As well as Yoenis Cespedes has performed this season, he is still only touching the surface of his true potential. Consider this, since the All-Star break when he's played almost everyday, missing only one game due to injury, Cespedes has hit .388 with five home runs and 21 RBI.
It is paramount for Cespedes to remain healthy and play every day. Every day he is out there is another game of experience for a young player who is still learning the American game. This is a guy who coming into the season didn't even know how to properly act after hitting a home run, having to be instructed by teammates that standing at home plate admiring a homer is a no-no in the majors.
For Cespedes, staying healthy and on the field is half the battle. If he can do so, he can become a serious MVP threat relatively soon.
Heading into his first major league season, a learning curve was expected for Cespedes, it's to be expected for any rookie ballplayer. Well if there was such a curve, then Cespedes has seemingly handled it rather easily and quickly.
Unfortunately for Cespedes there is another rookie who should challenge him for any potential awards the rest of his career. That player of course is Los Angeles Angels rookie phenom Mike Trout. Like Cespedes, Trout is a five-tool player who has taken the league by storm, even overshadowing Cespedes' stellar rookie season in Oakland.
If Trout had not emerged this year for Los Angeles, then chances are Cespedes would've took home the AL Rookie of the Year Award in a landslide.
It is baseball, however, so anything can happen. If something should happen to Trout, then suddenly Cespedes is once again front and center when it comes to the AL West and the rest of the league.
Coming into the season the biggest question surrounding Cespedes was how well he would be able to make consistent contact. It was a concern that some thought might land him in the minors to begin the season.
Well this year his contact hasn't been anything amazing, but it's been relatively good for a rookie. Cespedes has struck out 77 times this year in 308 AB's, compare that to Trout's 88 K's in 381 AB's and suddenly that number looks pretty darn good for Cespedes.
Expect Cespedes' ability to make contact only improve with experience, which should also result in an increase of production.
Cespedes' production may very well come down to the guys playing around him, and luckily for Oakland, several players have emerged as quality hitters this year. Josh Reddick has become a very reliable and complete hitter in the three hole while Chris Carter is finally starting to show the promise he flashed while at Triple-A Sacramento.
What is crucial for the A's going forward is that they continue to surround Cespdes with quality hitters in the middle of their lineup so that opposing pitchers won't be able to constantly pitch around the budding superstar. If Cespedes doesn't see quality pitches at the plate it doesn't matter how well he's adapting to the Major Leagues.
Chances are, if you want to be an MVP candidate, then you're going to have be playing for a contender. For the next several seasons, the A's should be just that.
Built around a core of young yet talented players. the A's are a very good ball club now, so a few years from now when all these rookies are experienced just imagine how good they'll be.
Though Cespedes is a very good hitter, what ultimately wins division titles and championships is pitching. Fortunately for the A's, they seem to have a surplus of good, young pitching, which should carry them to major success for years to come.
Everyone knows that home runs are the "sexiest" aspect of the sport, chicks dig the long ball after all. Like chicks, what stands out to voters are the power numbers, and by the time Cespedes is fully acclimated to the Majors, his numbers could be as ridiculous as they were when he was playing in the Cuban League.
As previously mentioned, Cespdes' main competitor seems to be Mike Trout, but one area where Cespedes has a clear edge between the two is in raw power. If Cespedes can remain healthy for an entire year, then he can put up some seriously impressive home run and RBI totals and steal some votes away from his main competitors.