Since his defense was as good as his offense in 2015, Yoenis Cespedes had a monster year, recording a 6.7 fWAR. His defense was not as good in 2016, as his numbers in CF were worse than expected, and he posted a 3.2 fWAR. After the 2015 season, no one was willing to give Cespedes a $100 million contract without having a large portion of the money deferred. After the 2016 season, he got the mega deal, with an average annual value of $27.5 million, tied for the second-largest MLB rate of all-time. And not only are there no deferrals, Cespedes also got a no-trade clause.

Cespedes is a fun guy to have on your team. He has upper deck power, a strong accurate arm and he’s a good runner. He’s also yet to put up an elite year just on the strength of his offense alone. As Name has pointed out, Cespedes’ 2015-16 offensive production – the best of his career – is nearly identical to Lucas Duda’s 2014-15 offensive production on a rate basis. And no one wants to give Duda a $100 million contract.

Yet few were complaining when the Mets re-upped with Cespedes. Neil Walker finished with a higher fWAR than Cespedes and many fans balked at paying him $10 million-plus fewer dollars on a one-year contract. Somehow it doesn’t add up. So, let’s see if we expect Cespedes to up either his offensive or defensive game here in 2017.

PA AVG OBP SLG HR RBI UZR/150
Dalton Allison 620 .285 .330 .522 30 95 2.7
Joe Barbieri 638 .278 .353 .520 29 94 -2.5
John Fox 520 .275 .355 .510 30 101 -1.0
Charlie Hangley 635 .287 .337 .546 32 110 0.0
Brian Joura 580 .280 .354 .530 33 102 13.0
Mike Koehler 600 .275 .315 .540 33 90 13.0
Matt Netter 620 .302 .375 .510 41 118 0.0
Jim O’Malley 585 .285 .335 .530 32 102 9.5
Rob Rogan 625 .275 .325 .525 30 88 12.5
Mike Ryan 618 .285 .343 .523 34 111 15.7
Chris Walendin 680 .298 .365 .515 32 111 0.0

Our offensive OPS numbers are tightly packed, with a high of .885, which is certainly a nice total. If he produced that last year, that would have been tied for the 21st-best OPS in the majors. That’s certainly nothing to sneeze at but is it worth $27.5 million a year?

Looking at defense, only four of the 11 participants expect him to post a double-digit UZR/150 total, with Matt having the highest at 15.7. In his Gold Glove season of 2015, Cespedes had a 14.5 total in this category. But Joe and John project him to be below average in the field again in 2017. There’s a lot more variability in what we expect out of Cespedes defensively.

Here is our official forecast:

Cespedes2017

An .867 OPS and a 2.7 UZR/150 and let’s say he improves upon last year’s baserunning, too. So that would be a ballpark 4.5-5.0 fWAR type of season. It’s not quite 2015 but it would be a noticeable improvement from what he produced in 2016, while he was battling a quad injury. Since fans were happy with his output last year, you would expect they would be happy to see this type of improvement. But what does Steamer think?

PA AVG OBP SLG HR RBI
Mets360 611 .285 .343 .523 32 102
Steamer 589 .264 .322 .482 28 85

Ouch, that’s not particularly close to our forecast at all. Additionally, Steamer projects Cespedes to finish with a 2.7 fWAR. Let’s hope that our forecast turns out to be reality. Otherwise, it could be a long four years with the Mets having long-term heavy obligations to an under-producing Cespedes to go along with an under-producing David Wright.

9 comments on “Mets360 2017 projections: Yoenis Cespedes

  • TexasGusCC

    Cespedes received that contract for three reasons:
    1. Like Reggie Jackson, Cespedes “puts fannies in the seats”. Certainly more than any other slugger available at this time and certainly more than any other everyday player on this team. If Cespedes leaves, who becomes “The Draw” for this boring team in a market full of other entertainment options?
    2. The Mets decided rather give a longer deal at less annual value, they went with pay a bit more per year, say about $2.5MM for four years, to avoid adding a fifth year at $25MM. They look at it as a $15MM savings.
    3. The Mets record with Cespedes and without speaks for itself. Be it “a confidence thing” for the team or Cespedes’ own production, or maybe a little of both, Cespedes has gotten enough big hits for this team to earn his title as the straw that stirs the Mets.

    It takes a unique individual to handle the pressures of playing well in New York, especially one that craves the limelight. Harvey likes it. Syndergaard likes it. Cespedes does also. These people are constantly in the news, bring attention to the Mets in positive (mostly) ways, and thus selling tickets. Don’t think agents don’t point this out.

    Besides, if we look at E-5 getting $20MM a year and Bautista getting $18MM per year, isn’t Cespedes worth $27MM with his defense and drawing ability. I’d take Cespedes and his money everyday over those two guys that don’t offer defensively. Also, MLB Now just named Cespedes the #1 left fielder presently in baseball. I say he’s worth the contract right now (and hopefully in the future) and he would make me buy a ticket way before any other available bat.

    • Nick

      Very simple Cespedes presence changes everything he makes everyone better and takes the pressure off everyone

    • Brian Joura

      Cespedes’ agent did indeed make up a book about the thing you talked about – I’ll find it after my daughter’s basketball game.

      Your post brought to mind an old NBA quote. I forget who said it – I’m guessing a guy on the Nets – but he said, “If defense and rebounding are so important, why didn’t Buck Williams make the All-Star team and why is Dudley Bradley in the CBA?”

      • Brian Joura

        I couldn’t find the link I saw this past offseason. But I found this from after the 2015 season. It’s not the attendance/marketing thing I recalled but it’s an indication of the steps his agents take to promote him.

        http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/14170554/the-marketing-yoenis-cespedes

        • TexasGusCC

          Makes sense. If I were the agent, I would be reminding Alderson of the attendance factor every single day. Had the Mets really not signed Cespedes, especially considering he was compromising on the amount of guaranteed money, Alderson would have started the season with a sense of negativity. Glad it worked out all the way around.

          Also, Nick pointed out about Duda’s clutch factor, while Duda has had some clutch moments, hard to label him “Clutch” overall.

          • Brian Joura

            One of Derek Jeter’s nicknames was “Captain Clutch.” And yet he finished with a negative clutch score in 12 of his 20 years in the majors.

            People have such subjective memories with these things.

  • Nick

    First off war is nit a real stat second duda never hits when needed he is a career 200 hitter when the team is down by 2 or less runs menaing he does nothing for the team

  • Metsense

    I think the staff consensus is an accurate projection except for the UZR/150. It should rebound back to a 10.5 because he will he healthy and unburdened from center field.
    Strictly from a statistical perspective it would appear Cespedes is being over paid. Since coming to the Mets, the team has won at an astounding pace when he is in the lineup. His salary is reflective of the team results although I can only theorize why this is so. He is a personality, a can’t miss watching at bat that puts fans in the stands and glued to their TV. As a fan, I am glad they paid him.

    • Name

      As i already proved earlier in the offseason ,the whole Mets winning more when Cespedes is in the lineup is pure bullcrap.

      Have you taken a look at Cabrera’s record this year? And while they are smaller samples sizes : Reyes and Duda?

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