In today’s look at the talent in Cuba, Don breaks down outfielder Yoenis Céspedes.
A few days ago, the Orioles ventured down to the Dominican Republic. Their eyes were on a batch of international talent that could inject some much needed youth into the system and improve the public perception that Dan Duquette is reaching beyond the US border to strengthen the ball club. Here’s a look at Yoenis Cespedes.
From an athletic standpoint, Cespedes looks the part. He is a guy that could instantly be one of the best athletes on most teams. He has plus arm strength and a quick first step at this stage, indicating that he should maintain the range and reactions to stick in center field. The good part about the arm strength is that he will age better than others defensively, and could profile as a right fielder down the line without problems.
Céspedes’ best asset is the massive power potential, quality that is definitely pole to pole, that he generates from adequate hand speed, strong wrists, and a solid core. There will be a small concern that his potential is tied to his contact ability and the increase in quality pitching might zap any offset that his power brings to the table, but he often rides with the pitch, showing the late awareness and discipline that contact should not be a concern.
He brings power and speed to the table and it would not shock me to see him as a strong candidate for 30/30 potential within his first 3 years of major league baseball.
He will need patience and seasoning in the minors or limited time at the major league level from any organization. Teams will have to treat him as a prospect. He has vast potential and could be an impact bat at an up the middle position. He could be the type of player that a team could build around, but stardom is not a lock.
He has the raw ability to handle anything thrown at him, but he has to show the ability to handle the daily grind and perform against the very best.