It’s understandable that Manny Ramirez is going to be out of the picture for a while. But would you believe Yoenis Cespedes could be shuffled off to the minors too?
I don’t believe it, but Billy Beane is at least making noises that Cespedes will not simply be given a job:
Beane would not guarantee Cespedes will be in the lineup March 28 when the A’s open the regular season against the Seattle Mariners in Tokyo. “Whether we think he’ll be ready to handle it the first game of the year or the 10th game, we just don’t know,” Beane said. “I think we’ll just have a feel. If we think he can handle it up here, we’ll make that decision.”
Obviously Beane has not read Cespedes’ glowing press clippings. Or maybe he’s just not as impressed at someone smacking a Jeff Francis “fastball” over the fence as I am. But you know me: I’m always an optimist.
I’m guessing he starts Opening Day, however. He’s going to be a draw. And, even if he’s not quite the hitter he showed in a single outing against some average pitching on a random March afternoon, he’s much more of a power threat than whoever would take his place in the A’s lineup, right?
One other thing: Every article I’ve seen spells his name “Yoenis.” His locker in the A’s clubhouse in Phoenix, however, has the nameplate “Yoenys Cespedes” over it. Anyone care to advise?
The Arizona Fall League competition came to a close on Saturday, concluding with the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox for the championship title. No one stood out more than Braves’ no. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna, who took home honors as the AFL MVP after slashing .325/.414/.639 with a league-leading seven home runs and second-best 1.053 OPS in 83 at-bats.
At just 19 years old, Acuna is the youngest prospect to receive the award. He made his presence felt even before he suited up for the AFL, earning promotions to the Braves’ Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and batting a remarkable .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs across three levels in 2017.
Acuna was also a major factor in the Javelinas’ win on Saturday, but he wasn’t the first to make some noise. The Solar Sox got to right-hander T.J. Zeuch in the first inning, leading off with three singles and a run-scoring sac fly to get a 2-0 edge over the Javelinas. It was the only lead they’d get all afternoon and it lasted just two innings. Luis Urias snapped the shutout with a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning, and the Javelinas took the lead with a game-tying RBI single from Acuna and two-run base hit from Braves’ no. 16 prospect Alex Jackson in the third.
From then on, it was smooth sailing for Peoria. Andrew Case, Andres Munoz and Art Warren combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while the offense tacked on another handful of runs with Acuna’s fourth-inning two-RBI single and Michael Chavis’ eighth-inning triple. With runners at the corners and one out, the Solar Sox lifted right-hander Dakota Bacus for fellow righty Nolan Blackwood. Even he was flummoxed by Acuna, however, who grabbed hold of the first pitch he saw and returned another sac fly to center field for the Javelinas’ eighth and final run of the game.
Only 131 days left until Opening Day, folks.