The hot stove is still on fire in the Major League Baseball world, and the one name that seems to keep the water boiling is Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
The 29-year-old Red Sox slugger has dodged the Red Sox hype when it came to Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, but his name was still being thrown around like a hot potato since Ramirez is supposedly set to play left field.
So what makes him so special? Believe it or not, his name has more value than his ability.
The back-to-back Home Run Derby winner is only 15 percent better than the average player according to Mike Petriello of ESPN. In 600 at-bats in 2014, Cespedes had 22 home runs with a .260 batting average and 156 hits, which are not very Red Sox-like numbers, but Cespedes does have something that could appeal to the Oakland Athletics once again and that’s his ability to get on base.
Billy Beane is obsessed with that famous Moneyball quote about getting on base, which is something Cespedes does, and does it well. He is averaging 4.3 runs created per game if there were nine of his caliber players on one team. Adding to that, Cespedes in his three-year career has 233 runs, 71 bombs and only a .263 batting average, And we know, Beane isn’t exactly addicted to a slugging average.
That being said, if you take a look at Yoenis’ postseason batting, you’ll see his bat wakes up. In the American League Division Series, he had six hits, two RBI’s and hit with a .316 batting average in five games. The following season, also in the ALDS, he hit .331 with a .409 OBP. He also maintains a relatively even number of home runs facing left-handed and right-handed pitchers. (Right-handed pitchers are still his forte’)
Now that I have overwhelmed you with numbers, as far as Cespedes is concerned, all Oakland would really do if that were to happen, is appease fans.
The Tigers and Reds are two of the latest to be interested in Cespedes. Which is interesting since Bless You Boys recently posted an article on Bleacher Report saying that not only are the Detroit Tigers interested in the Cuban outfielder, but they are saying he could perhaps get a “Homer Bailey” type contract ( six-years, $105 million) from a team.
Yoenis Cespedes finished his third season in the MLB with a 9.6 WAR, however he hasn’t had one season above a 5+ WAR season, which is something to be said when a five-plus is considered an All-Star. But you know what they say? All is fair in love and WAR. Just not in this scenario.
Photo courtesy of MLB.com