OF Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics won the Home Run Derby in exciting fashion last year. He blasted 32 home runs and ended up beating OF Bryce Harper in the final round by hitting nine longballs. Fantasy baseball fans assumed the Cuban Crusher would carry over this success into the second half of the season.
The problem was that Cespedes hit just 11 home runs in his final 222 at-bats of the 2013 season. It was a major disappointment after his power display at the HR Derby and no doubt frustrated fantasy owners down the stretch.
Cespedes ended with a meager .240 batting average and looked very impatient inside the batter’s box. He drew an embarrassingly low 37 walks, which likely contributed to his lackluster .296 On Base Percentage. He also struck out 137 times in 135 contests. There is no doubting that Cespedes it a true power-hitter, but he has problems at times even making contact.
Despite his well documented struggles, though, Cespedes still clubbed 26 homers and drove in 80 runs last season. The 28-year-old has spent a lot of time in the cage this off-season and the slugger is on the verge of having the first 30-HR/90-RBI season of his career. He may once again hit under .270 and strike out 120 times, but the slugger knows how to hit home runs.
Cespedes may be the most frustrating hitter in the majors at times, but his power potential will always make him a dangerous fantasy option. He is worth a look as a second outfielder this spring and could end up being a great value pick in the middle of the draft.