Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Os as shape-shifter deluxe, Mitch Williams said the other day…“All Yoenis Cespedes does is hit ground balls!”
So although Cespedes was definitely one of the top power hitters in the Cuban League, his exploits are hardly all-world or necessarily the best in his own country. The Cuban parks seem to be very difficult to pitch in. According to Davenport’s translations — which probably have to be taken with a pound of salt given how few players make the transition from Cuban baseball to American professional baseball — Cespedes’s numbers still work out to above-average major league power. I don’t think this is a terribly surprising conclusion — it’s difficult to hit 33 home runs in 350 at-bats in any league. It just doesn’t necessarily mean a 60-homer season is coming in the states.
The next question relates to plate discipline.
...Cespedes has shown remarkable improvement from a hack-tastic first season, all the way to the point where he walked more times than he struck out in 2011. However, there is the question of how many of those walks were intentional — he was in the process of setting a new home run record, after all. Either way, Cespedes made excellent contact in each of the past four seasons and although his strikeouts will undoubtedly rise against the higher talent in the MLB, we shouldn’t expect him to be the next Austin Jackson.
...Just looking at the statistics Cespedes compiled in Cuba, there isn’t a glaring weakness which looks to tank his game upon landing with an American (or Torontonian) squad. He was as complete as a player can be in any league. Much of his value depends on his ability to play center field, of which there seems to be optimism around scouts. His Cuban numbers seem to suggest above-average power for the position already, and with any sort of plate discipline he has the ability to push an All-Star level in MLB. With his power and his superior athleticism and strength, the risk factor for Cespedes seems lower than with other relative unknown players, and the reward if he reaches his potential could be incredible.
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