Nov 26, 2016

2015 NL Champion Mets All Star: Yoenis Cespedes (2015-2016)


Yoenis Cespedes was born October 18th 1985, in Campechuela, Cuba. His mother Estela Milanes was a softball pitcher in the 2000 Olympics & his father was a former Cuban League catcher.

At age ten he was sent to a state school to focus on baseball. He played in Cuba at Granma, from the ages of 17 to 24 being a .319 career hitter.

In 2011 he & ten family members defected from Cuba landing in the Dominican Republic.


Then the five foot ten, right hand hitting outfielder was signed by the Oakland Athletics as an amateur free agent in 2012. He was considered a five tool player & one of the best to come out of Cuba in a generation.

He was ready for Opening Day 2012. In his second career game he hit his first career HR & then hit HRs in the next two as well, driving in two runs in each game. In his first month he hit five HR with 19 RBI. On June 21st he hit his first walk off HR it came against the LA Dodgers. He began the year in center field but quickly became the A's regular left fielder, when Cocoa Crisp returned from injury. Cespedes led the team in batting (.292) while coming in second on the club in HRs (23) RBIs (82) & doubles (25). He also had 16 steals, five triples & a .356 on base %. 

His strong arm in the outfield led him to six assists (4th in the AL). Oakland won the AL West that year & Cespedes hit .316 in the ALDS loss to the Detroit Tigers. 

At the 2013 All Star Game in Citi Field, he was chosen by A.L. team Captain Robinson Cano as a last minute addition to participate in the HR Derby. He put on a show hitting 30 HRs, beating Bryce Harper while becoming the first player to win the Derby while not been selected to the actual game. On the season he battled through injuries, but still hit 26 HRs with 80 RBIs while batting .240 in 135 games.

Post Season: That year the Athletics won another divisional title under manager Bob Melvin, beating the Texas Rangers by five games with a strong finish winning 16 of their last 22 games. They once again lost the ALDS to the Detroit Tigers, with Cespedes hitting a HR in Game #1. Overall he drove in four runs batting .381 with a .409 on base %. 

In 2014 he had another good start at the plate & on the field. In late May he put on a show nailing runners with his strong throwing arm. He had three put outs in games against the Toronto Blue Jays & Baltimore Orioles. On May 31st against the Anaheim Angels he threw out both Chris Iannetta & Kole Calhoun at the plate. On June 10th, again against the Angels, he made a 300 foot throw home to nail Howie Kendrick & then the next night threw out Albert Pujols at third base.

Cespedes along with six other A's players went to the All Star Game that season. He was leading in the balloting but lost out to Adam Jones in the final week of voting.

He participated in the HR derby again & became the first player since Ken Griffey Jr. to win back to back derby's. In the actual game in Minnesota he was 0-2.

The Athletics had been in first place most of the season, with fine young pitching & Cespedes being one of the teams best bats. On July 31st, the A's traded him to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Jon Lester & Johnny Gnomes.

By mid August Oakland fell out of first place & barley made a wild card spot at the end of year. They would lose the Wild Card game to the eventual AL Champion  Kansas City Royals. In 51 games in Boston, he hit 5 HRs with 10 doubles & 33 RBIs batting .269.

Overall he had a fine year driving in 100 runs (9th in the AL) for the first time in his career, he batted .260 with 22 HRs, 36 doubles (3rd in the league) 6 triples, 89 runs scored (10th in the AL) & seven sac flies (10th in the AL). In the outfield he led the league in assists (16) & put outs (204).


In December he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Rick Porcello.The year did not go as planned in Detroit, after playing in a league leading 102 games Cespedes was batting .293 with 18 HRs 28 doubles 62 runs scored & 61 RBIs. On July 31st hours before the trade deadline, he was sent to the New York Mets for a pair of minor leaguers. Cespedes.

Cespedes expected to be traded & was following the afternoon trade deadline dealings on TV. With nine minutes to go he saw that he was traded to New York & his manager confirmed the deal. He said he feels no pressure playing in New York & will just go out play his game & have fun.

Quotes: "Honestly, I don’t know much about the Mets, given the fact that they are in the National League. But the one thing I can tell you that I do know is how good their pitching is."

GM Sandy Alderson: "He's a very dynamic player, We think he's going to impact us in a number of different ways. But I think also just his presence in the lineup and his presence on the team will raise the energy level — and I hope it raises the energy level in the dugout and in the stands. I think that this is the kind of player that could have a big impact both in terms of the game on the field and how the team is perceived."

At the 2015 trade deadline, the Mets GM Sandy Alderson landed one of the best late season acquisitions the Mets ever landed in Yoenis Cespedes.

