Yoenis Cespedes, The Encore


Kevin Goldstein has a breakdown of Yoenis Cespedes’ latest video, and you don’t even need a subscription to read it. The Yankees are supposedly the “clear frontrunners” for the Cuban outfielder, and at 4:17 of the video, you can see Yankees bench coach Tony Pena and pro scouting director Billy Eppler among those watching the workout. Goldstein says Cespedes’ free agency is likely going to be pushed back into January, though.

I wonder what kinda workout video Wily Mo Pena could have put together…

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. William says:

    Um…….The Yanks better not sign him. No roster space, and he refuses to have a MILB gig first.

    • ChooChoo says:

      Yea, that roster space problem is huge when you have a left fielder with a low .700 OPS, hitting .259,pounding out a career high 132 hits, slamming 7 homers, knocking in 36 runs and having an OBP less than .350. Further, a speedster who can’t bunt and is third in the league in caught stealing.

      • Mike Axisa says:

        I can understand not liking Gardner, but bringing up caught stealings is just silly. You have to try to steal to get caught, and 90% of the league doesn’t even try to steal.

        • Rainbow Connection says:

          Doesn’t everyone bitch that Gardner doesn’t even try to steal enough?

        • ChooChoo says:

          Regarding Gardner, the overall body of his work that I am attempting to drive home is that he is not this irreplacable dynamo who is way way too valuable to even consider replacing. And that is precisely the sentiment of many many bloggers here.
          Conversely, he is a significantly flawed player who doesn’t live up to the hype. Pointing out that he was caught stealing approximately 25% of the time is merely another factual illustration of that perspective. Essentially, he is not a world class base stealing, as many wish to believe.
          That point is far from silly. Also, it’s not necessarily that I don’t like him–I just don’t agree with many others who have him on this highest of high and irreplacable pedestal.

          • Mike Axisa says:

            You’re not going to find many people who consider him irreplaceable, and to say he “doesn’t live up to the hype” is dead wrong because Gardner never had much hype, at least not around these parts.

            • ChooChoo says:

              my first post just above was in response to someone who apparently was not in favor of signing Cespedes because there isn’t a roster spot available.
              That sounds like irreplacable to me.
              We disagree on Gardner’s hype. It is rampant on this site.

              • Guns of Navarone says:

                Much of Gardner’s value is in his defense, which you neglected to mention. Offensively, I agree that Gardner is a very flawed player. He was towards the bottom of the league in wOBA and wRC+ in 2011. However, in 2010 he was 7th in the league among OF with a .358 wOBA, behind only Hamilton, Crawford, Bautista, Choo, Swisher, and Wells. That’s some very good offensive production. So he’s shown he can be well above average offensively at his position while providing nothing short of elite defense.

                That’s pretty valuable IMO. And I’m not about to move him for a guy like Cespedes who hasn’t done jack in the bigs. I’m not saying you’re advocating that. And Gardner is definitely replaceable… but not for Cespedes.

          • RetroRob says:

            “Conversely, he is a significantly flawed player who doesn’t live up to the hype.”

            Oddly, while trying to knock Gardner, you came up with the perfect line that will be used to describe Cespedes.

    • truth says:

      459 games and worth 14.7 WAR. I guess he’s terrible.

      • ChooChoo says:

        Another example of pure Gardner hype, as I’ve pointed out. His WAR numbers are a direct result of a significantly flawed UZR number which has extremely limited value. In 2009 Price Fielder had a higher UZR than Mark Teixeira. Any system that can produce something that “silly” means nothing.

        • Mike Axisa says:

          Of course, if you don’t agree with one set of data points, the logical thing to do is to disregard them all. What about all of the other fielding metrics?

          • ChooChoo says:

            Gardner is a great outfielder and that is indisputable. However, the offensive part of his game, which in my opinion is what a true WAR value should reflect, is breathlessly marginal at best. I can not honestly think of many starting major league outfielders who have a worse swing at the baseball than Brett Gardner. One other poster said it here best last week—he looks like he’s hitting the ball with a rolled up wet newspaper.

            • OldYanksFan says:

              Let’s see… we all want a great Pitcher, beacuse great Pitchers prevent runs. They don’t hit, they don’t run, and we usually don’t care how they field… just as long as they prevent runs.

              But somehow the fact that Gritner prevents runs is nothing compared to scoring them.

              I can’t really compare (with my eyes) Gritner to other OFers. But I have seen him (on TV) for over 400 games. He saves a ton of hits and a ton of runs. Every hit he saves is as valuable as a hit someone else gets… although Gardner saves a lot of XBHs.

