(Photo by Helene Haessler/St. Lucie Mets/MILB)
R/R, 6’3″, 225 LB, 10/1/1994 (22) St. Lucie Mets (Some of this information is from here)
Our twitter poll voted for the next St. Lucie player covered, and it’s a controversial one:
Right Fielder Becerra. The 22-year-old Venezuelan had a rocky year for the Hi-A St. Lucie Team and had to be shut down after July 17th to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Originally the throw in lottery pick piece for the trade that sent R.A. Dickey (Or should we say the Noah Syndergaard trade?) to the Blue Jays in December 2012, Becerra has shown some upside in the past, but had his year cut short due to shoulder surgery. Signed on July 4th, 2011 for 1.3 million dollars, Becerra was known for considerable upside and a power-speed combo. In 2012, he played 11 games with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays and hit .250/.359/.375 before being hit in the jaw by an errant pitch thrown by Yankees pitcher Graham Stoneburner and that finalized his 2012.
In his first year in the Mets System, he batted .243/.351/.295 in 52 games, while striking out 60 times, and hit 7 extra base hits. He broke out the next year with a .300/351/.469 in 58 games with 19 extra base hits including 7 homers. This great performance earned him a promotion to full season in 2015, playing the last ever season with the Savannah Sand Gnats in the spacious Historic Grayson Stadium. He didn’t disappoint, hitting .290/.342/.423 with 27 doubles, three triples, and nine homers in 118 games. While that doesn’t seem like a big deal, just note that Historic Grayson was the worst park for hitters in the Minor Leagues. While this was an excellent year, after July Wuilmer only hit one home run after July, on 8/14/15 and had a combined .366 slugging percentage from July until the end of the year.
Here’s a nice little homer from that season:
2016 rolled in with new thoughts and hype on Becerra after he showed some nice pop the year prior. However, something peculiar happened: He started hitting for average, not much for power, and barely played his position of Right Field. He missed six days from 4/11 to 4/17 mysteriously and only sporadically played right field. In his first 40 games of the season, Becerra played 13 in the field and the rest at DH and was batting .333/.363/.400. It was peculiar to see the power just drop out of sight, and into just moderately better contact and relatively no play in the outfield. He only played 25 more games hitting .278/.307/.381 before ending his season. He hit his only home run of the season on 6/27, 318 days since the last one. It turned out the injury was sustained in Spring Training, and they tried to heal it with Cortisone shots sporadically during the season, but surgery was the only option in the end.
When Becerra is healthy, he’s a very very interesting player. Armed with plus speed, he can move well in right field, and if he really wanted to, center field. In right, he is a very good defender who gets good reads on the ball. Prior to his surgery on his throwing arm, he had a plus arm, but with the surgery, it may turn into an average one.
In terms of offense, Becerra was looking like a guy with at least a 50 on the 20-80 scale, which translates to up to 23 homers. We’ll see about that. The guy can hit a lot of doubles, however and has a lot of power to the gaps. In terms of hitting, he is fairly okay on contact but regressed largely on walks due to working with a contact-geared approach with his shoulder compromised. Becerra’s strikeout percentage was around 20% the last couple of years, which is good, and he has the capability to post a .260/.270 batting average and possibly more if he can get his swing back. Becerra had above-average bat speed, so i’m unsure what will happen next for Wuilmer. With his athleticism
Things to watch for in 2017:
- We’re not sure how this shoulder surgery will affect his bat speed, his approach, and his power, so everyone is going to hold their breath on him until we see some signs.
- His walk rate. It was 3.6% last year, that needs to rise even with a contact-oriented approach.
- His second go-around in St. Lucie. He will be 22 and old as the average in the league this time. If he can’t play his way out, he’s on thin ice.
- We aren’t sure when he is coming back. Luis Carpio went under the knife in March and came back in August (6 months). Becerra went down in July, he could be ready by Spring Training, but we haven’t heard much about him yet.
The clock is ticking on this high-upside right fielder from Venezuela, and we suspect he will stay at St. Lucie to re-attune his skills. If he performs, he will get the bump up to Right Field with the
Stud Muffins Rumble Ponies.
Link to interesting content:
To see our other St. Lucie guy, Peter Alonso, go the main bar to Prospects–> Team Prospects –> St. Lucie.