Results tagged ‘ Yoenis Cespedes ’

What to do about Yu?

Now that Yu Darvish is officially a Ranger (nice job by our intrepid Rangers beat writer T.R. Sullivan on that crazy deadline. Be sure to read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter at @Sullivan_Ranger), the question is: How to deal with the Japanese right-hander on the prospect front.

It’s not an easy question to answer. In the past, our requirement was rookie status.  If a player was eligible for Rookie of the Year voting, he belonged on a prospect ranking. Last year, for instance, we added Tsuyoshi Nishioka to the Twins’ top 10 after he signed, coming in at No. 7.

Darvish, of course, would rank much higher, both on his new organization’s list and on the overall Top 100 (Coming on Jan. 25 if you hadn’t heard). But here’s the thing. I’ve never been all that comfortable with including a player like Darvish on a prospect list. To me, he’s not a prospect. He’s a big leaguer and already an established star in another high-level league. Deciding on what the line is for rankings is always arbitrary, but I adhered to the (admittedly self-imposed) rookie status rule in the past.

I suppose the argument could be made that since the league Darvish is coming from isn’t at the same level as MLB (most put it at a Triple-A-ish level), he should count the same as, say, Matt Moore, also coming up from Triple-A. I just don’t see it that way and the Rangers didn’t just shell out all that cash to get anything but a finished product who will produce right away.

So, in 2012, we’ve decided to take our cue from the newly bargained CBA, as it pertains to international signings. They put particular rules in place about which international players will fall under the international player pool each team will be allotted. More advanced players like Darvish can be signed in the future without it counting against a team’s pool. Neither, by the way, would Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes.

If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us. So here’s the new rule as it pertains to such international acquisitions:

Not all international players will qualify for these rankings. Prospect Watch will follow the guidelines laid out by the new CBA: Players in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) and are at least 23 years old and have played a certain number of years in those leagues will not be considered.

So, Mr. Darvish (and Mr. Cespedes eventually), you might qualify to be ROY, but you won’t show up on Prospect Watch.

The next great thing from Cuba — Yoenis Cespedes

There’s been a fair amount of buzz lately about the Cubans who are set to join the free agent market in Major League Baseball soon. We even had a story about it here.

My fellow prospect maven Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus had a fantastic post about a video that was sent out by Cespedes’ agent. Sadly, the youtube video was initially taken down by the user. But it was reposted later — I suggest you watch it, especially with KG’s piece as a guide.

The question is, of course, is he worth the hype? Is he the best Cuban prospect since Aroldis Chapman (who, by the way, hasn’t exactly taken the big leagues by storm just yet)? It’s funny because right when all this started to come out, I received an email, unsolicited, from a scout who saw Cespedes in the  Dominican Republic. He wrote:

“This guy is the real deal. A physical specimen. He put on a display of power in BP today that was simply incredible. Remember the name, Yoenis Cespedes. I would put him in the HR Derby at All-Star break right now.”

OK, high praise indeed, but I wanted to find out more and seek out another opinion. So I reached out to another scout who’s opinion I greatly value, largely because he’s never one to sugarcoat anything. He’s the one, in fact, who told me he thought Chapman would be a reliever at the next level. But he thinks the 26-year-old (if he is 26) is legit:

“He’s one one of the 2 best players off the Cuban A Team (Equipo Cuba), the other being Yulieski Gourriel. He’s better than Gourriel because he gives you his heart at all times. ”

He had more to say:

“He does not give a damn about the hype or the money, he wants to be the best…Great character and competitiveness. He hit 30 HR in 366 AB’s (80 Games) in Cuba last year to set the HR record in that league, which is not the big leagues but it is still impressive due to how old the league is (younger than the NL but older than the AL; first recorded game in Cuba in 1874, 2 years before the NL is founded).

“His only drawback is that he is not a “pure” hitter. Initially he will be .240 & 18-20 HR and then .260-.270 & 30 HR. At some point he will do 30/30.”

The scout compared him to a young Torii Hunter/Vernon Wells type. But he went old school with his best comp: Jimmy “The Toy Cannon” Wynn. Wynn hit 291 homers and stole 225 bases while hitting .250 over a 15-year career (most of which came in the pitching-friendly Astrodome).

Should be fun to see who ends up bidding the most for Cespedes’ services.

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