Yoenis Céspedes. You might first have seen him in the World Baseball Classic three years ago, or in that crazy promotional video a few months ago. And you might have guessed that he worries more about his style than his substance. But SI.com's Joe Lemire spoke to Peter Bjarkman, an expert on Cuban baseball who has met Céspedes, and Bjarkman says otherwise: "He's really a levelheaded, dedicated young ballplayer."
So that's good, anyway. But how well will Céspedes actually play? Lemire:
In an article analyzing Céspedes' major league potential, Bjarkman described the player as "a legitimate five-tool prospect" though he "has not quite met expectations against better pitching and under the pressures of international play." Bjarkman raised questions about how Céspedes will fare against major league pitching, especially in his first season, because of a tendency to be a freeswinger.
Bjarkman said the overall level of play in Cuba's top league is comparable to Double A ball in the States, but he noted that Cuba's elite players -- the top 25 to 40 or so -- are obvious major league-caliber ballplayers. Céspedes is decidedly in that group, he said, but probably more of a top-10 player than a top-5.
All of which just reinforces the position that Céspedes isn't a sure thing, any more than high draft picks are sure things. Of course he's older than draft picks so there's no need to project what he'll look like in three or four years. But with no experience in Organized Baseball, Céspedes simply doesn't have the track record you'd prefer to consult when investing $36 million in a baseball player.