              While he might get worse, my guess is he gets a tad better, especially in base stealing and CS%.

              Finally, the guy gets paid less than Jeter’s jock strap. By having a 4 WAR player for pocket change, we get to buy a buch of 5 WAR players for $20m/yr.

              He is NOT a great player, but a VERY valuable one.

      • ChooChoo says:

        want to give a second check on that 14.7 WAR number you cited?

        • Mike Axisa says:

          He’s off by 0.1 WAR, big deal.

          • ChooChoo says:


            • Mike Axisa says:

              WAR at B-R doesn’t use UZR, which is what you were complaining about earlier. Hard to take your complaints about Gardner’s WAR seriously when you don’t understand the difference between the versions of the stat.

              • ChooChoo says:

                Although his dWAR is more than half of his total WAR. What I most understand is that Gardner is replacable and overhyped because he can’t hit for average, can’t hit for power. Regardless of what you think and discredit about rbi’s, on a team like the Yankees, playing as many games as he did and coming to bat as much as he did, you have to be offensively piss poor to knock in 36 runs.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Don’t know if this was sarcastic or not, but Chris Dickerson and Justin Maxwell are both out of options. One of them can’t stay. Melky Mesa probably be a loss, nor would one of the Rule 5 guys or Whelan.

  2. John Ya Ya says:

    Have you ever seen a movie where the trailer looked great but the movie itself sucked?

  3. Jamey says:

    I don’t care if they end up signing him, but if they’re the clear front runners for him it would bother me a little that they were more interested in a 4th OF than a potential #2 starter in Darvish, something they, you know, actually need.

    • Brian says:

      Was it reported that they are front runners?

      I agree, unless for some reason they think he’d be ready to play everyday in Bigs and plan to use one of their OFs in a trade for a legit pitcher…

    • Mike Axisa says:

      So if they need pitching, they shouldn’t bother with position players? What if they needed a third baseman, should they not waste time on outfielders?

      • Jamey says:

        all in on a 4th OF instead of a potential #2 starter is just a TAD different than “not bothering” with position players, which I never said. Don’t let that get in the way of your snark though.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          With Swisher and Granderson hitting FA the next two off-seasons, Yoenis would have a chance to become a starter if he performs.

          And having a hole in the rotation doesn’t mean you sign any guy at any price. They did make an offer for Yu.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Except he’s not a “4th OFer”. If he were, this wouldn’t make much sense, I agree.

      • Jamey says:

        barring a trade coming, opening day OF is going to be Gardner, Granderson & Swisher. That would make Cespedes a 4th OF, assuming he even won a roster spot in ST at all. He’s 26(or older) too so not sure how long AAA would even be a good place for him.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Swisher’s contract is over after the 2012 season. Not starting opening day the first season doesn’t mean he wouldn’t start over the life of the contract.

  4. ZZzzzzzzz says:

    Can he pitch?

  5. Leftylarry says:

    Ugh, Sammy Sosa.

  6. Alfredo says:

    we do not know yet if the yankees lost the biding for Darvish because Darvish Japaneese team hasn’t even told Darvish who won the biding,so how would any US blogger know who won.

    The Yankees might have won!

  7. Plank says:

    Is my computer acting up or is there no sound in the video?

  8. Plank says:

    I get a feeling the Yankees are going to regret the next 6 years when they have the Cuban Centipedes instead of Yu Darvish.

    I stopped watching the video at about the 15 minute mark when they showed him adjusting his gloves for 25 seconds.

  9. Howard Cosell says:

    Looks more like a workout warrior than a Baseball player. Baseball is a sport about skills not athleticism. Unlike football where the athletics are more dominant. But even in that sport – it still comes down to technique.



    • CaptainRaf says:

      because you’ve only seen his workouts. lets not be so dense.

      • Plank says:

        He just gave his opinion. The only thing you did was stifle him. He contributed something, you are trying to prevent him from doing that. If you disagree with what he’s saying then say so and say why.

        Let’s not be so dense.

