“I don’t really know what [the front office is] thinking. My plan is to go out there and have fun. I enjoy the team. It’s a really great team. I love the city of New York. I love the fans. What we’ve got going here is a really good thing. So I don’t really think about that. I just want to go out and do my job and produce and put up great numbers.”
-- Yoenis Cespedes to reporters after Monday’s game.
Free agency may be looming for Yoenis Cespedes, but his performance has been MVP-caliber since the New York Mets obtained him in a trade with the Detroit Tigers on July 31. He’s hitting .311 with 13 home runs and 34 RBIs in 34 games with the Mets after going 3-for-5 with a home run (his fifth in six games) in Monday’s win over the Washington Nationals.
In just more than a month, Cespedes has done something it took many who came before him a full season to do. Monday marked his third game with three extra-base hits since joining the team. Only four other players in Mets history -- Darryl Strawberry (1987), Carlos Beltran (2006), David Wright (2008) and Lucas Duda (2015) -- have had three such games in a season.
Cespedes had only one three extra-base hit game in his career prior to joining the Mets.
The player currently favored to win National League MVP, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the defeat.
Yoenis for MVP
”He's been amazing.”
-- Mets captain David Wright to reporters on Monday.
While it’s highly unlikely that a player will ever be named MVP after joining a new league via a deadline-day deal, it’s possible that Cespedes could pilfer a few votes.
There is precedent for that. In 1984, Cubs pitcher Rick Sutcliffe placed fourth in the NL MVP voting after being obtained from the Cleveland Indians in a midseason deal (the trade came in June). Sutcliffe went 16-1 and won the NL Cy Young Award in helping the Cubs win the division.
Tigers pitcher Doyle Alexander went 9-0 after being traded by the Braves and placed 13th in the 1987 AL MVP voting (Alexander was traded for John Smoltz).
Cespedes has totaled 1.4 Wins Above Replacement with the Mets. His 5.5 WAR overall ranks tied for 13th in the major leagues.
An un-Cespedes-like home run
Cespedes’ fourth-inning home run was unusual for him. His homers typically are low-hit line drives, but this one had much more height. This home run had an apex of 161 feet. That’s more than double his average height of 77.6 feet and well beyond his season-high of 120 feet.
Our home run-tracking crew clocked Cespedes’ home run with a hang time of 7.05 seconds, topped only by the Ramirez home run that was in the air for 7.3 seconds.
Did you know?
Cespedes is the first Mets hitter with a home run, two doubles and two runs scored as a cleanup hitter since Mike Piazza against the Cubs in 2000.
Cespedes is slugging .669 with the Mets. Piazza holds the single-season club record (for a full season) for highest slugging percentage, slugging .614 during that 2000 season.
ESPN baseball writer Adam Rubin contributed to this report