Those were the words of Coco Crisp as he walked off the field after batting practice on Tuesday afternoon before the club’s 5-1 loss to the AL West rival Texas Rangers.
Chris Young, who was walking alongside Oakland’s table-setter, asked if he was referring to “Cespy.” He was, and in particular, Crisp was referencing the recently completed batting practice round of Yoenis Cespedes, which had been electric, even by the standards of the left fielder.
There’s something different about the sound of the ball off his bat, about the flight of his towering drives before they crash high off the batter’s eye.
The problem is that power has rarely been on display in 2013. Cespedes has slumped to a .231 average in his second season after hitting .292 as a rookie. It’s almost impressive how consistently unproductive Cespedes has been this season. Here are his batting averages by month:
In the first four games in September, he’s 6-for-15 after opening the month with three straight two-hit games. His minor run is much too brief to make much out of. However, as Crisp and Young both noticed, Cespedes is looking locked in, at least during batting practice.
Seemingly, three out of four balls he hits during batting practice go out, and generally way out. If the Cuban left fielder can stroke five home runs, and pull up his average to .240 or so, his months of floundering will be largely forgotten in the narrative of his 2013 season.
Last month Buster Olney of ESPN wrote in his column, and then wondered aloud on 95.7 FM The Game, if the A’s might consider moving the slugger in the offseason. He noted that is was “total speculation on my part,” but his logic was that the A’s tend to ship out their veterans two or more years before free agency. Cespedes’ four-year deal is up after the 2015 season.
It might sound compelling, especially considering the front office’s philosophy, but that would be a move the A’s could come to regret. As he demonstrates with his powerful batting practice displays, Cespedes is a ridiculously and uncommonly talented player.
If that talent and power are going to translate consistently into games, though, there are probably a whole bunch of adjustments that Cespedes will need to make, and to continue doing so on a consistent basis.
It seems one simple adjustment might be to go into every at-bat looking for a particular pitch, instead of waving at breaking balls off the plate. He waved at offerings from Yu Darvish on two occasions, who to be fair, has 240 strikeouts, which leads all of baseball by a considerable margin.
Still, even Cespedes had to know that breaking ball off the plate was coming with two strikes in the fifth inning against the Texas right-hander.
Cespedes also earned his first walk of September against Darvish. He’s not exactly been patient as of late as he collected just five free passes in all of August. Cespedes is apparently planing to uncork quite a few more of his huge hacks, two strikes or not. Perhaps, eventually the aggressive approach will pay off.