Yoenis Cespedes has a long swing and doesn't seem especially attuned to the strike zone. He might never hit even .275 at the major-league level, and because he also lacks defensive instincts, many MLB scouts believe he will have to play primarily a corner outfield position. There is a great deal of risk considering that he might never reach his full potential.
The Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins and the other five or six teams actively interested in Cespedes all know those things. They all know that Cespedes is rough around the edges, especially for a 27-year-old. Yet, they seem ready to pay him in excess of the $30.25 million the Cincinnati Reds shelled out for Cuban pitching phenom Aroldis Chapman prior to the 2010 season.
The reasons are clear once one soaks in the two now-famous scouting videos that have leaked onto YouTube this winter. In them, Cespedes demonstrated exceptional, crazy athleticism, from running to weightlifting to 50-inch vertical jumps.
Cespedes is such a spectacular physical specimen that, if some team can ever teach him to play baseball with any polish, he would be a superstar with a .900 OPS upside in center field.
Baseball is, of course, primarily a skill-based competition. It isn't like football or basketball—it does not demand athleticism. When that elite athleticism is at hand, though, it makes the game more fun to watch, and the players easier to market and marvel over.
Here are the 50 guys who have induced the greatest drooling fits from tools-obsessed scouts over the last century.