The New York Mets have the opportunity to sign the top international free agent available next month and begin the process of replenishing their farm system.
The 2020-2021 international signing period is right around the corner on January 15th, and many New York Mets fans are wondering with new ownership in tow if the organization is going to be active in terms of spending money on the international market this winter. The Mets’ allotted international bonus pool for the upcoming signing period is $5,348,100.
While the Mets haven’t been currently connected to any of the Top-30 international free agents according to MLB.com, one name that Mets fans will be very familiar with and would be an intriguing fit for their farm system is none other than Yoenis Cespedes younger half-brother, Yoelqui Cespedes. The younger Cespedes has made a name for himself not only on the Cuban baseball scene but also has made quite the impression in various international baseball competitions as well.
The 23-year old Cespedes has been described as a “five-tool outfielder with above-average tools across the board,” by MLB.com. Since defecting from Cuba, Yoelqui has bulked up almost 20 pounds, which currently has him looking awfully similar to his elder half-brother’s build. Cespedes has also reportedly reworked his swing, which looks like a mirror image of Yoenis’ swing in online videos.
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One of the only knocks on Yoelkis has been his inability to hit and lay off the off-speed pitches throughout his time in both Cuba and on the international circuit.
With the additional work he has put in with Yoenis since his defection, I can imagine he has potentially switched up his approach at the plate, as well as worked on correcting the hole in his swing. His arm in the outfield has also been described as very similar to the cannon that Yoenis possesses, which makes the comparison between both players that more astounding.
There is plenty of interest by MLB executives, scouts, as well as fans to see how Cespedes’s skills translate to the Major Leagues.
Cespedes has been the hot topic of conversation on the international market since he defected from Cuba last summer, and he most likely would have signed earlier had the financial landscape of the international market had not been drastically affected by Covid-19.
There will be no shortage of suitors, however, as many scouts across the league have been projecting the young Cuban phenom as one of the top, if not the top, international baseball players not yet on a Major League roster. If you’re looking at what the potential cost would be to acquire Cespedes talents, you could comparably look at another similar Cuban international signee in Pedro Leon, who is slotted to sign with the Houston Astros on January 15th at around $4 million.
Could the Mets be a suitor? With Steve Cohen now in charge anything is now a possibility, especially signing a potential impact player on the international market. The Mets haven’t been very active on the Cuban market in the past under previous regimes, but that may all change this upcoming offseason with both Cespedes as well as Oscar Colas available this winter.
If the Mets ever needed somebody to add to their organization to remove the sting of losing another young and projectible five-tool outfielder, then look no further than Cespedes. The Mets recently drafted Pete Crow-Armstrong in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft, to potentially mitigate some of the pain, but the 18-year old outfielder is still a few years away from having a Major League impact. Cespedes is a player who can immediately deepen their upper-level Minor League depth and could be a potential option for the Mets sooner rather than later.
Over the past couple of seasons, the Mets have done a great job replenishing their farm system via the Draft as well as making some great international signings. However, many of their top position players down on the farm are still a few years away from having any kind of impact at the Major League level. Adding Cespedes to the organization as previously stated, will add a player who could be ready to contribute to the big league roster within a year or two, and could relieve some of the constant heartache of losing outfielder Jarred Kelenic, who is also projected to debut within the next season or two for the Seattle Mariners.
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Yoelqui Cespedes projects as a corner outfielder at the Major League level which is something the Mets lack in their top echelon of prospects since making the unforgivable trade with the Mariners. Pete Crow-Armstrong projects more as a true center fielder and Isaiah Greene is still very raw in terms of harnessing his tools. If the Mets are looking for a way to make a splash in terms of replenishing their farm system, they should look no further than a player with a very familiar bloodline that can be signed at the beginning of the new year.