ESPN's Buster Olney recognizes talent when he sees it, and recently had nothing but high praises for the Oakland A's, more specifically slugger Yoenis Cespedes, whom Olney attributes much of the team's recent success to. Although the Cuban defector is not part of the pitching rotation or is taking other's at bats, he brings something else to the ballpark every day that has been fueling Oakland's their recent dominance.
It's certainly been a lot more than just Cespedes carrying this team, it's been a well-rounded effort with everyone doing their fare share.
The Athletics have the best team ERA in the American League and not by a small margin. Their bullpen has been spectacular, holding opposing hitters to a .202 batting average. And they have their version of a Josh Hamilton, a Robinson Cano, a Mark Trumbo in Yoenis Cespedes.
The Athletics say that when he is healthy and in the lineup, he provides large dollops of hope and toughness. If he strikes out in his first few at-bats -- and he's got 51 strikeouts in 229 at-bats this season -- he will be there at the plate in the late innings utterly convinced that he's one swing from beating you. He believes he has the ability to crush a ball at any time.
That hope and toughness have been contagious, especially with the A's on the brink of handing arguably the MLB's best team, the New York Yankees, their first four game sweep since 2003. It's obvious that the A's are a different team with him in the lineup, who are 13-2 since the start of July, including 7-0 in one-run games. Cespedes is hitting .375 this month, including 4 homers and 10 RBI.
Coincidence? I think not.
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