A few months ago, a video of Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes tore through the Internet like Roy Hobbs' fastball through old netting.
Okay. Bad simile. It's late and I've read too many game stories over the years. Anyway, the video was a sensation, as Cespedes' handlers somewhat clumsily tried to hype their man as the Second Coming.
Well, there's another video and Baseball Prospectus's Kevin Goldstein's seen it and gives us a minute-by-minute review of this sequel. The obvious highlight:
13:30: Hitting: That's right folks, once again, you have to wait 810 seconds to get a good look at Yoenis hitting. Obviously, Mercedes and his team are only going to show the highlights from his batting practice session at Estadio Cibao, where the professional team in Santiago plays, but those highlights include some mammoth shots, with one home run leaving the stadium at a Mercedes-estimated 500-plus feet. Some scouts have put a 70 grade on Cespedes' power, and it is easy to see why. There is also evidence of some of the length and lunging in his swing that some are concerned about. It's hard to find a scout who has thrown a plus grade on Cespedes' hit tool, but even at 50, it's his lowest score of the five. Listed only as a right-handed hitter, Cespedes hits lefty at the 20:30 mark, accompanied by the graphic, “No He Didn't!” which tells me these guys watch ESPN News way too much. It's ugly, but on his fourth swing, the slugger hits a home run. Yes, these videos have been a blast, but at the same time, it's hard not to be impressed. What is most appreciated is that after the criticism of the lack of baseball last time, the viewer gets 10 minutes of hitting. I now know what Cespedes looks like, and feel that if I just saw an outline of his swing, I could identify the player.
Guy's got a great nickname, by the way: La Potencia ... "The Potential". Let's hope when he does reach the majors, we stick with the Spanish version. It's got a lot more style, don't you think?
After reading Goldstein's piece, you can see for yourself. Good stuff in the middle of dark December, for sure.