It's just like baseball to make you go to sleep thinking of Dan Duquette, and wake up thinking about the greatest international prospect to ever use Yacht Rock in a promotional video. The internet is abuzz over the video of Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes. Teams want him. Other players want to be him. He has six top-level tools -- his sixth tool is a belt sander, which he used to make his swing even smoother.
Kevin Goldstein introduced the scouting video the only way he could.
I knew I was in for something special once I saw the email.
It was forwarded to me by a big league exec with a simple "You're welcome." The original email was sent to nearly 200 people, a veritable who's who of the international scouting community.
Someone who didn't appreciate myth-building would have just jumped right to the story, but Goldstein saw a 20-minute video showcasing a previously little-known player doing well-known-player things. There was a Star Wars-style prologue. There was Christopher Cross, who has long been the "80" on the 20-to-80 scouting scale of Yacht Rock. This is the greatest scouting legend since Toe Nash. Just forget how that one turned out.
Cespedes is a 26-year-old free-agent center fielder out of Cuba, and he's exciting scouts like Aroldis Chapman did when he threw 102-m.p.h. fastballs from the left side at the World Baseball Classic. And everyone wants him. From the Washington Post:
It will by no means be easy for any team to acquire Cespedes. Katz and Mercedes are expected to garner a contract for Cespedes north of $30 million for five years, including a rich signing bonus. The New York Yankees have shown interest, as first reported by Yahoo! Sports. The Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies are also expected to vie for Cespedes, a major league official said.
The Phillies want him to replace Raul Ibanez. The Marlins want him to replace Chris Coghlan. The Yankees want him to play left-third base, or whatever open position they have left without a player making more than $10 million. And on Twitter, every fan of every team wants him. I'm a Giants fan, and for some reason, I'm thinking he can provide more production than Aaron Rowand did over the past couple of years. Cespedes. So hot right now. Cespedes.
That's the video that's lighting up a baseball-loving world that doesn't have baseball to distract it. It's a rosterbatory fantasy for people who know that giving $150 million to Prince Fielder is probably a bad idea, but who really, really want the production of Prince Fielder. It sounds ridiculous, and it mostly is, but Cespedes wasn't worse than Fielder in the majors last year. That's verifiable. So you can dream that he might be as good. Heck, even better, for a fraction of the cost. And the YouTube scouting videos for Cespedes and Fielder aren't comparable.
Cespedes is a free agent for the masses -- a premium free agent that every team can afford. At $30 million, he'd make just a million or two more than the average MLB salary. And he's a beast. A scouting legend. The most impressive looking player in the world who can be fooled over and over and over again by a Jeff Suppan curveball.
I mean, that's possible. No one's seen him hit against major-league pitching yet, other than for a brief spell in the World Baseball Classic. He could be a speedy, center-field playing Prince Fielder for pennies on the dollar. He could be Ozzie Canseco, without all the gaudy stats. But right now, which way are you leaning? You saw the video. You've read the scouting reports. You know the teams that have interest, and they are well-run teams. He should be … okay, at least. He should be a player worthy of a major-league roster spot.
But he could be soooooooooo much more. He could be the free-agent hitter that you -- yes, you -- need for your team, and you can get him without completely decimating the budget for the next decade. All your team needs to do is take a risk of scores of millions of dollars on a player they've barely seen against major-league pitching. Heck, it's not your money.