Oakland A's center fielder Yoenis Cespedes swings at a pitch during the A's 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
Coming off a hot opening homestand against the Seattle Mariners, Cespedes struggled, going 3-for-20 in his next six games with just one extra-base hit until Tuesday night's 5-3 victory over the Angels, where he was 2-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin let Cespedes sit out this Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, his first game off of the season.
Melvin's call worked.
Through his 12 MLB games, Cespedes' offensive numbers are great. The Cuban import bashed three home runs and seven RBI in Oakland's first four games of the season, but cooled off in the next eight.
Cespedes has the talent to reach the level of an Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez—there’s no question about that. Unlike Pujols or Rodriguez, however, Cespedes is being thrown into the Major League Baseball fire immediately. No minor league, no fall or college experience in the United States.
As his career numbers show, A-Rod was slowly weaned into the big leagues, playing a handful of major league games before exploding for huge numbers in his first full season. Pujols played at a community college and a year in the minors before he saw his first MLB action in 2001 and never looked back. Cespedes has played plenty of international baseball, but is that near or equal to level of competition in MLB?
Will Cespedes be the AL Rookie of the Year?
His quick start to the season would make anyone think so, but why did he struggle in his last six games before breaking out of the short slump?
Cespedes needed a day off. He needed a break. Who hasn’t needed a mental health day from work? He's not having trouble adjusting to major league pitching, and teams aren't adjusting to him in the lineup.
Had the Angels "adjusted" to him, they would have walked him with an open base and two runners in scoring position in the eighth. Instead, they allowed him the chance to knock in insurance runs late in the game, and the Angels paid for that mistake.
Cespedes is far from being “solved” by major league scouts, pitchers and teams. There’s a very, very long way to go this year—150 games to be exact. There's 10 American League and five National League teams that need to stop Cespedes.
Until they've done that, he's far from a sure out in the batter's box.
Follow Peter Fournier on Twitter: @P_Fournier