baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Yoenis Cespedes: the Good, the Great, and the Ugly

The Mets made the Amazin' and totally unexpected move of re-signing outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a three-year contract with an opt-out after the 2016 season.

Now that the physical has been completed and the ink has dried, what exactly do the Mets have now? On the plus side, the Mets have at least one year of a multitalented player. 

He is powerful, fast, and posseses one of the strongest and most accurate arms in the game. His demeanor screams confidence and showmanship, which gets the home crowd worked into a frenzy when he is at his best. 

He is built like Bo Jackson and plays a lot like him. Does Yo know Bo? Cespedes is a great athlete, without question, and has already proven he is capable of carrying the Mets on his back in crucial situations.  What more could anyone want?

Well, here's the ugly. His list of weaknesses include:

*An unwillingness to attempt to run to first base on a dropped third strike

*A tendency to not run hard out of the box on long fly balls

*Lack of plate discipline 

*Difficulty with balls in the LF gap when playing CF (fear of contact)

*Maddening habit of turning into a soccer player at inopportune times

*Unwillingness to dive for balls in the OF

*Hard hands in the OF (in his 2014 highlight reel for the A's there were three balls that clanked off his glove leading to incredible throws)

*Weakness going to his backhand on fly balls (see his graph of catches in LF from 2015)

*Difficulty laying off outside breaking balls

So, all the uglies are fixable, and the goods and greats are talents that most players will never possess. The challenge for Terry Collins is to get to work on fixing what can be fixed. 

And an obvious change is a move to RF, where his skills fit perfectly, especially with a healthy Juan Lagares next to him. 

If I were the manager, Conforto and Cespedes would learn RF, Granderson would play LF and CF, and Lagares would start against all LHPs and when Colon starts.

Granderson needs to sit against LHPs, both for offensive and fatigue purposes. Conforto should play every day unless he somehow proves he can't hit lefties.

All in all, the Mets have a very good OF, and a better team to start a season than they have had since 2006. 

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