MLB Rookie Watch: Yoenis Cespedes Doing Well, but Needs Better Plate Discipline

Michael DesjardinsCorrespondent IIApril 9, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 06:  Yoenis Cespedes #52 swings and watches the fight of his ball as he hits a two-run home run against the Seattle Mariners on Opening Day at Coliseum on April 6, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland Athletics are four games into the regular season, and already they're sitting at 1-3. It doesn't come as too much of a surprise to most. With guys like Josh Willingham, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez gone, and Manny Ramirez serving his 50-game suspension, Athletics fans don't have much to see.

However, there is one guy. Yoenis Cespedes.

In case you have been living under a rock, here's a bit about him.

Cespedes is currently the center fielder for the Athletics. However, before then, he was playing in Cuba, including for the national baseball team. He helped the team earn several medals, including gold in the 2007 Pan American Games,and the 2010 International Cup.

Last summer, he defected from the country and took residence in the Dominican Republic. Upon doing so, he entered MLB free agency and would sign a four-year, $36 million this past February.

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus called Cespedes "arguably the best all-around player to come out of Cuba in a generation."

So far, he's liven up to the hype.

In 13 at-bats, he has four hits, all of them for extra bases. One of them was a double, the other three were home runs (ties for the most in the American League with Miguel Cabrera)—and mind you, he did this at the Tokyo Dome and in Oakland, at spacious Coliseum. Imagine what could happen when he travels to Arlington or New York. Fans, get your gloves ready when this player comes up to bat.

He's also done a great job in the outfield, as well. He's yet to record an error, including in spring training. He doesn't have the biggest range (yet, anyway), but he has shown that he has a rocket of an arm.

My main concern with Cespedes thus far, though, is his plate discipline. Sure, he has plenty of power, and has plenty of speed too, but he's also prone to striking out.

In those same number of bats, he struck out seven times. In 35 at-bats in spring training, he struck out 12 times. In comparison, another rookie, Seattle Mariners catcher/designated hitter Jesus Montero, has struck out only twice in 15 at-bats. 

If he wants to become the next baseball superstar and help this organization win games, he needs to do a better job of protecting himself at the plate.