I knew I was in for something special once I saw the email.
It was forwarded to me by a big league exec with a simple “You’re welcome.” The original email was sent to nearly 200 people, a veritable who’s who of the international scouting community. It’s from Edgar Mercedes, a Dominican-based agent who is often involved with Cuban defectors. The message, written in all caps, thanks the readers for coming to the showcase and links to a YouTube page with the video presented at the event. The video concerns Yeonis Cespedes, a 26-year-old outfielder who is currently in the Dominican looking to sign with a big league team. His resume from Cuba is significant as he hit .333 during the 2010-11 campaign while joining Jose Abreu in establishing a new league record with 33 home runs. He’s a tremendous talent—arguably the best all-around player to come out of Cuba in a generation. He’s a legitimate centerfielder with plus power and speed and is in his prime. Much like Aroldis Chapman was the best pitcher from the island, Cespedes is the best position player, and Mercedes will be expecting (and likely getting) a Chapman-like deal in the neighborhood of $30 million.
I was expecting a standard scouting video. A few minutes of hitting—shot from different angles—some shots of him chasing fly balls in center and throwing, and then some base running. Once I opened the video, however, I saw that it was over 20 minutes long, and knew I was in for something much different, but I could never imagine just how good it was.
Now if I was a nice person, I’d just embed the video right here, but I’m not going to do that. Before you watch it, I actually want to walk you through this majestic work. I want you to continue to read my description of what you are about to see, and figure out at what point you think I’m making some of this up. To be clear, I’m not. …
UPDATE: Kevin Goldstein’s update.
Other White Sox links: