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Yoenis Cespedes: First round pick in 2016?

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Ray takes a look at Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and wonders if he can be a first round pick in 2016 drafts.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks back, maybe it was a month ago, I published my top 50 overall rankings for 2016, and here is a look at my top 12 players in that piece:

Rank

Name

1

Mike Trout

2

Paul Goldschmidt

3

Bryce Harper

4

Andrew McCutchen

5

Clayton Kershaw

6

Giancarlo Stanton

7

Miguel Cabrera

8

Anthony Rizzo

9

George Springer

10

Manny Machado

11

Carlos Correa

12

Josh Donaldson

If I had to re-rank my top 50, Mike Trout would be out of the top spot, with Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt as my #1. I would have a hard time removing any of the remaining players in my top 12, but I am seriously considering adding Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes into my first 12-15 picks. That would make Cespedes a first round pick for the first time in his five year career. But, that begs the question:

Is Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes a first round pick in 2016?

I think it is very possible, but his draft day value will be determined by where he signs this offseason. Speaking of where he signs, the Mets and Cespedes changed the language in his contract to allow the Mets all offseason to sign him to a free agent contract. Prior to the contract re-work, the Mets could only sign him within the first five days after the World Series, limiting their window for signing him. Cespedes will most certainly test the free agent waters and sign the biggest contract offered to him. Now that the Mets are free to offer him a contract without time limits, he should receive quite a contract come the holidays.

Cespedes has had a huge second half at the plate, and has been the Mets best player since the deadline trade. Since the trade to the Mets, Cespedes is hitting .311-.358-.669 with 13 home runs, with 31 runs scored, 31 RBI and 4 stolen bases. He owns the third highest fWAR in the second half behind only Joey Votto and Josh Donaldson.

For the full season, he is tied with Votto with a 6.6 fWAR, ranking fourth in the game. Among qualified hitters, he currently ranks 11th in home runs with 31, 3rd in runs scored with 94 and 7th in RBI with 95, and has chipped in with 7 stolen bases and is hitting .297-.332-.549. His .252 ISO ranks 13th in MLB, while his .550 SLG ranks 12th in the game.  He has already set career highs in home runs and runs scored and after his 3 RBI last night, is just six RBI from his career high of 100.

His hard hit % has jumped from 31% in 2014 to 36% this season, and while his fly ball rate has dropped from 48% last season to 37% in 2015, his HR/FB% has almost doubled from just under 10% to 19%. Looking back, it appears his sub-10% HR/FB% last season was an aberration, or he made adjustments at the plate to make more hard contact this season.

Cespedes is a free agent at the end of the season, and some team is going to dole out $140-160 million, or more, on him this offseason. Through Monday's games, Cespedes has averaged 25 home runs and 88 RBI in his four seasons in the big leagues, and his 102 home runs rank 13th and his 352 RBI ranks 10th among all qualified hitters over that same time period.

Would you draft Cespedes in the first round of your 2016 fantasy drafts?

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