Will Yoenis Cespedes Make Oakland Athletics' Opening Day Roster?

By Tom Froemming

Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes sent the baseball world into a frenzy after an eye-opening debut. If you haven’t heard about his performance since, it’s because there’s very little to report on.

In his March 10 debut, Cespedes went 2-for-2 with a home run and a walk, basically becoming the face of the A’s overnight. He flashed the freakish athleticism and strength that has intrigued MLB scouts for years, and even gave some hope that he could be selective at the plate.

Things have not gone well since for the Cuban defector. Over five games, Cespedes has gone 1-for-15 with six strikeouts and one walk, dropping his batting average to .176. It’s certainly a small sample size, but if one great game makes him the franchise savior, what do five terrible games make him?

A minor leaguer?

Oakland acquired a handful of other outfielders this offseason, making their signing of Cespedes to a four-year, $36 million deal all the more surprising. While none of these guys have the upside of Cespedes, Oakland outfielders include Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith, Collin Cowgill and Jonny Gomes. They can survive without him if general manager Billy Beane decides to send Cespedes to Triple-A.

Beane wasn’t ready to pencil Cespedes in on the Opening Day roster back on March 12, and there’s no reason to believe his stance has changed since. Here’s what Beane told Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News:

“Whether we think he’ll be ready to handle it the first game of the year or the 10th game, we just don’t know. I think we’ll just have a feel. If we think he can handle it up here, we’ll make that decision.”

The A’s are heavily invested in Cespedes, and he looks like a guy that could eventually be more than worth the money they’ll pay him. He hit .333 with 33 home runs and 99 RBI in Cuba last season, and ranks among the most impressive physical specimens you’ll see on a baseball diamond.

Cespedes was the subject of the craziest scouting video ever made, which showed off his amazing athletic ability, skill for catching fly balls behind his back and talent for roasting pigs. It was so incredible, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball America wrote a huge, detailed write up of the video.

Yoenis Cespedes is a 26-year-old (we think), power hitting (for sure), athletic center fielder (just don’t tell Coco Crisp). But is he a major leaguer? He sure hasn’t looked like one.

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