Goldstein: Execs Favor Yoenis Cespedes Over Colby Rasmus

In Kevin Goldstein’s latest over at Baseball Prospectus, he asks eight Major League executives whether they’d take newly-established Dominican Republic resident and international free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes over five other young MLB outfielders — Colby Rasmus, Drew Stubbs, B.J. Upton, Chris Young and Adam Jones — who haven’t quite reached their full potentials yet.

The executives, “many with extensive international experience and in-person looks at Cespedes,” Goldstein writes, were hypothetically offered each of the six outfielders for free, so cost wasn’t a factor in their decision.

Rasmus leads off the article (before the paywall hits for those of you that aren’t BP subscribers), but let’s just say that the results aren’t pretty, and six of the eight executives polled chose Cespedes over the Blue Jays center fielder.

Goldstein prefaces the results by saying, “opinions on where Cespedes fit on the scale were all over the board; one exec took all five big-leaguers ahead of Cespedes, while another chose Cespedes over all five established players.”

Even though he didn’t hit well at all with the Jays following the trade, Rasmus is able to play the “fitting into a new environment” card, given that he was able to gradually come out of his shell on a new team that didn’t include Tony La Russa. Practically all Jays fans are pulling for him in 2012 and hoping that he hits more like he did in his breakout 28-double, 23-home run season in 2010. One of the two execs in the article that voted in Rasmus’ favor (from the National League) is of the same mindset.

“He’s just so young, and look at what he just did in 2010,” he says.

Despite hitting 10 doubles with the Jays and otherwise struggling to muster anything offensively, it was easy to see Rasmus’ defensive prowess in center field while playing for the Jays. Sticking in center field ultimately determined the other executive, also from the NL, that voted for Rasmus to vote the way he did.

Aug 10, 2011; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) warms up before playing against the Oakland Athletics at the Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays beat the Athletics 8-4. (Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE)

“I know I’m in the minority here, but I see Cespedes as more of a right fielder than one who can patrol center,” he explained. “That puts far more pressure on the bat.”

The other comments on Rasmus in the article, from American League executives that voted against Rasmus, are fairly blunt.

“I just don’t think he’s as good as maybe he should be,” says an AL scouting executive. “I don’t like the swing, and there’s something about the J.D. Drew way he goes about things.”

“I just don’t buy the whole ‘Tony La Russa turned this guy into a bad player’ thing,” says another AL front-office member who was “tired of the excuses”.

Eesh.

Without revealing much behind the paywall, Cespedes is chosen in similar landslide fashion over three of the five candidates, with one tie and one player that out-votes him.

When we opened a poll about Rasmus’ 2012 season back on January 12, 271 of you (47%) felt that he’ll hit as well as he did in 2010, with another 255 votes (44%) that he’ll be better than he was in 2010. Only 51 voters felt that Rasmus will have a sub-par season next year.

Under the same circumstances as the polled executives, though, who would you rather, Rasmus or Cespedes going forward?

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

-JM

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Topics: Colby Rasmus, Toronto Blue Jays, Yoenis Cespedes

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  • JamesFoster1

    Colby vs. some guy with zero MLB (or even MILB) experience? Pretty easy vote for Colby… maybe next year or the year after I feel differently but right now? Colby.

  • JamesFoster1

    Colby vs. some guy with zero MLB (or even MILB) experience? Pretty easy vote for Colby… maybe next year or the year after I feel differently but right now? Colby.

  • Mike A

    As a fan, I don’t feel I can judge, not having seen Cespedes at all.

    But, I have to say that I have yet to be convinced by Rasmus. While he showed glimpses of huge upside with the Jays in 2011, I don’t think he’ll put it all together, at least not before Gose or Marisnick arrive with the big club. There always seems to be the “big ol’ country boy” air about Colby Rasmus that makes me think he’s just going up to the plate and swinging the bat, rather than having a real plan to find something to hit hard (a la Bautista).

    Will a full season playing next to Jose every day out there help his hitting approach? Could be. Or he could be the type of guy who will just never “get it.”

  • Mike A

    As a fan, I don’t feel I can judge, not having seen Cespedes at all.

    But, I have to say that I have yet to be convinced by Rasmus. While he showed glimpses of huge upside with the Jays in 2011, I don’t think he’ll put it all together, at least not before Gose or Marisnick arrive with the big club. There always seems to be the “big ol’ country boy” air about Colby Rasmus that makes me think he’s just going up to the plate and swinging the bat, rather than having a real plan to find something to hit hard (a la Bautista).