        • CaptainRaf says:

          ok then. he sees a workout video. which it is. the stuff in the gym and beach arent something necessary but its included to show his athletic skills and dedication to training. a lot of critiques of latin players in the US is their lack of dedication or their desire to coast, this shows that he is working hard to make himself a better player.

          also when you see him take BP, you just see the balls go out of the stadium and probably think “anyone can do that”. scouts and people in baseball can pick things up in his swing and to them it is showing off his skills, techniques or lack there of that can stop him from succeeding in the big leagues, something Howard Cosell is insinuating Cespedes doesnt show.

          these videos were made to get Cespedes attention and guess what, they’ve worked. there are things in the video that are unnecessary but guess what, a good amount of fans know who he is so the videos have worked. any real scouting of him will be done in person so just take the video as entertainment and a showcase of a young player’s strengths, athleticism and skill.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Howard Cosell was one of the most famous sports announcers in history. He died in 1995. Pretty sure that was a parody on what Cosell might say.

  10. Yu aint Matsuzaka says:

    I’m sold.

  11. CJ says:

    Miami, Ozzie guillen looked giddy plus the Cuban market in Miami. I wonder if he will submit to PED testing before signing. Steroids are readily available in Cuba and DR. Iis different from the stuff bonds was getting from BALCO which is unaffordable for most people.

  12. CJ says:

    Only 1 inch shy of Kobe Bryant vertical leap?! That’s impressive. After seeing Jason Pierre Paul do backflips in pads like Ozzie smith makes you think of how impressive some of these athletes really are.

  13. Gonzo says:

    Can the Yankees give him a decent signing bonus without it being averaged out through the life of the contract? If so, isn’t that a way to circumvent the 2014 luxury crunch?

    • Plank says:

      Yes, but I doubt he would go for it.

      That scenario would be like a traditional IFA signing. In that case, the Yankees would control him for 6 ML seasons and he would start in the minors just like everyone else.

      He’s going to want the major league contract.

      • Gonzo says:

        Oh, so they can’t do both ML Contract and big bonus without it going on the 2014 salary. Oh well.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        If he gets the money up front he might not care about an MLB contract. He might, but he might not. The time value of money makes the money basically worth more if he gets it up-front.

  14. bankers hours says:

    Signing this guy and not Darvish would be a mistake. Pitching wins championships. Just exactly how much better than our current outfielders is this guy. Give me a break. If they didn’t go heavy after Darvish they’ll never go strong for an outfielder.

    • CJ says:

      This is open market bidding, Yu is a blind bid process with 1 chance.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      “Pitching wins champonships.”

      Someone didn’t watch baseball last season.

    • BigDavey88 says:

      “The hottest team at the time of the playoffs wins championships.”


    • Ted Nelson says:

      The Cardinals might disagree with you.

      We don’t know how much better than the current Yankee OFs he is… but he can get an idea. We do know that two of them are FAs in the next two off-seasons.

      Any deal comes with a risk. You can’t sign any player knowing he’s better. The Yankees might have signed Werth or Crawford last offseason, and would not have gotten an upgrade. They should pay a lot less to Yoenis to find out if he’s an upgrade. They won’t pay him more than they think it’s worth to see how he does in MLB.

      And as pointed out above… they did go after Yu. It was a blind bid, though, and there’s a good chance that the bid alone will be more money than Yoenis will make in the next 6 seasons, not even considering the contract they’d then sign Darvish to.

      • Joe says:

        And how exactly do you make the assessment that there’s a “good chance” that the Yankees blind bid will be more money than Yoenis gets?

        Do you know the value of either? Do you work for the Yankees? Are you Yoenis’ agent? How can you possibly assess good chance?

  15. CJ says:

    Compared to Yu Darvish or any international pitcher, I think the elite hitter is easier to predict. All top hitters can turn on 95+ heat, it’s the breaking stuff and the eye/discipline/pitch selection that makes the difference. You have to think as the top hitter in his country he is pitched around with a steady diet of breaking stuff. He’s the real deal.

    • Plank says:

      Generally true, I think. Except in the case of Darvish who has years of games that have been extensively scouted vs a player in Cuba. The only time Centipedes has been closely watched has been in the WBC. I doubt Cuba allows MLB scouts to attend games and I doubt MLB allows teams to send scouts to clandestinely attend games to scout and risk jail.

      Maybe I’m wrong on that. Does anyone know?

  16. Plank says:

    They should sign Centipedes and Soler so they can hang out with each other.

  17. Platano Man says:

    I see Juan Miranda written all over this guy. People in here talk a lot about the 97 wins from last year, but lets just be honest….what are the chances of the Yankees doing that again with the current pitching staff or what are the chances of the Red Sox collapsing once again or even Tampa Bay sucking for most of the season ?. I don’t criticize Cashman because at the end of the day I’m not sitting in his chair, but it just bothers me a little that people in here seem so comfortable with a rotation of CC, Nova, Garcia, AJ, or Hughes. Do we honestly believe that we can make any noise next October with that rotation ?

