Yoenis Cespedes demonstrated the full range of his skill set in his time with the New York Mets, mashing a bunch of homers and propelling the team out of the reach of the Washington Nationals and onward to the NL East title. Remember back in early September, when it was popular to debate whether Cespedes should win the MVP Award in the National League? (In fact, he did get a handful of votes, more than teammate Curtis Granderson.)
But late in the regular season and in the playoffs, Cespedes seemed to display all the reasons the Oakland Athletics surprised everyone by moving him in the 2014 trade for Jon Lester, and why the Boston Red Sox quickly flipped him after only a couple of months. As one executive who knows him said: When Cespedes slumps, he tends to be unreachable and has a hard time digging his way out. In the final 16 games of the regular season, he was homerless in 61 plate appearances, compiling just three walks, and in the postseason he batted .222 with one walk and 17 strikeouts in 54 at-bats. Much of what little damage he did in October was generated in one blowout of the Dodgers.
Maybe this is why there's very little buzz among club executives about Cespedes' free agency and a lot of question among teams about whether he's going to generate anything close to a nine-figure deal. "If he's waiting for a $100 million deal, he could be sitting out there in February," said one executive.
Cespedes is part of our next round of positional rankings: the top 10 left fielders in baseball, based on the input of evaluators and scouts.
The Pirates have the luxury of posting a center fielder in left field -- some scouts believe Marte would be a better defender in center than Andrew McCutchen -- and Marte's defensive metrics reflect his relative dominance at the position. In 2015, he was credited with 24 defensive runs saved (DRS), and the only other left fielders even close were Cespedes at 15 and Christian Yelich at 13.
Marte is gradually becoming a more aggressive hitter, with his pitches per plate appearance dipping from 3.91 in 2012 to this year's 3.60, and his on-base percentage is sliding as a result. But Marte is also doing more damage, with 19 homers among his 51 extra-base hits in '15.