Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes is establishing residency in the Dominican Republic so that he can become a free agent and sign with an MLB team for what many people are speculating could be close to $50 million, but how good does the 26-year-old outfielder figure to be in America?
Projecting prospects based on minor-league numbers is tough enough, but projections based on performances in Cuba are even more difficult because the level of competition isn’t as well defined and there aren’t many previous examples of players going from Cuba to America.
With that caveat out of the way, Clay Davenport of Baseball Prospectus crunched the numbers to see what type of MLB hitter Cespedes will be and projects him as having 25-homer power with batting averages around .250 and poor strikeout-to-walk ratios
Davenport’s lengthy analysis is definitely worth reading, so I won’t spoil the whole thing, but based on the numbers in Cuba he sees Cespedes as being similar to Adam Jones of the Orioles. In other words very good but not quite great, and there are also questions about whether Cespedes can handle center field defensively long term.
Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:
“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.
“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”
Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.