In 1969 it was Donn Clendenon that helped a pitching rich team with little offense. Clendenon went on to win the World Series MVP Award. In 2015 Cespedes would take charge put the Mets offense on his back taking them through the pennant drive.

Yoenis Cespedes arrived with the Mets on August 1st playing centerfield & batting in the third position. That night he drew a walk going 0-3 in a 3-2 win over the Washington Nats, as the Mets got themselves within one game of first place. The next night they would beat Washington to tie for the NL East first place spot.

On August 3rd, Cespedes collected three hits, all doubles while riving in four runs in the Mets 1-1 romp in Miami. On August 12th, he hit his first Mets HR, a solo shot coming in a  3-0 Mets win against the Colorado Rockies. He would drive in runs in three straight games, hitting another HR two days later.

On August 21st, Cespedes had one of his best nights & put in one of the best Mets offensive games  ever. Cespedes blasted three HRs, while collecting five hits & driving in seven runs in a 14-9 Mets win in Colorado. In the 2nd inning he blasted a grand slam HR off Jon Gray to start out his big night.

In Philadelphia on August 24th & 25th he hit HRs in back to back games, leading the Mets to wins in both games. He would homer again in the fourth game of that series driving in two more runs. On his first Mets road trip Cespedes hit six HRs driving in 15 runs while collecting 14 hits, keeping his average just below .300.

As the Mets entered September they had a six game lead over the Nats & were starting to run away with he division. The Mets pitching was solid all year but now the offense took off led by Cespedes. In the first two weeks of the month he would go on a tear like almost no Mets player ever saw, Cespedes was the  hottest hitter in the league at just he right time.

From September 1st to the 14th he nine HRs with 21hits four doubles & two triples, while driving in 19 runs scoring 16 more runs. In that stretch the Mets had an eight game winning streak & won 10 of 13 games, on their way to the division title.

On September 8th, the Mets were down 7-1 to the Nats when they had an incredible six run 7th inning tying up the game. In that inning Cespedes cleared the bases with a three run double. The Mets went on to an 8-7 victory.

The next night his two run HR in the 8th inning broke a 2-2 tie leading to a 5-3 Mets win. On September 11th his three run night in Atlanta, led to the Mets 5-1 win over the Braves. The next night he homered again & drove in two more runs in the 6-4 Mets win.

From there he cooled off driving in just two more runs the rest of the way. In the last week of the season he bruised his fingers getting hit by a pitch in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

In his 57 games with the Mets, he had 66 hits with 17 HRs 14 doubles four triples 44 RBIs & 39 runs scored. He batted .287 with a .337 on base% & a .604 slugging %.

His presence was known on the field defensively as well, in 54 games he posted four assists posting a .985 fielding %. Soon enough the rest of the league knew better than trying to run on Cespedes.

 Post Season:

2015 NLDS: In the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he went hitless in the Mets Game #1 win. Then he homered off Zack Greinke, in the Mets 5-2 Game #2 loss at Dodger Stadium. In Game #3 at Citi Field,  he had three hits including a 4th inning three run HR off Alex Wood to put the Mets up 10-3. He would get just one more hit over the next two nights.

In that series he had five hits to go along with the two four RBIs. Overall in the NLDS he batted .250 (5-20) with 2 HRs & 4 RBIs. 

2015 NLCS: In the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs, he had an RBI infield single in Game #2, driving in the final run of the Mets 4-1 win behind Noh Syndergaard.

In Game #3 at Wrigley Field, Cespedes had a big three hit night, starting out with a 1st inning RBI double off Kyle Kendricks driving home David Wright. In the 8th inning, he drove home Wright again, with an RBI single, helping Jacob deGrom & the Mets to a 5-2 win. Overall in the NLCS he batted .286 going 4-14 with three RBIs.





2015 World Series: His shoulder injury acted up & gave him trouble in swinging the bat. Before the World Series he took a cortisone shot to help heal the pain. In the Mets World Series loss to the Kansas City Royals, he would struggle going just 3-20 batting .150.

In Game #1 he singled leading off the 6th inning & the scored on Michael Conforto's sac fly. In Game #5 he fouled a ball off his leg & was removed from the game due to pain.

During the off season there was lots of speculation if the Mets would sign him to a  long term multi million dollar deal. Cespedes certainly earned his worth & the bidders would be high for the super star. The Mets, known for not spending seemed like they may pass on him, or at least were playing poker in the stakes. Finally in January Mets fans like this one got their wish, a three year deal was worked out by Sandy Alderson, that made him the highest paid player in 2016, with the opportunity to opt out the second year of a three year deal.

