Yoenis Cespedes: A.L.Only Greatness

Thearon W. Henderson

With no minor league experience to evaluate, 2012 fantasy owners drafted Yoenis Cespedes, and hoped for the best. And that is exactly what they got. In 129 games, Yoenis smacked 23 home runs, stole 16 bases, and batted .292. And, oh by the way, he scored 70 runs and drove in 82 runners.

My three favorite American League stories from the 2012 season were Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown, Mike Trout's debut, and the introduction of Yoenis Cespedes to baseball in the United States. Coming into the 2012 season, all fantasy owners could hang their hat on regarding Cespedes was conjecture. How would he handle major league pitching? Would the power and speed we hoped for, materialize? Unlike Mike Trout, owners did not have a minor league career to evaluate. But going into 2013, owners have a good idea of the power/speed/average combination Mr. Cespedes should provide in 2013.

In 2012 fantasy owners drafted Yoenis and hoped for the best. And that is exactly what they got. In 129 games, Yoenis smacked 23 home runs, stole 16 bases, and batted .292. And, oh by the way, he scored 70 runs and drove in 82. Let's see, one, two....that's a five category stud, and for 2013, I'm all in. First the power. Mr. Cespedes sported a 15% HR/FB ratio, and along with other underlying metrics that support another 20+ home run season. Along with those round-trippers should come another 80+ RBI. Pretty good start. Speed? I think the speed is real. I wonder if we can expect an increase in stolen base production, but given how Yoenis approaches the game, I am comfortable predicting another double-digit stolen base season in 2013. Those stolen bases, along with his .356 OBP in 2013 should help him score his fair share of runs.

Finally, can Yoenis maintain such a high batting average? This is what we in the industry call the "not so much" portion of the article. I think that .292 batting average from 2012 is in for some regression. Mr. Cespedes had a nice contact rate of 81%, and a walk rate of 8%. Not too bad, but not good enough to maintain a .292 average. That combination is associated more with a batting average in the neighborhood of .263. Taken together, though, any player who can have a stat line of 24 HR, 86 RBI, 70 runs, 12 SB, and a .263 batting average, like I think is in store for Mr. Cespedes in 2013, is someone who should go in the first round of A.L.-only drafts.

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