Oakland A's: 5 Reasons Why Yoenis Cespedes Can Win ROY
When Yoenis Cespedes signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the A's this offseason, he brought more than just his game to Oakland, he brought huge expectations. From day one the A's made it clear that Cespedes was going to be a major part of their team this season, immediately thrusting Cespedes into the middle of their lineup. Further confirming his importance to the team's future, the A's asked Coco Crisp to shift over to left field so Cespedes can take over in center.
As of now, Cespedes is living up to the A's expectations. He isn't dominating, but the A's didn't expect that of him right out of the gate. Thus far, it's Cespedes' greatest attribute, his power, that's making waves around the league. It's that attribute after all that lured the A's in, a facet of baseball that Oakland has lacked for some time now.
You'd be hard pressed to find a veteran let alone a rookie who has the raw physical attributes that Cespedes does. One way or the other, it's ultimately that talent that will determine whether or not Cespedes pushes for the American Rookie of the Year award. If everything comes together, Cespedes will have numbers that will make it extremely difficult for voters not to punch his name in their ballot.
Here are five reasons why Yoenis Cespedes can win the American League Rookie of the Year award.
Rest of Competition Isnt That Strong
Aside from the Rangers Yu Darvish, the rest of the AL ROY crop appears to nonexistent thus far. As of now, Darvish would most likely get the award being such a big story for years now and having three wins with an ERA of 2.42. It'll be interesting to see how Darvish performs down the stretch though. Right now he's still a mystery to AL hitters, so once teams have enough tape of him to study and learn his tendencies, he'll have to make the appropriate adjustments.
Another popular candidate heading into the season is Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore. Moore has been slow out of the gate, currently possessing an ERA over 5, but if his postseason last year was any indication his production should start to straighten out soon.
Perhaps the most intriguing candidate though and very much a dark horse would be fellow Athletic,Tom Milone. Milone wasn't particularly strong during the spring, but you'd never know it by looking at his performance this regular season. In his last two starts, Milone pitched 13 innings, giving up only two earned runs. He also has just as many wins as Darvis but his ERA is actually lower, an even 2. If Milone can continue to pitch at this level, his name will definitely be in the mix when all is said and done.
He'll Put Up the Best Power Numbers of Any Rookie
Cespedes' main competition in terms of hitters is probably Seattle Mariner Jesus Montero. Although Montero isn't exactly tearing it up at this point in the season (.279 BA, 2 HR, 10 RBI), he still should end up having some pretty respectable numbers for a rookie.
Even if Montero does go on a hot streak and his numbers do improve, it's unlikely that they would be able to match Cespedes. As of now, Cespedes is on track to hit over 40 HRs and 140 RBIs, and with expectations being that Cespedes will only continue to improve, there's no reason to believe that this pace would eventually falter. A higher average is nice, but it's the home runs and RBIs that grabs people's attention.
Playing in Oakland Wont Hurt Him
Since 2004, the A's have had three Rookie of the Years: Bobby Crosby, Huston Street and Andrew Bailey. Even more interesting, since 2002, half of the American League Rookie of the Year's have at some point been in the A's organization.
Despite the isolation that comes with playing on the island that is Oakland, it doesn't necessarily mean irrelevance. Even if the A's are out of contention come September, Cespedes will still be able to garner attention. If the rest of the A's struggle, it'll only allow Cespedes to shine brighter.
Right now there aren't a lot of impressive players on the Oakland roster. If Cespedes were to hit close to 20 HRs before the All-Star break then there's a decent chance that he could hear his name come selection time.
Although the outfield is usually the most competitive position when it comes to the All-Star game, there is the Final Vote that MLB adopted in 2002, allowing fans to have the final say on the last player chosen from each side. Suppose Cespedes does become a sensation during the first half, those are usually the exciting kind of players that fans love to see in the All-Star Game. And if he were to get the All-Star nod for the A's, it would look really good on his resume once ROY voting begins.
The Hype He Got in the Offseason Will Carry Throughout the Season
As previously mentioned, Cespedes signed a huge deal to join the A's, making $6.5 million this season, which makes him the highest paid Athletic. Even putting the money aside, when he announced his plans to defect, many labeled him as the best Cuban prospect to ever leave for MLB.
Combined with his production and even perhaps a little bit of marketing if he were to participate in the HR Derby, all eyes would continue to follow Cespedes this season. Flashy five-tool players are rare, and he brings something new not only to Oakland, but to the AL as well. Cespedes is the kind of player and story that interests people all year long.