    • Plank says:

      I’m more concerned about the left side of the infield than the pitching staff. They will be able to approximate league average pitching through their farm depth and awesome bullpen but if Arod and Jeter get old at the same time (not impossible) then that’s a lot to lose and a lot harder to replace.

      I’m not too worried. Didn’t they win the division by like 7 games? That’s a lot of ground for other teams to make up. But assuming the same players from last year are going to play the same isn’t realistic.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      I dont think anyone is comfortable with the rotation. But the offseason isn’t over and they can probably afford to wait until the deadline as is. I agree they can’t take this rotation into the playoffs, but that is a long ways off.

      And besides being Cuban, what does this guy have in common with Miranda??

  18. Yanks Fan in Sawx Land says:

    Isn’t the presence of MLB team representatives in this video flying in the face of State Department issues with contact with Cuban nationals. I thought there were warnings or something issued earlier. Even if the video footage predates that warning, could clubs be exposed to some penalties?

    • CaptainRaf says:

      im not sure. hes waiting for his Dominican residency but im not sure what his official status is with the State Department since he has defected. i doubt there will be any penalties since its all being done out in the open.

    • ColoYank says:

      American citizens are free to go wherever they want and look at whatever’s there (with a few exceptions, and the DR’s not one of them). Cespedes’s case is so widely noted that no reasonable regulator would construe improper contact.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I don’t know, but I haven’t heard about contact with Cuban nationals so much as an economic embargo that forbids economic activity with Cuba. Hence no Cuban cigars. If they paid him to work out, they might be violating that (I assume they would be, but don’t know… MLB probably forbids that as well, but again I don’t know for sure). Even if they flew him to a work-out before he sorts out his citizenship (assuming he hasn’t, which I assume is why he’s not a FA) that might be the case. I don’t know that showing up to watch what’s effectively a free pick-up game is illegal.

      • Andrew518 says:

        The rule in a nut shell is that you can’t spend money in Cuba. Technically you could go there (although you won’t be able to get a direct flight) and there would be no violation. However if you spend any money there you are in violation of embargo. No one has ever been charged with embargo violations because it’s leagally dubious. (State Department doesn’t want the opportunity for it to be challanged in Supreme Court as it is shakey legally if government can limit travel abroad, it’s more of a scare tactic than anything else) Really the rule is intended to encourage Cubans to defect. Great plublicity for State Department for players like him to make big $$$ in States

  19. IB6 UB9 says:

    I hope the Yankee scouts read these comments and find out that baseball is different from work-out skills. Otherwise they’ll sign him only for his athletic showcases!

  20. Frank says:

    This guy is going to wind up with the Marlins. No doubt.

  21. Holy Ghost says:

    Not sure why there’s so much hate for the guy. The videos are silly but there must be a reason for his being coveted by so many teams. I’m sure he’s been scouted pretty extensively since the WBC

    • whozat says:

      I haven’t heard any coveting, really. I’ve heard his agents asking for enormous sums of money, and seen teams doing their due diligence. Quotes seem to be mostly non-committal, empty platitudes about athleticism and intriguing potential.

      • Holy Ghost says:

        A lot of teams, including the Yankees, are very interested in Cespedes. The only question is how ridiculous his asking price will be? I’ve seen estimates between 30 and 60 million.

        • Guns of Navarone says:

          Were they interested before the video and all the media hype? I personally never heard of him before the video. I’m sure baseball people knew about him, but did they have this level of interest?

          • Holy Ghost says:

            He only recently defected from Cuba. He played in the WBC and he’s said to have been one of the top 2 or 3 position players in Cuban baseball so I’m pretty sure he was on the radar of major league scouts long before posting those videos. I think there’s a pretty good chance that he will do well in the major leagues. I’m not sure if he’s gonna get anywhere near as much money as he’s asking for…

    • Mike c says:

      it’s pretty much just people being pissy that the yankees didn’t get darvish. if they can’t have yu they don’t want nobody baby….

  22. Will (the other one) says:

    I once saw Wily Mo Pena hit a 600-foot home run. Actually, it was last week, right after I paid him $20 to mow my lawn.

  23. Alfredo says:

    why are you guys so sure the yankees did not get Darvish? the Wnner of the highest bid won’t be announced until Tuesday. The things people are saying are just rumors and speculations but they are not facts.

  24. Monteroisdinero says:

    He would destroy Swisher in the beach frog jump category.

