Photo: Getty Images/Ezra Shaw
The Oakland Athletics surprised many when they took a gamble and signed 26-year-old Cuban phenom Yoenis Cespedes to a $36 million contract in February.Oakland isn’t exactly known for shelling out that kind of money, especially for an unproven foreign player who’s price is being driven up primarily by potential.
Two weeks into the season the A’s are proving they made a good investment, as Cespedes’ towering home runs have begun to terrorize opposing pitchers.
Like many Cuban ballplayers from the Castro era, this centerfielder comes from humble beginnings but with loads of hype.
He comes from an athletic background. Cespedes' mother, Estela Milenez, pitched for the Cuban national softball team during the 2000 Olympics
Cespedes began turning heads as soon as he hit the Cuban baseball league. He led his team to the playoffs with a .300 batting average as an 18-year-old centerfielder
Over the next four seasons, Cespedes tore up the Cuban league as he was at or near the top of the leaderboard in nearly every offensive category
The 2009 World Baseball Classic was billed as Cespedes' coming out party and he didn't disappoint. He hit .458 with 2 home runs and 3 triples
A few more great seasons in Cuba, including hitting 33 home runs in 2011 to break the single season record, left Cespedes with little to prove
Cespedes defected from Cuba to the Dominican Republic on a speedboat shortly after the season was over
Cespedes chose the DR instead of the U.S. so he could be signed to a lucrative contract, instead of going through the MLB draft.
As part of his free agent campaign, Cespedes' handlers released a bizarre video showcasing his workout regimen, highlights, and very odd things like a whole roasted pig. Weird
Even though most believed Cespedes would go to a large market like New York or Boston, or help spark a new era with the Miami Marlins, Cespedes signed a four-year, $36 million deal with the lowly Oakland A's
Cespedes is already Oakland's best home run hitter, having belted three on the early season, including this massive moon shot against Seattle
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