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Yoenis Cespedes has been ridiculous lately

Jul 26, 2012, 9:40 AM EDT

Oakland Athletics v Toronto Blue Jays Getty Images

As the A’s heat up, it’s worth noting that one of the biggest reasons for it has been their biggest offseason acquisition: Yoenis Cespedes.

All of the A’s did great against the Blue Jays last night, but Cespedes had a particularly nice evening: two doubles, a walk, two runs scored two RBI and a stolen base. Since the All-Star break, he’s 21-for-44 (.477) with eight extra-base hits and 14 RBI.  Overall he’s hitting .302/.361/.533 with 13 homers and 50 RBI.

Not bad for a guy who’s only making $6.5 million this year. And who anyone could’ve had a few short months ago.


  1. icanspeel - Jul 26, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    It’s impressive he has lived up to the hype so far. It is still early, but I wonder how many teams are kicking themselves for not trying harder to get him.

  2. townballblog - Jul 26, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    I hope the A’s make it far. With their payroll, oh man…. It would just be great baseball all around. Let the little ones win every once in a while.

  3. butchhuskey - Jul 26, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Seems like a lot of Cuban players transition well to the big leagues, whether it be Kendrys Morales, Dayan Viciedo, Aroldis Chapman, Alexei Ramirez, or Cespedes. Either MLB scouts do a great job of assessing Cuban players or only the most talented tend to defect and come to MLB.

    • prionogenic - Jul 26, 2012 at 10:04 AM

      I think there are a couple of factors.

      First, Cuban baseball is very developed and competitive.

      You hear mostly about the best Cuban players, and those are the ones that are willing to take the risk of defecting.

    • townballblog - Jul 26, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      Don’t forget Livan Hernandez and El Duque. They were pretty good themselves when they were younger.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 26, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      Great piont Butch. Personally, I think the Cubans do the best job of teaching the fundamentals at a very young age. They do the best job of developing their own talent. And as prionogenic stated…the best Cubans are those that risk defecting.

  4. Ben - Jul 26, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Alternatively, he’s been 1/3 as good as Josh Willingham for the same price.

    • jdl1325 - Jul 26, 2012 at 10:31 AM

      The Hammer’s 39 Hr’s and 150 RBI’s must have somehow slipped past everyone so far.

    • townballblog - Jul 26, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      Alternatively: he’s a rookie and 7 years younger, plays way tougher pitching in the AL West than does Willingham in the AL Cental, has a 100 less at-bats, better average, steals bases, and plays above-average defense.

      And he speaks no english (bonus)

      • Ben - Jul 26, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        I was under the impression that he’s pretty much a total butcher in the field. The scouting and stats agree, and that’s what tanks his total value, whatever his bat is doing. He’d be better off at DH.
        Health is a skill, better average but much worse plate discipline, stealing bases is cool for fantasy. The AL West point is well-taken, but Willingham doesn’t get to bat against the Twins either.

      • Bryz - Jul 26, 2012 at 11:40 AM

        UZR begs to differ on that “above-average” defense. Even if you don’t like UZR, the A’s have had Cespedes start at DH 14 times this year (including 6 in a row in late June and 4 in a row in mid-July), which shows that the A’s even acknowledge that he’s not good enough defensively to be starting in the outfield every single game.

      • APBA Guy - Jul 26, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        “Total butcher” is too strong a term, and “great defense” is inaccurate as well. You can’t use UZR for a good read, as that and similar stats require a multi-year view.

        Rather, consider that the A’s will play him in the OF, but prefer Crisp (with declining UZR measured over several years) in center. They do play Cespedes in left in preference to Gomes and Smith, but will play Reddick in center if Crisp is not available.

        Cespedes does not go back well, and takes a fraction longer to read a ball than most MLB outfielders. He has a plus arm, and plus speed. He comes in well.

        And he can really hit. Off the chart bat speed. He also is very coachable. His adjustment to the hard in, soft away approach he was making outs on early this season has been excellent.

      • Loren - Jul 26, 2012 at 12:34 PM

        I’m not a great evaluator of defense so I won’t comment on that, but I will point out that most if not all of those DH starts were because of thumb and hamstring injuries. The A’s seem to be committed to playing him in the field whenever he’s healthy.

  5. bravesfan388 - Jul 26, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Every time I think of the A’s now I hear the announcer from Moneyball saying, “what is going on in Oakland?!?!”

    Nevertheless I’m happy to see them doing so well and happy for Billy Beane. How awesome would it be for them to make the wildcard this year, right after the movie came out?

  6. townballblog - Jul 26, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    I think the coliseum was just to big for him to play CF and that gave him a bad rep, which is why he now plays LF (and he’s not that bad, I don’t think). That said, Willingham is not terrible in the OF either. I don’t, however, think that he’s better off at DH, not at 26.

    – Health is not a skill but I see your point.
    – Willingham K’s every 3.9 at-bats and Yoenis every 4.3 (though that’s not a complete look at plate discipline, I’m just lazy).
    – Stealing IS cool for fantasy but also means scoring from 2nd on a single or advancing to 3rd on a grounder to 2B instead of a double-play.
    – Nope, he does not. He bats against KC (4.5 team ERA), DET (3.93), CWS (4.04), and CLE (4.49) whereas Cespedes bats against TEX (3.68), LAA (3.80) and SEA (3.85).

  7. memphistigers311 - Jul 26, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    The haters can try to hate, but at this point it is purely knitpicking. YoenisTheMenace is an excellent fielder and a starting CF for almost any team. Early he was low in output due to adjusting to a new nation/country and new pitchers. Watch his interview a while back Espn had a 6min piece on him stating in Cuba you see the top of the elite pitchers, a couple of guys throw 94-96. In the big leagues in MLB almost everyone in each teams bullpen has a guy or to that throws 94-96. Also note he had a strained hamstring early on combined with the fact Coco Crisp signed back witht he A’s was because he was told he would start CF. And his quote was “Unless Yoenis is some sort of Demi-god I expect to be starting CF.” Well Yoenis is some sort of demi-god but due to tender hammy and his DL trip with he hand. It just fits to protect him in LF and allow Coco who truly prefers CF play where he likes. It is no secret the A’s clubhouse is something to be envied. His move to LF had more to do with keeping everyone happy and protecting him than him being a sub-par CF.

  8. memphistigers311 - Jul 26, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    I went to edit and hit reply on accident. So excuse the 6th grade shorthand.

  9. eaglessuperfan - Jul 26, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Imagine what the Phillies are feeling. They are desperate for a LF bat and have been for some time. He would have been a “Cheap” option that could have changed their season.

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