Caribbean Series: Meet Yoelkis Cespedes

We are all familiar with Yoenis Cespedes and his excellent arm and power bat. In this year’s Caribbean Series, we have been introduced to his younger brother, Yoelkis Cespedes.

For those of us who enjoy watching minor leaguers and the professionals from other countries playing against one another, few events are as much fun as the Caribbean Series. One of the biggest baseball events in the world, the Caribbean Series involves teams from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Venezuela against one another in a round robin tournament. It is a chance to see some exciting players before they take that next step in their careers.

While there are typically few Major Leaguers that play in this tournament, there is one familiar name on the diamond. For those watching, the name Cespedes on Cuba may seem familiar. That is because Yoenis’ younger brother, 19 year old Yoelkis Cespedes, is manning right field.

He announced his presence in a spectacular way earlier in the week. After making a sensational diving catch, Cespedes showed a cannon similar to his brother’s, firing to first to complete the double play. Naturally, the comparisons to Yoenis began, especially given his excellent arm.

While he is just introducing himself to those of us stateside, Cespedes has become a known commodity in Cuba. He is considered one of the top prospects on the island, a five tool player who some observers are saying is better than Yoenis was at that age.

He has more than held his own in the first half of the season in Cuba. In 45 games with Granma, Cespedes has posted a .304/.362/.525 batting line, hitting five home runs and eight doubles. Cespedes has even hit six triples, giving an idea as to his speed.

Unfortunately, we may have quite a bit of time to wait before being able to see this Cespedes in the Majors. While his brother has gone on to stardom, Yoelkis does not envision himself leaving Cuba any time soon. That includes playing in other leagues, such as in Mexico or in Japan, as other Cuban players have done over the years.

It may be years until Yoelkis Cespedes comes over to the Majors, if he does at all. Until then, we will be able to see his exploits in the Caribbean Series.

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