    Will a full season playing next to Jose every day out there help his hitting approach? Could be. Or he could be the type of guy who will just never “get it.”

  • Jared_Macdonald

    @Mike A Mike, I’m sure you’re not the only one that has yet to be convinced by Rasmus, especially with all of the hype around him. Despite 2012 being his first full season with the Jays, it’s going to be a ‘make or break’ type of campaign for him.

    If he returns to his 2010 form offensively and puts up a respectable OPS, great; he silences his critics. If he does, however, limp to another .220 average and sub-.300 OBP next year, things might get ugly especially with, like you said, Gose getting that much closer to The Show and Marisnick potentially right behind him.

    The two things that Rasmus hopefully addresses next season are being patient and making more consistent contact. He did manage to hit 10 doubles and three home runs in 35 games with the Jays last year (24 doubles and 14 home runs on the year overall) so the extra-base power is definitely in there. It will really just come down taking more pitches and cutting down on the swing and miss he showed late in the season.

  • Jared_Macdonald

    @JamesFoster1 I agree with you James, it’s the same argument of whether you’re for or against Darvish vs. a proven MLB pitcher. It will be interesting to see if Cespedes does in fact latch on to a MLB club before spring training and plays the 2012 campaign in the Majors (his agent feels it’s guaranteed). If he does, the comparisons will start flowing from a few people between him and Rasmus at the end of the season I’m sure.

    It’s interesting to note too that a Jays scout has mentioned that the club won’t be a player on Cespedes at all.

  • Mike A

    @Jared_Macdonald Agreed. His swing really is a beautiful thing to behold when he gets a hold of one, and the power seems effortless. Combine that with his Devon-White-esque defense, and I think he can be a valuable contributor even hitting .250/.320/.410 with 15-20 home runs. Devon White struck out a lot too…..

  • Jared_Macdonald

    @Mike A Mike, I’m sure you’re not the only one that has yet to be convinced by Rasmus, especially with all of the hype around him. Despite 2012 being his first full season with the Jays, it’s going to be a ‘make or break’ type of campaign for him.

    If he returns to his 2010 form offensively and puts up a respectable OPS, great; he silences his critics. If he does, however, limp to another .220 average and sub-.300 OBP next year, things might get ugly especially with, like you said, Gose getting that much closer to The Show and Marisnick potentially right behind him.

    The two things that Rasmus hopefully addresses next season are being patient and making more consistent contact. He did manage to hit 10 doubles and three home runs in 35 games with the Jays last year (24 doubles and 14 home runs on the year overall) so the extra-base power is definitely in there. It will really just come down taking more pitches and cutting down on the swing and miss he showed late in the season.

  • Jared_Macdonald

    @JamesFoster1 I agree with you James, it’s the same argument of whether you’re for or against Darvish vs. a proven MLB pitcher. It will be interesting to see if Cespedes does in fact latch on to a MLB club before spring training and plays the 2012 campaign in the Majors (his agent feels it’s guaranteed). If he does, the comparisons will start flowing from a few people between him and Rasmus at the end of the season I’m sure.

    It’s interesting to note too that a Jays scout has mentioned that the club won’t be a player on Cespedes at all.

  • Mike A

    @Jared_Macdonald Agreed. His swing really is a beautiful thing to behold when he gets a hold of one, and the power seems effortless. Combine that with his Devon-White-esque defense, and I think he can be a valuable contributor even hitting .250/.320/.410 with 15-20 home runs. Devon White struck out a lot too…..

  • gnor

    I voted for Rasmus, probably for the same reasons The Jays did. Rasmus has a head start on Cespedes, he’s cheaper, and if he doesn’t work out, centre field is going to get very crowded, very soon anyway. There’s nothing wrong with his fielding, and here’s hoping a touch of “Murphy Magic” will get his bat going this year.

    One thing about his fielding that I noticed last year was that he seemed to get into conflicts with Bautista quite a bit. Whether he didn’t yell loud enough to call him off, or whether Joey Bats didn’t trust him, I don’t know, but they have to straighten it out soon.

    It will be interesting to see whether they have a Devon White, or a JD Drew out there.

  • gnor

    I voted for Rasmus, probably for the same reasons The Jays did. Rasmus has a head start on Cespedes, he’s cheaper, and if he doesn’t work out, centre field is going to get very crowded, very soon anyway. There’s nothing wrong with his fielding, and here’s hoping a touch of “Murphy Magic” will get his bat going this year.

    One thing about his fielding that I noticed last year was that he seemed to get into conflicts with Bautista quite a bit. Whether he didn’t yell loud enough to call him off, or whether Joey Bats didn’t trust him, I don’t know, but they have to straighten it out soon.

