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Thursday, December 11, 2014

2015 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: YOENIS CESPEDES OUTFIELDER DETROIT TIGERS

Well that honeymoon didn't last long.  Owners of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes last season were ecstatic when the news came down that the Oakland A's had traded the young Cuban slugger to the Boston Red Sox in the Jon Lester deal.  Having moved from one of the worst home run parks in the majors to one of the best overnight, Cespedes was set up to put forth monster power numbers going forward and into 2015.  Well reports soon began to circulate that Cespedes was having run-ins with the Boston management staff and also with the front office.  Apparently there was heavy truth to the reports as the Red Sox obviously weren't interested in seeing what he would in 2015 after dealing him to the Detroit Tigers early Thursday for SP Rick Porcello.  So Cespedes will now be donning his third uniform in less than six months and his new change of scenery no doubt will impact his fantasy baseball numbers as well.  With that said, let's take a closer look at what Cespedes could in fact provide his prospective owners in 2015.

Stating the obvious from the outset, Cespedes moving from Fenway Park to Comerica Park is a decent-sized drain on his prospective numbers.  Comerica Park is now a well-established pitching park that takes some bite out of power numbers.  Thus while it was assumed Cespedes would be a 30-home run guy if he stayed with the Red Sox, we now have to dial back the expected power total to 25 with the Tigers. Now when it comes to power, that part of the game is the clear strength of Cespedes since making his debut in 2012.  Through his first three MLB seasons, Cespedes has put up home run totals of 23, 26, and 22 which is pretty much where he should remain this season in his new home with maybe a push to the higher-20's due to the fact he likely will hit behind Miguel Cabrera and thus get a heavy dose of fastballs.  That spot in the order is also likely to help Cespedes push past the 90 RBI mark for the first time in his career as well.  Now with the power numbers established, it is time to take a look at the rest of the stat package.

When you really look at Cespedes as a fantasy baseball players, you can clearly see that he is a plus in only two categories (home runs/RBI).  He also should be close to 90 runs as well as he crossed the plate 89 times last season between his stints with Oakland and Boston.  Again hitting behind or even in front of Cabrera will allow Cespedes plenty of chances to score.

Now for the bad news.  Two areas Cespedes has gotten progressively worse at since coming into the majors are his batting average and stolen bases.  As far as the average is concerned, Cespedes batted a shocking .292 as a rookie but followed that up with .240 and .260 the last two seasons.  The reason I say shocking when discussing Cespedes' rookie total is because of his very high K rate serving as a weight on his average.  Without BABIP luck, Cespedes is nothing more than a .260 hitter if he continues to strike out as often as he has the last two years.  However we again turn back to the Cabrera issue as Cespedes could make a run at .270 with the vast array of hittable pitches he will see batting before or behind him. 

As far as the steals are concerned, Cespedes has solid speed which he showed us by stealing 16 bases as a rookie.  However over the next two seasons, Cespedes stole a grand total of only 11 bags while getting caught on 7 occasions.  The Tigers don't run much as a team and it is likely Cespedes will struggle to net more than the 7 he had the last two seasons. 

When you put it all together, Yoenis Cespedes is better priced as a high-end outfielder 2 than a low-end outfielder 1.  To be an outfielder 1, you have to excel in three categories which Cespedes doesn't do right now.  We do like his power potential which is very valuable in today's game but the average and speed issues cloud the overall picture on the guy.

2015 PROJECTION:  .271 27 HR 96 RBI 92 R 7 SB

 
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