Friday, December 23, 2011

The pros and cons of the Tigers and Yoenis Cespedes

I love the YouTube element to Yoenis Cespedes, the Cuban outfielder who is on the open market apparently to the highest bidder. If he were an NFL player preparing for the draft, they'd refer to him as a workout warrior. He looks great in his uniform. He has exceptional speed and throws well. He is more the stocky, strong player with speed type (running back) than the fluid lean athlete (wide receiver). He can play center in the major leagues, though. Ideally, he'd be a corner outfielder. If the Tigers sign him, and it's a longshot they'd be able to land him unless they overpaid, it'd be a gamble. They would then likely unload Delmon Young. Austin Jackson is going to be their center fielder, and should be based on his defensive skills, which are among the best in the game for the position.
I have a little doubt Cespedes would be a big upgrade for Young defensively in left field, but can he hit like that? Young's on-base percentage is ridiculously low and he is often a butcher in the field, but put the game on the line, he's a really nice part to have at the plate. Hitting third in that lineup, he's a run-producing machine. He keyed the Tigers' offensive explosion down the stretch last year.
Scouts I've talked to who have seen Cespedes love him athletically, but wonder if he'd be able to handle major league pitching. He did hit .480 in 20-something at bats with a 1.480 OPS during the 2009 World Baseball Classic, but those numbers were exceeded by Ivan Rodriguez in the same tournament - just some perspective on what it means.
There is also the elephant in the room. It's testing for performance enhancing drugs. Very likely more extensive here than it has been in Cuba. It's not the fault of Cespedes, but any major investment in baseball is questioned when it comes to that because of the track record of the game, especially among so-called "workout warriors."


Blogger Barry said...

I don't think the Tigers will land him due to competition. You don't spend $50 million on a potential superb defensive player but with his hitting is unknown. I could really get excited if he was 21 years old but he is 26 years old and never face MLB pitching. The workout video doesn't show enough on him hitting. Heck of leaping ability.

3:15 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean the perspective of a future Hall of Fame player isn't a good enough comparison. Rather disrespectful of Pudge don't you think?

6:18 PM 
Anonymous woody said...

watched some of that video...the guy's body habitus reminds me a bit of Adrian Beltre, but I don't see the same "whip" in his swing that Beltre has.

definitely appears to have explosive strength and speed...unlike Gabe Kapler who had just strength and little fluidity of motion. whatever happened to him?

can't tell anything about his baseball instincts...tracking flies, decision making on bases, ability to hit a major league breaking ball...though he did deposit one hanging curve.

he sure does like to admire those big flies off his bat. wonder how receptive the guy will be to instruction.

who knows what the market will pay this guy? he might get similar $ as Cuddyer and Willingham. Marlins seem to be the obvious fit if their spending spree is not done. I'll be shocked if Tigers sign him.

11:13 AM 
Blogger Core Contrarian said...

Kind of like Billy Beane 25 years ago!

11:25 AM 

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