Yoenis Cespedes has drawn rave reviews in his short time with the Boston Red Sox.
Cespedes’ stint with the Red Sox, which began July 31 when Boston traded pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for the Cuban slugger, has involved a steady diet of compliments. Several players have expressed amazement over Cespedes’ skills, both offensively and defensively.
“The guy can throw a ball across the world,” Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow told the Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber over the weekend in St. Petersburg. “and hit a ball out of any stadium.”
Cespedes already has shown a tendency to come through in the clutch. His game-tying single in the seventh inning of Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field was his fifth game-tying or go-ahead hit in the seventh inning or later in 28 games with the Red Sox. Of his 23 RBIs with the Sox, nine have given the team a lead.
“I think he makes us appreciably better,” Breslow said. “That’s not to discredit the loss of Jon Lester. But when you go through a lineup, to me, it doesn’t matter if he’s hitting .220 or .320, he’s a threat every time he steps in the box.
“When opposing batters stop to watch him take batting practice, there are things you just really can’t quantify, and that mystique or that aura that he brings with him is one of them.”
David Ortiz expressed similar sentiments over the weekend, telling The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo that Cespedes, who now forms a dynamic duo with Big Papi — trio, if you include Mike Napoli — in the middle of the Red Sox’s order, makes everybody better. Napoli thinks the 28-year-old might even become better given his overall talent.
“He can change a game in so many ways — with his arm, his power, his speed. He’s really fast for a big guy,” Napoli told Lauber. “He’s special. He could be one of the top players in the league one day. He could be in the talk for MVP. That’s the type of player I could see him being with his skill set.”
Cespedes has driven in 21 percent of Boston’s 110 runs scored since his Red Sox debut Aug. 2. He’s made quite a first impression amid the Red Sox’s disappointing 2014 season, making believers out of his new teammates in the process.