A triple-slash of .246/.299/.442 is hardly something I, personally, consider to be All-Star worthy.
That being said, Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is on the American League All-Star roster this season – with Tuesday marking the first time he will take part in the Midsummer Classic in his three-year big league career. However, last year, he took part in the Home Run Derby – winning the title and following it up with another powerful performance Monday night, becoming just the second back-to-back winner in MLB history.
Aside from his apparent ability to pound home runs, the question of what legacy Cespedes is leaving behind as one of the first major Cuban players to come play in the U.S. (at least for this generation) remains to be seen.
Since signing Cespedes prior to the 2012 season, Billy Beane‘s A’s have won two American League Western division crowns – and appear poised to make it three in a row in 2014. When you look at his output on paper, one may, at first, be put off by some of Cespedes’ numbers. However, with how the outfielder’s contract is structured, Oakland is getting a solid return.
Cespedes makes $10.5 season both in 2014 and in 2015 – and unless he signs a new deal, will reach arbitration eligibility after next season. Free agency doesn’t become a concern until after the 2016 season, meaning Oakland has plenty of control left over its slugging outfielder.
But what will his future look like?
At 28 years old, Cespedes has shown was he is capable of – both the good and the bad. He has a 162-game average of 29 home runs and 100 RBIs so far in his career, but he has played in just 129 and 135 games, respectively, over his first two seasons. This season appears to be a different story, as the outfielder has appeared in 90 games already for Oakland, which carries a 1 1/2 game lead over the resurgent Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim heading into the season’s second half.
After hitting .292/.356/.506 in his first season back in 2012, Cespedes’ batting average has hovered around .240. He struck out 137 times in 574 plate appearances in 2013, which comes out to around 24 percent of the time. He’s went from a combo player capable of stealing bags and hitting the ball out of the ballpark in his rookie season to a more one-dimensional player who swiped just seven bases last season (down from 16 in 2012) and has just one in 2014.
It’s not that Cespedes isn’t a solid big league player – he is. But after winning his second straight Home Run Derby, many fans appear to be on the bandwagon. The power-hitting outfielder has some major holes in his game and addressing them will only make him – and the Athletics – that much better.