The New York Mets are trying Yoenis Cespedes out at first base, with Pete Alonso’s blessing, in an effort to find at-bats for the slugger.
SNY posted a video of New York Mets star Yoenis Cespedes taking grounders at first base. The slugger has talked about moving out of the outfield for a few years now. When his calcified heels first came up in 2018, Cespedes made it known he was willing to switch to first base. Now it seems the Mets are revisiting the idea.
Yo getting some work in at first base 👀 pic.twitter.com/CUa0HE8CFx
— SNY (@SNYtv) July 8, 2020
Cespedes has never played first base in a major league game. He’s only ever played in the outfield or designated hitter. However, he did make one start at first base during a 2018 rehab assignment.
The idea of moving Cespedes to first base seemed to die when Pete Alonso and Dom Smith burst onto the scene in 2019, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. When healthy, Cespedes is a huge bat. From 2016-2018 the worst wRC+ he’s had was 121. To put that into perspective, Bryce Harper had nearly identical 125 wRC+ in 2019. Cespedes’ low came just before he had double heel surgery in 2018, Harper was fully healthy in 2019.
It’s no surprise the Mets are trying to find any way to get Cespedes’ bat into the lineup. He’s one of the best hitters in Major League Baseball, and if he’s healthy again he could transform the Mets lineup.
The coaches aren’t the only ones who realize that. In fact, it was Pete Alonso who gave Cespedes a first base glove today.
Luis Rojas said Pete Alonso gave Yoenis Cespedes a first baseman's mitt.
"He’s hanging out with it," Rojas said. "He’s taking his ground balls. He wants to be involved."
It doesn't sound like Cespedes at first is a very serious thing right now, though. https://t.co/n3ISA5Efqc
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) July 8, 2020
It’s not likely the Mets stick Cespedes at first base this year, but it never hurts to have that option. Teams need backup plans more than ever in 2020 with COVID-19 changing everything. There are much worse backup plans than trying to shoehorn an elite hitter into your lineup.