SI.com: New Oakland A's CF Yoenis Cespedes 'A Mystery'

The Oakland A's made a surprising slash on the free agent market this week when they gave 26-year old Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes a 4-year $36 million contract.

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According to SI.com's Joe Lemire, Cespedes is an immensely talented player, but there are questions about his ability to transition to the MLB:

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Clear away the frivolities surrounding the video, however, and watch again on mute, cueing in only on the man at work. Even if the measurements and times aren't verifiable, the point is made: Céspedes is a sculpted specimen with extremely talented, if raw, tools. One doesn't have to be a major league talent evaluator to see the explosive athleticism of a professional athlete.

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In an article analyzing Céspedes' major league potential, Bjarkman [a long-time evaluator of Cuban baseball talent] described the player as "a legitimate five-tool prospect" though he "has not quite met expectations against better pitching and under the pressures of international play." Bjarkman raised questions about how Céspedes will fare against major league pitching, especially in his first season, because of a tendency to be a freeswinger.

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Bjarkman said the overall level of play in Cuba's top league is comparable to Double A ball in the States, but he noted that Cuba's elite players -- the top 25 to 40 or so -- are obvious major league-caliber ballplayers. Céspedes is decidedly in that group, he said, but probably more of a top-10 player than a top-5.

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For Rangers fans, perhaps the most interesting note about Cespedes is that he lost the starting CF job on the Cuban national team to Leonys Martin, the 23-year old defector the Rangers signed to a five-year $15.5 million contract last season.

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After all, if Martin can beat out a guy worth nearly $40 million to a major league team, he might really have something.

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