If I had my way, Yoenis Cespedes would be playing right field in order to maximize his superior throwing arm.
That is simply a matter of baseball fundamentals. Right fielders are responsible for making the longest throws, so that’s where you want your best arm.Aug 22, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) leaves the field in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Mets defeated the Rockies 14-9. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
A superior throwing arm in right causes opposing runners to stop dead in their tracks at first, second and/or third. It certainly makes them think twice, and almost always makes them regret bad decisions.
Moreover, someone with a strong arm who also understands the importance of proper foot work now in effect becomes a weapon. And therein lies the chess game between right fielders and opposing third base coaches.
Curtis Granderson would get shifted to left field where his arm is better suited for making throws to second base, third base, and to the cut-off man for plays at home.
Juan Lagares would naturally patrol center. He’s hitting much better of late, and that’s a good sign considering he’s dealt with nagging injuries this season which somewhat compromised his throwing.
Otherwise, when healthy, the gold-glove center fielder already demonstrated a sufficiently strong and accurate throwing arm on plays to third, and in so far as hitting the cut-off man (within vicinity of the mound) on plays home.
Michael Cuddyer would still get his share of starts serving as a right-hand compliment to both Granderson, and Lucas Duda at first base. And as a veteran who won’t shrink in big moments, Cuddyer would become a valuable asset for Terry Collins off the bench.
However, there’s just one very obvious flaw in my plan.
In 538 career MLB games, Yoenis Cespedes never spent an inning playing right field. He has either played left or center throughout his 4-year career. He even managed to squeeze in 3 games at shortstop while still back in Cuba – just not in right.
Cespedes has posted double-digit assists in each of his last 3 seasons, and just missed with 9 assists in his rookie year.
The numbers say Yoenis is a far better center fielder than left fielder:
- CF – 87 games; 1 error in 213 chances; .995 FA.
- LF – 388 games;17 errors in 776 chances; .978 FA.
Corner outfield may not be his thing…
Overall, he owns a career .982 FA, versus a .987 lgFA.
I wonder if the Mets ever discussed this with him.
I wonder if the Mets should.
What say you?