With Red Sox slugger David Ortiz now retired, New York Mets star Yoenis Cespedes could be the next “Big Papi.”
We all know how much of impact Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz had in the game baseball.
He was a great hitter with enormous power, a great person with a fun loving personality, loved the attention, the bright lights and always performed well on the big stage.
It also helped that he won three World Series rings. So his hitting, personality, big frame, Latino background and other attributes earned him the nickname “Big Papi.”
Just like Ortiz, Cespedes carries a big bat with a lot of power, creating intense intimidation at the plate. He’s proven that he can carry a lineup on his shoulders just like Ortiz did and the Mets are a lost puppy without Cespedes. He also loves the bright lights and has performed well on the big stage, as he’s shown with his success in New York thus far.
Unlike Ortiz, Cespedes has been steroid free, never once accused of any allegations of performance enhancing drugs.
He has a lot Papi-like potential and attributes, but he’s not completely there yet.
Cespedes has yet to win a ring yet and he hasn’t excelled in the playoffs as a Met. Although he helped the Mets reach the World Series in 2015, he had an uneven performance in the NLDS and NLCS and he hit only .150 in the Fall Classic where the Mets lost in five games to the Kansas City Royals.
Ortiz has excelled in the playoffs. We all know what he did in 2004 especially against the New York Yankees in helping Boston come back from a 3-0 deficit to win it in seven games. Ortiz was in the middle of everything with a couple of game-winning hits, including a walk-off homer in Game 4 that jump-started the comeback. He also homered in Game 7 at Yankee Stadium that started the Red Sox rout of that game and sending them to the World Series and Ortiz was the NLCS MVP.
In his last World Series appearance in 2013, Ortiz hit over .500 in six games, helping the Red Sox overcome the St. Louis Cardinals. Ortiz was the World Series MVP that year.
Cespedes definitely needs to improve his playoff performance if this comparison will ever carry serious legs.
Also, Cespedes is a good person, but he can be moody. There were some who questioned his attitude at times. Cespedes didn’t always hustle on the basepaths and continues to play golf on game days. He also skipped the Mets wild card clinching celebration last year. Although he said that clinching it during the playoffs after winning a series is more important to him, it still is concerning that he still wasn’t there for a still impressive wild card clincher.
Ortiz was a fun loving guy who loved being around his teammates. He was always out there cheering in the dugout when his teammates did something good. He loved talking to the media and the media loved him as a result. Finally, Ortiz was a good leader and motivator to his team as well.
So, Cespedes still has long ways to go to match Ortiz and be a Big Papi himself but he still has time. Ces is 31 and still in the prime of his career. He has already proven himself as a great power hitter who instills fear in opponents. He has proven that he can handle the big market of New York and he embraces it too.
Cespedes is a fan favorite and one of the most popular Mets players, if not the most popular. He has already proven his loyalty to the Mets twice. Ortiz has taken less money to remain in the Red Sox. Cespedes also took less money in January 2016 to remain in Flushing before signing a new deal this offseason to stay as a Met.
He just needs to do better in the postseason if or when they get there again. And for all the criticisms he got for his personality, Cespedes is still a good teammate at times. Guys like Jose Reyes offered high compliments about Yo and was one of the players who strongly wanted the Mets to re-sign Cespedes. Cespedes does smile occasionally and is seen laughing with teammates as well. So all is not moody for No. 52.
With his power bat, his flamboyant nature and his love for the bright lights and attention, there’s no reason to think that Cespedes can’t be another version of Big Papi or even close to it.
Cespedes can prove it more for at least another four more years in Queens.