Normally, I do not like it when people present their opinions lacking any hard evidence, but only having "a gut feeling". But here I am, about to do that. I think it is, to quote some great philosophers, more than a feeling, but its not quite a rigorous statistical analysis. Here goes. I think Yoenis Cespedes will radically outplay his projections, because I think his personality is up to it. My argument after the jump.
Now, I do not know Yoenis Cespedes personally. I can only construct his personality from what I have seen. So obvious caveats apply. However, we do have the famous promotional video for Cespedes. I think it is quite evident it was put together with significant input from him, rather than totally the product of his agent. If it was totally the product of his agent, we would have seen more video of this over-the-top quality, which I think it is safe to say we have not. Furthermore, it contains details only Cespedes would have put in, his thanking of Ahman Green, his shoutout to his Mom, his random pig roast, etc. This is not something a polished agent would put out. This is the work of a very, very, cocksure amateur director. The overall feeling I get from Cespedes is this cartoonishly arrogant athletic freak, who thinks he will be God's gift to Major League Baseball. This may, at first, sound like a character concern. But all reports from people who know him say that Cespedes is a pretty personable guy, who is easy to get along with. So I think there is a difference between the type of arrogance that makes you a jerk, and the type of arrogance that makes you a great professional baseball player. So here's my wild, hopeful, but very possibly inaccurate guessing: Cespedes thinks he is the greatest athlete in the world. But he can back that up. He doesn't get down on himself, he doesn't overanalyze slumps, precisely because of his arrogance. If he screws up, doesn't matter. He's still the greatest. He doesn't care about pressure. I think his record in international competition speaks to that. Céspedes was 11 for 22 with 12 runs, 14 RBI, two doubles and four homers in six games at the 2010 World University Baseball Championship. And although this is highly unscientific, as it is a small sample size, it may show me something. But, even in other competitions, when he sucked, like the WBC 2009, when he hit .194/.275/.333 and replaced by Leonys Martin, when asked to pinch hit in the Gold Medal Game, he still hit a single. He wasn't bogged down by his slump, he just did his job. Because he's Yoenis Cespedes, greatest athlete the world has ever seen. Okay, that was really unscientific, but hey, it fits my narrative.
In terms of the type of arrogance I'm trying to portray, I'm thinking something along the lines of Rickey Henderson. Arrogant as all hell, but an entertaining rather than grating arrogance, an arrogance that allowed him to excel, rather than annoy.
Anyway, after the A's signed Cespedes, I said to a friend, "I'll bet you now Cespedes homers in his first game". And I'll count this spring training game. Why did I think so? Because he's the type who will rise to occasion, who will see the pressure put on him and not say "I don't know if I can do this", but say "Let's show these guys what I got"
I'm excited for Cespedes to be in Green and Gold. Not only do I think he will radically outplay his projections, but I think he will be a highly entertaining fan favorite.
Maybe I'm wrong about all this, but hey, wouldn't be awesome if I'm right?