Detroit Tigers: Yoenis Cespedes a Pleasant Surprise


Yoenis Cespedes can hit the ball. The Detroit Tigers knew that when they acquired him, but his speed and arm have been better than anyone could have predicted.

Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reported some of Tigers manager Brad Ausmus’ thoughts during spring training.

“I knew he could run,” Ausmus said. “I knew he was athletic, but he was flying around the bases yesterday.” Ausmus went on to say, “He’s not slow.”

That’s an understatement. In 2012, ESPN reported that Cespedes ran a 6.3-second 60-yard dash, which is around a 4.2-second 40-yard dash. To compare, Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions runs a 4.35-second 40-yard dash.

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The man can fly. Despite his speed, he has only stolen one base this season, and his career-high is only 16. Does he lack base-running instincts, or does he not get the green light because his teammates are expected to get the job done? Perhaps it doesn’t really matter. Even though he doesn’t steal many bases, Cespedes has received consistent positive marks in base running in his career (as calculated by Ultimate Base Running – UBR).

As for his arm, he has four assists from the outfield this season. At this rate, he is on track to get 17 or 18, which would beat his career-high of 16 set last season. According to advanced fielding metrics like defensive runs saved, Cespedes’ arm alone has saved the Tigers four runs already defensively.

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  • How about his bat? He is on pace for about 21 home runs this season and is currently batting .282, the best batting average of his career. He still has trouble with strikeouts, however, with 36 in his first 38 games. While he is laying off of high pitches, he still has trouble resisting both outside and inside pitches. That being said, he manages to get hits off of many of those pitches that would not be called strikes and is still driving the ball all over the diamond.

    Something to watch out for: Cespedes’ left wrist has been bothering him. He tweaked it sliding into second and attempting to make a diving catch on Saturday, May 16. He was not in the starting lineup on Monday.

    Cespedes is a free agent as of 2016, so what should the Tigers do? Keep him and pay a lot or let him go and look for cheaper alternatives?

    Next: Miguel Cabrera: Video of Every 2015 Home Run

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