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Yoenis Cespedes Batting

It’s Been a Frustrating Season for Cespedes

This has been a frustrating season for NY Mets fans. The same can be said for Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes. While much of the blame for the Mets poor record has fallen on the pitching staff and their injuries, Cespedes year has also been underwhelming. Like the pitching staff, he has been injured (more on that below). Probably because of the injuries, his offensive production has also fallen off. Oddly, it’s been an especially tough year at home. Here’s a look at his home and away splits thru Aug 16th.

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Home351343822
Away37156123034

New Contract

When Yoenis Cespedes signed his 4 year $110 million contract with the NY Mets this past winter there were some concerns about whether he would stay motivated. But Cespedes spent the winter working out with team strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis.

Barwis’s private facility is at the Mets Port St. Lucie complex and is near Yoenis off-season home in Vero Beach, Fla. As proof of his good work ethic, the Mets released a video of Cespedes working out. The video shows Cespedes repeatedly leg pressing 900 pounds.

Cespedes said that he spent the winter trying to improve his legs, a past weakness. Despite that he still got hurt.

Cespedes Injury

Since he defected from Cuba and reached the major leagues in 2012, Cespedes has been on the disabled list four times with leg problems. Last year, Cespedes missed nearly three weeks with a right quadriceps strain. His playing time split between left and centerfield. To lessen the strain on his legs this season, the Mets limited him to playing left field only. The wisdom of having a ballplayer with a history of leg injuries leg press 900 pounds was only raised after a left hamstring injury cost Cespedes 40 games earlier this season.

Workout Change

Cespedes returned from the disabled list on June 10th with a new pregame routine that takes an hour to complete. The new regimen is focused on improving the flexibility of his legs. Yoenis says that he has not done this type of pregame preparation before. He also increased his water intake nearly five-fold. He admits that he did not drink much water before the injury.

The plan is to continue with the new routine over the winter. As Cespedes told the NY Post:

My plan is to change my workout program. I want to become more flexible, more athletic, have less bulk [in my legs]. I want to do less weight lifting. I’m going to do some different things, I want to do yoga, more stretching. I want to be lighter. I want to come back around 210, lose about 15 pounds.

That’s sounds good to NY Mets hitting coach Kevin Long. He previously told the Post:

It’s almost like he needs to be a little more loose and a little more elastic. I think he’s a little big and a little tight. He needs to get back to the 215 [-pound] Cespedes. I think that’s what his problem is. He needs to stay loose and elastic rather than big and bulky. Because he’s got everything else.

Mets fans know what a powerful impact Yoenis Cespedes can have on their lineup. Here’s hoping that this year’s off-season workouts help him return to La Potencia form.

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Photo by keithallison