in A ball?

    keep defending alderson everyone

    Um...Most guys his age are in A ball. There is A ball and Advanced A. cecchini was drafted out of high school which normally take longer to develop.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by utl768 View Post
    2 years in and cecchini is still in A ball?

    keep defending alderson everyone
    Nimmo is still in A ball.

    Hey the more you know.


    ďNinety percent Iíll spend on good times, women, and Irish whiskey. The other ten percent Iíll probably waste.Ē
    - Tug McGraw, on his plans for his $75,000 salary

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Labruno View Post
    Is this AA?
    Low A


    ďNinety percent Iíll spend on good times, women, and Irish whiskey. The other ten percent Iíll probably waste.Ē
    - Tug McGraw, on his plans for his $75,000 salary

  7. #7
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    Im happy they didnt hold Smith back. I think he might be the youngest player in the SAL. With Gant whalen flexen gsellman and diaz they have a damn good rotation

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by utl768 View Post
    2 years in and cecchini is still in A ball?

    keep defending alderson everyone
    Player A: 18 years old. 196 AB. 1 HR. 22 RBI. 18 BB. 44 K. 5 SB. .240/.307/.321

    Player B: 18 years old. 210 AB. 4 HR. 29 RBI. 26 BB. 52 K. 2 SB. .210/.311/.314

    One is Cecchini. The other is Jeter.

    He is playing in a league where majority of players are 2+ years older. Kid just turned 20, give him another year or two before you start calling him a bust.


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by utl768 View Post
    2 years in and cecchini is still in A ball?

    keep defending alderson everyone
    Most guys -- even 1st round picks -- drafted out of HS spend three years in A-ball. Nothing unusual about it at all.
    "The 90 wins is about challenge. It's about changing the conversation. It's about framing questions for ourselves as to how we get there. So I stand by the notion that we need to get better, and in doing so we need to set concrete goals for ourselves so that we have sort of specific conversations among ourselves about how we're going to get there." -- Mr. Alderson

  10. #10
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    Not calling him the next Jeter in slightest btw. Not every prospect comes into the league and tears up every level he plays.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by utl768 View Post
    2 years in and cecchini is still in A ball?

    keep defending alderson everyone
    What's the big deal? He played rookie ball and then short season. Did you even read the article?:

    Cecchini, normally known for his slick glove work, hit .273 with the Cyclones in 2013, picking up steam in August where he led his team with a .324 average while on a 16-game hitting streak.
    He played damn well in August. He also managed to post an OBP of .378 with 5 XBH, 10 RBI, and a 10/13 BB/K ratio the same month. If he can produce about 80% of that over the course of a whole season with some more power as he develops, that's a top SS prospect considering his defense.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThisIsTheYear View Post
    Player A: 18 years old. 196 AB. 1 HR. 22 RBI. 18 BB. 44 K. 5 SB. .240/.307/.321

    Player B: 18 years old. 210 AB. 4 HR. 29 RBI. 26 BB. 52 K. 2 SB. .210/.311/.314

    One is Cecchini. The other is Jeter.

    He is playing in a league where majority of players are 2+ years older. Kid just turned 20, give him another year or two before you start calling him a bust.

    Exactly. However dont waste your time because that guy obvioulsy doesnt follow the minors or probably the majors for the most part. Look Cecchini isnt going to WOW people with his skills. However i felt last year in a tough hitting league(NY-Penn League which is also an older league) he hit pretty good. He didnt hit for power BUT he had a pretty good average and had a good hitting streak going. also he had a ankle injury which limited him. Grayson stadium is another tough park to hit in so both cecchini and Smith will have occasional slumps BUT both are good hitters so i think they will do well overall

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by utl768 View Post
    2 years in and cecchini is still in A ball?

    keep defending alderson everyone

    Just one more thing. I hope you were just busting chops with this comment because pretty much everyone on here has disagreed with your analysis. Secondly if you were serious than you really should research the MLB drafts. this isnt the NFL or NBA where 1st round picks contributed right away. Every 1st round picks takes at leats a few years especially High school players. Hell even top college players take a coupld of years

  14. #14
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    Brian Ostrasser never made it.

    Lute Barnes never made it. I had high hopes for both of those guys.
    "Mr. Martin Tanner, Baritone, of Dayton, Ohio made his Town Hall debut last night. He came well prepared, but unfortunately his presentation was not up to contemporary professional standards. His voice lacks the range of tonal color necessary to make it consistently interesting. Full time consideration of another endeavor might be in order."

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by fanofclendennon View Post
    Brian Ostrasser never made it.

    Lute Barnes never made it. I had high hopes for both of those guys.
    What former ex-Met prospect (drafted in the first round) was the second pitcher to ever have Tommy John surgery?
    "The 90 wins is about challenge. It's about changing the conversation. It's about framing questions for ourselves as to how we get there. So I stand by the notion that we need to get better, and in doing so we need to set concrete goals for ourselves so that we have sort of specific conversations among ourselves about how we're going to get there." -- Mr. Alderson

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