"I loved my experience with the Mets last season," Cespedes said in a statement released by the team. "In a short period of time, my teammates and the fans made New York feel like home, and I truly felt embraced by the entire organization. As I entered free agency, I couldn't deny the pull to come back and finish what we had started last year. I am excited to finally announce that next season I am coming back to join the New York Mets once again."

As the 2016 season began, Yoenis Cespedes came to Spring Training in style, driving in a different sports car from his collection each day & then for the grand entrance he & Noah Syndergaard rode in to Pt. St. Lucie Tradition Field on horses!

The Mets opened the season in Kansas City & Cespedes got just one hit with a pair of walks in the opening series, He hit his first HR on April 10th, the fifth game of the year. On April 15th he went on a month long Cespedes hot streak. From April 15th through May 15th he hit 12 HRs with 29 RBIs & 28 hits. On April 26th, he came to bat as a pinch hitter with two men on & the Mets down 3-0 to the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field. He blasted a three run HR off Brandon Finnegan to tie the game, a David Wright single later that inning secured the 4-3 Mets win.

That week Cespedes had bruised his leg & missed some action. He returned on April 29th to have a huge record setting night. The Mets set a franchise record scoring 12 runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning in a 13-1 romp over the San Francisco Giants. In that third inning, Cespedes singled bringing in two runs & that later in that historic inning, he blasted a grand slam HR, becoming the first Mets to drive in six runs in an inning.

On May 21st his two run HR tied up a game at Citi Field with the Milwaukee Brewers. A David Wright walk off hit won it. On June 10th he tied up a 1-0 game in Milwaukee, in which the Mets went on win 2-1 in extra innings. On June 30th he started the Mets come back rally from three runs down of the Chicago Cubs, hitting his 19th HR coming off John Lackey, the Mets went on to a 4-3 win.

That week he hit three HRs with 10 RBIs but then went down for a week & a half with injury. He returned slowly as the Mets swept the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley & then helped the Mets take two of three in Florida driving in runs in all three games.

Cespedes made his third All Star team representing the Mets, along with Noah Syndergaard, but neither player saw action due to nagging injuries.

He missed two weeks in August but when he returned he helped bring the Mets back into the wild card hunt & a big September got them the top wild card spot by seasons end. On August 20th he hit two HRs & drove in three runs in the Mets win over the Giants in San Fran. The next day his two run HR off Jeff Samardzija were the only two runs Noah Syndergaard needed in his 2-0 combined shut out.

On August 27th, he hit his 26th HR of the year, a two run shot on a night the Mets hit four HRs in another blow out, a 12-1 win over the Phillies at Citi. Two days later he hit #27 of the year, a walk off game winner against the Miami Marlins.

In September he hit safely in 19 of 27 games driving in 18 runs with four HRs. The hottest stretch started on September 6th when he drove in runs in six straight games. On September 6th he hit a two run HR in the Mets 5-3 win over the Reds at Cincinnati.

On September 11th he blasted his 30th HR of the season. It was a grand slam HR in Atlanta off Williams Perez & then added another RBI to make it a five RBI night in the Mets 10-3 win. It marked the second straight year he hit 30 or more HRs.

On September 17th, he tied a game up against the Minnesota Twins, that the Mets eventually won after Curtis Granderson homered to tie it up again & then homered to win it in walk off fashion. On September 22nd he drove in two runs in a wacky 9-8 Mets win over the Phillies at Citi Field.

On September 25th The Miami Marlins lost young pitcher Jose Fernandez in tragic boating accident. The baseball world was shocked as was South Florida. Fellow Cuban, Yoenis Cespedes paid his respects by taping up a Mets jersey with Fernandez name & number on it in the Mets dug out, that Sunday. That day the Mets scored their highest amount of runs in 2016 with a 17-0 shut out of the Phillies.

After going hitless in an emotional game in which the Mets lost in Miami, the Marlins first game back after Fernandez death, Cespedes returned with his 31st HR of the year in the Mets 12-1 win. In the NL Wild Card game he went 0-4 against Madison Bumgarner in the Mets 3-0 loss.

Cespedes finished off the year as the Mets biggest offensive player. With all the injuries to key players like Lucas Duda & David Wright out most of the season as well as injuries to most other key players, including Cespedes, it was Yo who carried the team into the playoffs for the second straight year.


He led the team in HRs (31) which was 9th most in the NL, RBIs (86) batting average (tied with Asdrubal Cabrera .280) Slugging (.530%) On Base % (.354%) total bases (254) & was second on the team in hits (134) doubles (25) & walks (51).

Cespedes averaged a HR in every 15.5 at bats which was third best in the league. In the outfield he had nine assists & made four errors in 122 games, 80 games in left & 63 games in center.

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