Saturday, January 23, 2016


It took quite awhile but the New York Mets and free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes reunited late Friday night to the tune of a three-year deal worth $25 million.  While Cespedes didn't get the length he wanted in terms of the deal, he did set an all-time MLB record for average annual salary for a hitter with his $25 million per haul.  Coming off a career-year in 2015 that set up the payday, lets take another look at Cespedes and see what he could do for an encore during the 2016 fantasy baseball season.

As we always do, let's check out 2016's numbers which were a personal-best for Cespedes:

35 HR
105 RBI
101 R
4 SB

Lots to talk about here from the 30-year-old Cuban slugger and slugger he is as the long ball is Cespedes' clear calling card.  The 35 home runs were a career-high for Cespedes and it was doubly impressive when you consider her achieved them in two of the biggest ballparks in the majors in 2016 in Citi Field and Comerica Park.  Going right along with the power, Cespedes pulled off the double bonus of reaching 100 in both in runs and RBI which is Jose Bautista territory.  With Cespedes going right back to the third or fourth spot in the batting order, he should be a lock for 100-plus RBI and around 100 runs for sure.  The home runs?  Tough to call there in the sense that Cespedes was clearly locked in aiming for a contract and we have seen countless outlier numbers when money is at stake.  Previously Cespedes' high in home runs was the 26 he smacked in 2013 and that number might be more likely then 35.  However Cespedes is also flat in his prime and his power is immense so I also have no issues going back to the 30-plus well for a projection.

As far as the batting average is concerned, this is where it gets tricky.  Cespedes had become a batting average liability since his .292 number in that category as a rookie.  In the three seasons prior to 2016, Cespedes batted /240, .269, and 256 which are all very shaky numbers.  The big problem for Cespedes has been very high K rates that saw his K rate consistently sit over the 21 mark which is getting up there.  Even last season Cespedes had a 20.9 K rate which was offset by a lucky .323 BABIP.  Still in Cespedes' defense, that 20.9 K rate is not horrible but it is no terrific either.  He does need more BABIP luck like that to be helpful there again in 2016 and so it is not a good idea to bank on that notion.  Something along the lines of .275 sounds better.  Finally, Cespedes days of stealing bases are over as he took just 7 last season and has not had double-digits there since he was a rookie with 16.  In other words, this is a four category low-end outfielder 1 in fantasy baseball and nothing more than this. 

When you put it all together, Yoenis Cespedes looks like a good pick in the third round of 2016 fantasy baseball draft as a guy who can anchor your power numbers and counting stats this season.  While you should never reach for the guy, Cespedes has more than proven his worth since coming into the major leagues a few seasons ago.

2016 PROJECTIONL  .278 32 HR 107 RBI 99 R 8 SB 


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