You hate to make a snap judgment after two simulated games against low-minors pitching, but Yeonis Cespedes very likely will take the Bay Area by storm this year. That’s my first bold prediction of spring training. Cespedes not only looks like the real deal, he looks like he could be the A’s best player right ouf of the gate.
It’s not just that he went 7-for-12 over the past two days with a pair of homers and a string of laser hits. It’s just the way the guy carries himself. He doesn’t act like a rookie. Doesn’t get overexcited. Looks supremely cool and confident, in and out of the batter’s box. Manny Ramirez may be Cespedes’ godfather off the diamond, but when he has a bat in his hands, Yeonis doesn’t look like he needs a whole lot of pointers.
They say he plays the outfield with a similar calm and coolness. Can’t wait to see it. This weekend, it appears we will — finally — see Cespedes in a real spring training game. A’s fans should salivate. They haven’t had a potential star outfielder since in awhile, but they may have one now. We’ll see. Cespedes hasn’t seen a steady diet of maj0r-league changeups, sliders and curveballs yet. But it’s pretty apparent he has no problem with a fastball.
What I liked was that he hit virtually ball in the simulated game with authority. Even the outs, save one chopper to third, were hit hard. And the home run wasn’t a floater. It was a low missile that cleared the left field fence just inside the foul pole. Yesterday’s blast was higher, but equally well tattooed. The outs showed something, too — Cespedes can get down the line, which adds just a little more speed to the lineup. If he winds up hitting third, you’ve got Jemile Weeks, Coco Crisp and Cespedes setting the tone at the top of the lineup.
OK, enough hype. Should probably tone it down before the guy plays his first major-league game. But I’ve already seen enough to know Cespedes is going to be a guy worth going to the ballpark to watch.
Not a great start Thursday for the highly touted Jarrod Parker, acquired in the deal for Trevor Cahill from Arizona, but it could have been worse. Parker went two innings and surrendered two runs against the Dodgers’ A lineup, but it was not without a few highlights despite 3 hits, 3 walks and a hit batter.
With two runs in and the bases loaded in the first, Parker got Juan Uribe to hit into a double play to end the inning. In the second, after hitting the first batter and giving up a single to the second, he got out of the inning unscored upon, and finished his stint by striking out the shoulda-been-NL-MVP Matt Kemp looking. So at least he ended up on a positive. Manager Bob Melvin says Parker is definitely in the mix to make the rotation.
Not much news today. In addition to Cespedes, both Manny Ramirez and Daric Barton hit in the simulated game. Barton hit one nice ball to the warning track. Manny didn’t do anything special, but at least he was back on the field after being scratched from Wednesday’s game due to back stiffness.
Adam Rosales, who has been set back by left shoulder tendinitis, saw his first game action Thursday. It remains to be seen if he can get into the third base competition. Probably doubtful.
The A’s announced their first two regular-season games in Japan will be televised on the MLB Network tape-delayed on March 28-29. Each game will be shown twice, at 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. The games will be broadcast live at 3:10 a.m. on 95.7-FM The Game.
The A’s will also bring back Spanish radio broadcasts this year, at least for 69 weeknight and weekend home games. The games will be aired on KIQI (1010 AM), KATD (990 AM) and KWRU (1300 AM) during the 2012 season. The broadcast schedule kicks off with Bay Bridge Series exhibition game against the Giants Tuesday, April 3, followed by 68 regular-season games, with Amaury-Pi Gonzalez and Manolo Hernandez-Douen at the mike.
Yes, that was the only official statement from the A’s offices today. But hey, it’s still early.