New York Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton receive plenty of attention for their ability to hit home runs. Over in Queens, New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has been doing it even longer.
Who says the New York Mets can’t hit any home runs? Often ignored, they can hang with their cross-city rivals thanks to one man in particular.
The home run hitting abilities of each awarded them the National League MVP (Stanton) and runner-up in the American League voting (Judge). Judge did come away with the Rookie of the Year victory, offering little chance to the rest of the league’s freshmen.
Meanwhile, another slugger in New York seems all but forgotten. Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets was hitting big league home runs in the Big Apple before either of those two. In 2018, it’s time for him to step up and remind everyone who was here first.
Cespedes does have a few factors at play going against him in any quest to hit more dingers than the two bash brothers in the Bronx. His home ballpark at Citi Field won’t do him any favors. Judge and Stanton have a clear advantage playing at Yankee Stadium.
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In addition to this, they will spend the season visiting other hitter’s havens in the AL East. Cespedes won’t have this same luxury in the NL East. However, this doesn’t seem to affect him much.
The great thing about Cespedes is that he has hit home runs wherever he has played. I think we forget just how many different uniforms he has worn over the past few seasons. Whether with the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, or the Mets, the guy has found his power stroke. It’s what got him a major league contract in the first place. It’s what also landed him a huge deal with the Mets.
The turning point for Cespedes came in 2015 when he began the year with the Detroit Tigers. Previous to this season, his single-season home run high was at 26. Cespedes changed this by knocking 18 with the Tigers and another 17 with the Mets.
Showing off that this was no fluke, Cespedes powered 31 home runs in 2016. His first season with the Mets could have been even better if not for missing 30 games.
Cespedes certainly has the power even if he has yet to reach the 40 home run plateau. The two-time Home Run Derby winner may not be built for that. Not many are.
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Outdueling the pair up in the Bronx is a difficult task. Falling short is nothing to feel ashamed of. Cespedes is still a special player with the ability to win games for the Mets thanks in large part to his tremendous power.