yoenis cespedes athletics missing lineup

yoenis cespedes athletics missing lineup

Published Aug. 11, 2014 3:38 p.m. ET

These numbers are undeniable: The Athletics had a .635 winning percentage in games that Yoenis Cespedes started during his Oakland career, a .389 winning percentage in games he did not.

These numbers, too, are undeniable: Cespedes this season had a feeble 303 on-base percentage and modest .767 OPS before the A’s traded him for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes. In fact, Gomes was a greater threat against left-handed pitching.

So, how valuable was Cespedes to the Athletics’ offense?

Before trading Cespedes, the Athletics month-by-month averaged 5.48, 5.07, 5.08 and 4.52 runs per game. So far in August, over a 10-game sample without Cespedes, the A’s are averaging 3.80 runs, 10th in the league.


Of course, the dropoff also stems from Coco Crisp missing time and Brandon Moss, John Jaso and Stephen Vogt slumping. Still, the larger question is whether Cespedes offered a “presence” that instilled confidence in his teammates and drew respect from opponents.

Sabermetricians scoff at the importance of such intangibles. The Athletics will be in even better position to replicate Cespedes’ offense in September when two other right-handed hitters, Craig Gentry and Kyle Blanks, come off the DL.

No question, Cespedes was valuable. Just how valuable, we’re about to find out.