Céspedes 2.0? Yoelkis has showcase in works

Hopefully, there's a hype video coming soon

February 18th, 2020

There’s another Céspedes on the way, and his arrival on the market is one of the most anticipated events in the international baseball community.

Cuban outfield prospect Yoelkis Céspedes, 22, the younger half-brother of Mets outfielder Yoenis Céspedes, is in the planning stages of showcases next month in Florida and Arizona. The exact dates have not been determined because Yoelkis has not been declared a free agent and isn't eligible to sign with teams in Major League Baseball.

This is what we know:

The younger Céspedes played for his country’s World Baseball Classic and Caribbean Series teams in 2017. He defected from the Cuban National Team in June while participating in the Can-Am League in New York. Since then, he’s been training four to six hours a day, primarily in the Bahamas with his older brother Yoenis and their trainer Chris Wray.

Yoelkis, who played for Granma in Cuba’s Serie Nacional from 2015-17, is considered a five-tool player with above-average tools across the board. It’s too early to tell if he will sign during the current international signing period or wait until the next international signing period that starts July 2. It’s believed he will sign with the team that gives him the best opportunity to reach the big leagues quickly.

The young outfielder has kept a low profile since June. Next month’s showcases will mark the first time scouts will have the opportunity to watch him work out since he defected last summer.

According to sources close to the brothers, Yoenis, who took live batting practice against Michael Wacha on Monday and has declined to speak to reporters, has been focused on getting healthy and preparing his younger brother for the upcoming tryouts in front of scouts. Yoenis is also coaching his younger brother on the ups and downs that he will face in professional baseball while also cautioning him to avoid the same pitfalls and mistakes he made.

As for Yoelkis, he was known primarily as a plus runner, a solid defender and a line-drive hitter who can spray the ball across the outfield. He has revamped his swing in the last six months and now looks almost exactly like his older brother in the batter’s box. The 5-foot-9 outfielder once weighed around 185 pounds, but he is now up to 205 with power. He can still run.

It’s easy to see the similarities between the brothers.

Yoenis wasn’t always a hulking mass of muscle. In fact, he was listed on Cuba's 2009 World Baseball Classic roster at 5-foot-10 and 187 pounds. His story is well-documented. Yoenis Cespedes defected from Cuba in the summer of 2011 in his mid-20s and signed with Oakland the next year. In between, he released a memorable 20-minute highlight video named “The Showcase” that featured elements of "Star Wars," a ballad by Christopher Cross and rap music playing while the outfielder ran shirtless on a track. The video ended with Cespedes roasting a pig over an open fire.

Yoenis also released a hype video earlier this month.

It’s unknown if Yoelkis will also release a video, hype or otherwise. The only thing that is certain is that the international scouting community is waiting for the show.