Yoelkis Cespedes, the brother of injured New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, has defected from the Cuban National Team.
Two years ago, Yoelkis Cespedes began to garner attention as an interesting prospect. The Cuban outfielder had burst on the scene during the 2017 Caribbean World Series, playing for the Alazanes de Granma, who had captured their first championship. Watching him play in the outfield, his cannon of an arm, and his running style, it is easy to see the bloodlines with his brother, Yoenis Cespedes.
Two years later, the younger Cespedes has also defected, leaving the Cuban National Team as they played in the Can-Am League.
It is inevitable that comparisons will be drawn between the brothers. Both played for the same team in Cuba, have that cannon of an arm in the outfield, and a very similar running style. Yet, that is where the similarities end.
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That does not mean that the younger Cespedes is not an intriguing prospect in his own right. He has been considered one of the top prospects in Cuba, given both his bloodlines and potential. In fact, it had been thought that Yoelkis is a better prospect than his older brother was at the same age.
Originally considered to be a five tool prospect, the younger Cespedes does not appear to be that type of player. While his statistics in Cuba may not be accurate, he has posted a lifetime .270/.335/.396 batting line with ten homers, 27 doubles, and 11 steals in 692 plate appearances.
It is likely that, with better coaching, Yoelkis could further develop his skills, tapping even more into his power potential and speed. While he is not going to be his older brother, it is possible that he could develop into a player like Brett Gardner, a solid all around player that could function well in a leadoff role.
Of course, that will take time, as will his journey to the professional ranks. Cespedes now needs to establish residency in another country, and then be declared eligible for international free agency. At 21 years old, he will likely be considered one of the top prospects in the upcoming signing period once he is eligible.
Yoelkis Cespedes has followed in his brother’s footsteps in Cuba. He has now taken the first steps to doing so stateside.