Is Yoeilin Cespedes the real deal?
Yoeilin Cespedes is this year's version of Miguel Bleis. Cespedes built up a ton of hype by dominating the DSL in 2023. He showed off all his tools and flew up rankings.
Bleis rose the prospect ladder a bit more, but Cespedes is dealing with a much more stacked system.
The right-handed hitting shortstop slashed .346/.392/.560 with 15 doubles, four triples, and six home runs in 46 games. He drove in 38 runs, scored 37 more, and stole one base. Cespedes struck out 24 times compared to 14 walks in 209 plate appearances.
It's unclear where the 18-year-old will start the 2024 season. The two likely options are the FCL and Single-A. Despite that uncertainty, it's safe to assume Cespedes will make his way to Single-A before the end of the year.
Cespedes grades out as above average in every category. He's a good fielder with a strong arm at shortstop. Solid speed rounds him out nicely.
Meanwhile, Cespedes should be a star with the bat. He hits for average and doesn't strike out too much. While he can draw some walks, he'll also punish any mistake pitches thrown his way.
The Salem Red Sox should have a lot of talent come through in 2024. Bleis will be joined by 2023 draft picks such as Nazzan Zanetello and Antonio Anderson. Catchers Johanfran Garcia and Brooks Brannon will be crushing home runs as well.
Cespedes has a chance to outshine them all. When will we see him, though? Will he be able to live up to the hype? Single-A might be the low level of the minor leagues, but it's still a serious step up from the DSL and FCL. It will be the first true test for Cespedes on his journey to the Major Leagues. Is he the real deal? We'll start to find out in 2024.