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Yoenis Cespedes signs with New York Mets: fantasy impact

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Cespedes will continue to hit some loonngg ding dong Johnson's with the Mets in 2016.

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Yoenis Cespedes took a 1 year, $27.5 million dollar deal with a two year player option, totaling a possible 3 years and $75 million, to remain with the New York Mets.


Cespedes was traded to the Mets at the deadline last July, and fell in love with the city for its Latin culture. He reportedly turned down substantially more guaranteed money from the Washington Nationals to remain with the Mets, with a possible look to re-enter the FA market next season, where the class is weaker than 2015's.

Cespedes put together the best fantasy season of his career in 2015, hitting 35 HR with a .291/.328/.542 slash between both the Tigers and Mets. Cespedes went nuts after the trade to the Mets, increasing his slugging percentage by nearly 100 points, from .506 with the Tigers to .604 with the Mets, partially by squaring up more fly balls; his home run to fly ball percentage rose from 16% with the Tigers to 23% with the Mets.

After Giancarlo Stanton went down with an injury, Cespedes became the king of exit velocity, leading baseball with 149 batted balls struck 100 mph or greater. According to Daren Willman's baseballsavant.com, Cespedes averaged 93.2 mph on his batted balls, significantly above the MLB average of about 89 mph:

Cespedes also enjoyed the best RBI and R scored totals of his career, breaking the 100 mark on each.

2016

It probably isn't realistic to expect Cespedes to continue to hit like he did in the second half with the Mets. Particularly, Cespedes showed some vulnerability for high fastballs and sliders off the outside corner, and the league appeared to begin to attack these weaknesses from mid September on. Regardless, Cespedes was excellent even before his MVP like stretch with the Mets, hitting .293/.323/.506 with 18 HR in 427 PA with the Tigers, a line similar to his rookie year in Oakland in 2012.

Dan Szymborski's ZiPS projection system projects Cespedes to hit .270/.312/.498 with 30 HR, 98 RBI and 89 R scored with the Mets in 2016, making him one of the more productive outfielders in fantasy. Only 6 other outfielders hit 30 or more HR in 2015.

I'm a little biased because I watch the team every day, but I think Cespedes is more in line for a 100 run/100 RBI type season, similar to last year. The Mets lineup is strong; here's a preview from Adam Rubin:

As an above average batting average but low walk rate hitter, Cespedes' value will likely be higher in standard leagues than leagues that use OBP/OPS, so adjust his ranking accordingly based on league rules.