    It will be interesting to see whether they have a Devon White, or a JD Drew out there.

  • jakely

    Rasmus just looks like a ballplayer. I always liked those gliders in center. It’s in there and it will be disappointing if he doesn’t deliver on it. If he hits, one big piece added to the puzzle. We have a team of that. Cant wait to see who does what.

  • jakely

    Rasmus just looks like a ballplayer. I always liked those gliders in center. It’s in there and it will be disappointing if he doesn’t deliver on it. If he hits, one big piece added to the puzzle. We have a team of that. Cant wait to see who does what.

  • gnor

    Yoenis Cespedes is probably going to be very good, but there again, everybody is slavering over a free agent that has never seen a major league pitch. The Blue jays are building a prototypical baseball team, with defense up the middle, and power on the corners. As it stands now, it would be difficult to find a centre fielder who’s D is even incrementally better than Rasmus. He makes it look so easy, people thing he’s lazy.

    As far as hitting goes, instead of the Tony LaRussa card, maybe he should play the “Holy crap, they can really pitch over here!” card. After all, he doesn’t have Pittsburgh, Houston, and the Cubbies to beat up on any more. Let’s all hope that a touch of “Murphy’s Magic Hitting Powder”, and some time to settle in and adjust will get him back in a better groove. Jacoby Ellesbury or Alex Rios? Let’s hope he’s closer to the former.

  • gnor

    @Jared_Macdonald @JamesFoster1 Your article mentioned that one guy thought Cespedes played out as a right fielder, so you can see why The Blue Jays wouldn’t be interested. As far as the outfield goes, it plays out like this:

    Bautista = best bargain in baseball

    Rasmus = low cost, high risk/high ceiling

    Snider = low cost, high risk/high ceiling

    Thames = low cost, medium risk/medium ceiling

    Gose/Marisnick, et. al. = low cost, high risk/high ceiling

    Cespedes = high cost, medium risk/high ceiling

    Draw your own conclusions.

  • gnor

    You should spell centre like this, being Canadian and all.

  • gnor

    Yoenis Cespedes is probably going to be very good, but there again, everybody is slavering over a free agent that has never seen a major league pitch. The Blue jays are building a prototypical baseball team, with defense up the middle, and power on the corners. As it stands now, it would be difficult to find a centre fielder who’s D is even incrementally better than Rasmus. He makes it look so easy, people thing he’s lazy.

    As far as hitting goes, instead of the Tony LaRussa card, maybe he should play the “Holy crap, they can really pitch over here!” card. After all, he doesn’t have Pittsburgh, Houston, and the Cubbies to beat up on any more. Let’s all hope that a touch of “Murphy’s Magic Hitting Powder”, and some time to settle in and adjust will get him back in a better groove. Jacoby Ellesbury or Alex Rios? Let’s hope he’s closer to the former.

  • gnor

    @Jared_Macdonald @JamesFoster1 Your article mentioned that one guy thought Cespedes played out as a right fielder, so you can see why The Blue Jays wouldn’t be interested. As far as the outfield goes, it plays out like this:

    Bautista = best bargain in baseball

    Rasmus = low cost, high risk/high ceiling

    Snider = low cost, high risk/high ceiling

    Thames = low cost, medium risk/medium ceiling

    Gose/Marisnick, et. al. = low cost, high risk/high ceiling

    Cespedes = high cost, medium risk/high ceiling

    Draw your own conclusions.

  • gnor

    You should spell centre like this, being Canadian and all.

  • jakely

    You’re right gnor, I look downright American. I love the fact Anthopolous has focused on up the middle. The pitching and catching depth in our system is just smart. Every angle I look at the job being done, I see smart. I was sick of seeing the opposite. I’m convinced we get there because of it.

  • jakely

    You’re right gnor, I look downright American. I love the fact Anthopolous has focused on up the middle. The pitching and catching depth in our system is just smart. Every angle I look at the job being done, I see smart. I was sick of seeing the opposite. I’m convinced we get there because of it.

  • gnor

    @jakely I love watching teams that are built this way, with speed, pitching, and defense. That;s the way the game was meant to be played. Give our rotation this season to get their feet under them, and they will be caught up to Tampa, with one exception: there will be money to resign their core players when free agency rolls around.

  • gnor

    @jakely I love watching teams that are built this way, with speed, pitching, and defense. That;s the way the game was meant to be played. Give our rotation this season to get their feet under them, and they will be caught up to Tampa, with one exception: there will be money to resign their core players when free agency rolls around.

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