    Sign him!

  25. cranky says:

    If Cespedes hits the .260/24 that scouts predict, he’s at least as good as Swisher. Given that he’s considered fast and a +defensive player, that would make him better than Swisher. I’d say he’d be a good risk.
    Sign Cespedes, put him in right field, and trade Swisher in a deal for a pitcher.
    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, the Yanks were to do just that, and obtain Matt Garza from the Cubs in exchange for Swisher.
    Wouldn’t they be better off?

  26. cranky says:

    Sign Cespedes.
    Trade Swisher for Garza.
    Trade Betances for Danks.
    That’d actually be one heckuvan off season.

    CC/Garza/Nova/Danks/Hughes would be a terrific rotation.
    Gardy/Grandy/Cespedes would be a real good OF.

    Oh, AJ Burnett? Trade him to the Marlins, along with $15m, for Mike Dunn.

  27. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    Yes, I saw Bam Bam Meulens, Orestes Destrade, and Steve Balboni. What did these players have in common? They could hit the ball out of sight if and when they hit it. I saw Marv Thronebury and Joe Pepitone, much publicized in their time but the end was not good. Now, this guy Cespedes is a better athlete than all the aforementioned. I had compared him to Bo Jackson in athleticism. I still do. When seeing the type of swing he has, it appears to be a Hank Aaron type. Now, I’m not comparinfg him to Aaron for he was the best right handed hitter I ever saw. But Cespedes is a wrist hitter also, the kind that can hit the ball with authority to all fields. If he had been a College draft kid, every one would be google-eyed over him. I would very much like the Yankees to sign him. If we lost out on Yu I will be sorry. That has nothing to do with signing Cespedes.

    • ColoYank says:

      Having seen the videos, and enjoyed them in a rueful sort of way, the comp I saw from a scout with long, long years of experience makes a lot of sense. He said Cespedes reminds him of Jimmy Wynn, who went by the nickname of the “Toy Cannon.” That is a very juicy comp. Look him up. Wynn was spark-pluggish, with light-tower power, and a true center fielder. Another, more recent, one that comes to mind is Kirby Puckett, but Wynn wasn’t as consistent a threat as Puckett.

      There’s no reason to think the guy wouldn’t be a successful major leaguer, but that’s all speculation at this point. And, um, so’s Yu Darvish, who I consider even less likely to be a steady contributor.

      • Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

        I agree Compadre. However, Wynn did not have this guy’s speed or arm. Puckett did not have speed but could hit with power and had a good arm. Of course this is speculation on my part, the analysis of Cespedes that is.

  28. RetroRob says:

    Cespedes hit .333 in his Cuban League last year. That sounds great, although there is no context. Where does that rank? Was he first in the league in hitting? No. Top five? No. Top ten? No. Top twenty? No. None of those. The answer: 33rd.

    Cespedes ranked 33rd in BA in a league that many talent evaluators rate below AA level. BA, of course, is just one statistic, and not a particuarly great one, but just using it to provide perspective. His numbers are meaningless.

    He clearly has talent and tools, but he is an unknown. Much more of an unknown than Darvish, who can succeed in the Majors right now. The same can not be said for Cespedes. The question on Darvish is how succesful he’ll be. The question on Cespedes is can he make it at all.

    There is a tendency to overrate Cuban players because of the mystery element, and the success of the Cuban National Team, which is built with their best players to win international amateur-style tournaments.

    It’s also because of the success of prior Cuban players, such as Luis Tiant and Tony Perez, yet those players were born in Cuba, but were playing in the minor leagues here at a very young age. Tiant started minor league ball at 20 and played for four years before making the Majors at 23. Perez was 18 when he started playing in the minors and spent five years before making the majors. Even the recent Kendrys Morales spent parts of four years in the minors bouncing back and forth between the minors and MLB level before achieving success. And then there are the tons of failures. One perhaps in the making right now is Leonys Martin, who the Texas Rangers spent millions on a year back and now rumors are he may never be MLB ready.

    I’m happy the Yankees are in on Cespedes. His talent is real, but what he’ll do in the majors and when (if ever) is unknown. No way the Yankees give him a starting spot in 2012.

  29. Andrew518 says:

    I think the problem with Cuban players and Japaneese players as well is there is an expectation for an imediate impact. Given the money they are given I suppose it’s not unreasonable but no matter how talented a player or how old, there will inevitably be a transition period. Most players are given years in the minors, these players have to live up to the expectation that they can just be plugged in a preform.

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