It’s been a while since I’ve written about the simple fact that the sky is not nearly high enough for the limit to Yoenis Cespedes‘ potential. As Billy Beane has shuffled things around him, adding pieces here and there to construct perhaps the deepest Athletics team I’ve seen in year, Yoenis has been waiting for Spring Training to begin, so he can give us all a nice little reminder of just how special he is. That reminder took place two days ago when Cespedes took Manager Bob Melvin deep during a batting practice session, with the bat weight (affectionately referred to as a donut) still on it (Video proof here).
On the surface it might not seem like a particularly impressive feat, the donut doesn’t take up much room on the barrel of the bat, and can’t possibly weigh that much right? Well, if you’ve ever tried to swing a bat with one on it, you’d understand how much difference that little thing makes. It’s used to make the bats feel lighter and thus move more swiftly during the at bat itself, and it does its job. So the fact that Yoenis Cespedes has the strength to hit a long home run, even in batting practice, with a donut still on the bat puts a new perspective on just what kind of physical specimen he truly is.
Before he even signed with the Athletics, Cespedes gained some level of notoriety for the famous 20 minute YouTube video that served as a marketing tool for him to major league clubs. It featured highlights of his playing days in Cuba, footage of his workouts, and a select few feats of strength and agility. We were all intrigued and excited when the surprising news that the A’s had signed him to a 4 year contract came out, but that excitement and intrigue reached new heights after viewing that marketing video. If you somehow haven’t seen this video, check it out here, your life will be better for it.
April 7, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits a three-run home run during the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Getting to see Cespedes suited up in the classic home white uniform and the white cleats for the A’s home opener was quite a thrill as well. But Cespedes was the one who would be upping the ante in the thrill department. In his second at bat that night against Jason Vargas, then of the Seattle Mariners, Cespedes put a charge into a ball like no one in Oakland had seen in many years. It screamed towards center field, just a little bit to the left field side, nobody knew where it would land and it might have not landed if it weren’t for the facade of the luxury boxes behind the bleachers (See the highlight). It ricocheted off the structure with incredible force and sent the jam packed O.co Coliseum into a frenzy, and Cespedes stood and watched the whole thing. We all knew we had something special on our team now, little did we know what that would bring us in 2012.
Fast forward to the month of June, the A’s are hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers on a cloudy Thursday afternoon, going for a sweep. Travis Blackley and Clayton Kershaw had dueled all day with neither willing to bend beyond just a single run allowed. Josh Lindblom came in to pitch the 9th inning and found himself in a sticky situation. Yoenis Cespedes came up to bat just needing to put the ball in the air to win the game for the A’s. He did that and more, hitting a screaming line drive toward the left field corner, it would clear the wall in a nanosecond for a 3 run walk off home run to send the A’s home happy (Relive the happiness here). It would be one of the notable of the many walk offs the Athletics would have in 2012, just adding to Cespedes’ resume.
Who knows what the 2013 season will hold for Yoenis Cespedes, hopefully a more clean bill of health and more games played.
If Friday’s display though is any indication, 2013 will be another season of incredible feats by Yoenis Cespedes and hopefully the Oakland Athletics as well.