The file on Yoenis Cespedes
Yoenis Cespedes was born to Estela Milanes and Crensencio Cespedes. Estela was a softball pitcher for Cuba and appeared in the 2000 Olympics. Yoenis’ father, Crensencio, was a catcher in the Cuban League. At 10 Yoenis was sent by his mother to a state-run school in Cuba to focus solely on baseball. His Cuban career culminated in 2009 at the World Baseball Classic. In six games as the starting center fielder, Cespedes hit .458. After he broke the Cuban single-season home run record in 2010-11 Cespedes defected to the Dominican Republic.
The showcase video
As soon as Cespedes defected, the 5-foot-10 outfielder made one of the most interesting promotional videos for MLB clubs to see. The first part of the video consisted of graphics stating Cespedes as "Born to Play" and a lengthy written monologue hyping his attributes and goals. The video continues with slow-motion batting, followed by an elaborate show of Cespedes working out -- sprinting, posing as Usain Bolt, jumping and squatting -- and finished with Cespedes roasting a pig. The video helped build momentum for him to be the best Cuban player of all time.
Signing with the Athletics
Cespedes established residency in America in January of 2012 to become an unrestricted free agent. After interest from a number of teams, most notably the New York Yankees, Yoenis Cespedes signed with the Oakland Athletics for four-years and $36 million on Feb. 13, 2012.
In 2012, Yoenis made the major league team as the starting center fielder after spring training. Cespedes played center field until early June, when the team moved him permanently to left field. As a rookie, Cespedes dazzled, as he finished the year with a .292/.356/.505 batting line along with 23 home runs, 82 RBI and 16 stolen bases. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year, and No. 10 in MVP voting.
First half and Home Run Derby
Cespedes got off to a slow start at the beginning of the 2013 season. He hit under .230 in both April and May and finished the first half (79 games) with 15 home runs, 43 RBI and a .225 average. He was also caught stealing on six of his 11 attempts. As the All-Star break neared, the Cuban native was asked by Robinson Cano to represent the American League in the Home Run Derby. He thrived, and won the competition with 17 first round homers and 32 long balls altogether.
Latter half of 2013
Yoenis carried his Home Run Derby momentum into the remaining 56 second half games as he hit .261 with 11 home runs, 37 RBI and a .473 slugging percentage. The A's left fielder came up big in the playoffs. In five playoff games, Cespedes ranked second on the team with a .381 average and led the team with four RBI and eight hits. But it wasn't enough as the Athletics lost to the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS for the second consecutive year, three games to two.
HR Derby 2.0
On July 14, 2014, Yoenis Cespedes won the Home Run Derby for a second time, becoming the first player to win consecutive derbies titles since Ken Griffey Jr. did so in 1998 & 1999.
After Cespedes hit .256 with 17 home runs in his first 62 games of the 2014 season, the A's made a blockbuster trade deadline deal with the Red Sox to acquire left-hander Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes. Cespedes hit .262 with 66 home runs in three seasons with the A's.