On Tuesday the Chicago White Sox reportedly signed 23 year old outfeilder Yoelkis Cespedes for nearly $2 million dollars. The White Sox have had some success with international prospects in the past, and one of them is currently playing centerfield.
Who is Yoelkis Cespedes?
Yoelkis Cespedes is the younger half-brother of current MLB outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Yoelkis is the MLB Pipelines toped ranked international prospect. He also cracks the top 20 in Baseball America who has him ranked 12th. For $2 million dollars he is a steal.
Like his brother, Yoelkis is very talented. MLB.com profiles him as a five tool player with above average tools across the board. He put up some impressive scouting grades. On a 20-80 scale Yoelkis received a 50 hit grade, 60 run grade, 55 fielding grade, 55 power grade and 60 arm grade. Those are very high marks that should only improve with some seasoning in the minor leagues.
Yoelki Cespedes has joined our 2020-21 international big board 👀
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) December 22, 2020
Many scouts compare his arm talent to his brother Yoenis. That is high praise considering Yoenis has a cannon of an arm. Yoelki stands at 5 feet 9 inches and weighs in around 205 pounds. Since defecting from Cuba he has been bulking up and added nearly 20 pounds.
He will follow in the footsteps of a long line Cuban born players to play for the White Sox organization. This list includes current Cuban talent Jose Abreu, Yasmani Grandal, Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert.
The youngest Cespedes played for Team Cuba in the 2017 World Baseball Classic and the Caribbean Series. He previously played for Granma in Cuba’s Serie Nacional from 2015-17. After defecting form the Cuban National Team in 2019 and participated in the Can-Am League in New York.
When Can We Expect To See Him In The Majors?
You can expect Cespedes to officially sign with the White Sox on January 15th 2021. That is the first day of the International signing period. It was pushed back from it’s originally scheduled July 2nd date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cespedes has similar tools with fellow Cuban outfielder Luis Robert. Unfortunately Cespedes has a tendency to swing at bad off speed pitches. His inability to hit them and lay off of them is something he is going to need to work on. Reports indicate that he has been working with Yoenis to fix holes in his swing.
He is expected to start in Double-A Birmingham for the White Sox. He will need sometime in the minors to satisfy MLB rules but it is not a stretch to see him in the big leagues at some point in 2022. If he stays in the outfield he will join Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert. He could be the long term the solution in right field the White Sox have been looking for. Adam Eaton who was just signed to a one year deal will fill the gap in right field for this season.
According to Jessie Sanchez of MLB.com the White Sox are also expected to sign right handed pitcher Vera Santiago. He is another Cuban who ranked 20th on MLB pipelines list. The White Sox are assembling layers of good players for their championship run of 2021 and beyond.