Notable Quotables: Puello’s power is on the rise

By Ashley Marshall

Last week, New York Mets prospect Cesar Puello checked off another “first” in his young career by homering twice in the same game for Binghamton.

The 22-year-old Puello told me that his approach in the box is the same in every game and in every at-bat, regardless of the situation. He said he’s always sitting on the fastball and he indicated that he’s working harder on using the whole field.

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I also spoke with B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez, who praised the young hitters abilities and work ethic. I asked him whether he thought he was ready for a bigger role higher up in the lineup (Puello had spent a lot of time batting sixth and seventh). Here’s what Lopez had to say.

On the progress Puello has made:

I will tell you what — watching him last night hit a home run and coming down and hitting two more tonight, I’m really pleased with the effort that he has put in up to this point. He has been working hard and shrinking the strike zone, and he got good pitches to hit and got his foot down.

On the type of hitter Puello is:

He is a gap-to-gap hitter with power, but we don’t know how much power yet because that is the last thing to show. I’m just glad that he hit the home runs that he has hit in this series so he knows the power is there. Young kids do not trust the process all the time, and they want the results right away.

On Puello’s power, which he graded a 70 (on the 20-80 scale):

Right now, he’s concentrating on getting good at-bats and getting good pitches to hit. When he does, he doesn’t miss them.

Seeing him take batting practice, he can hit the balls as far as anybody in the game right now. But that is not what we are looking for from him, we’re looking for him to get good pitches to hit. He’s still being aggressive in the strike zone, but when he does get good pitches, he’s able to not miss them.

On giving Puello a bigger role:

That has been in my thoughts, but I’m trying to get him to feel comfortable. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him. For a young kid, when you move them up [in the lineup], they feel like they have to do something. We’re trying to show them that they have to wait for the game to come to them. Eventually, if he keeps doing what he is doing, that will happen. Keep things the way they are right now and make him feel comfortable. [Moving up] will be the next step.

On Puello’s work ethic and overall tools:

The way he goes about his business is as good as anybody in the game right now. He is focusing on becoming a complete player. It shows in his defense and his power shagging. It shows in him taking good routes and hitting the cut-off man and his daily routine in the cage. He’s doing everything in his power to become a good player. For a 22-year-old to have that work ethic, it is good to see.

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