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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 7: Yoelqui Céspedes

Officially inked just two months ago, this mini-mite has shot to the top as our No. 1 outfield prospect

Chicago White Sox Workout Ron Vesely/Getty Images
Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to

Yoelqui Céspedes

Right Fielder
205 pounds
Age: 23
SSS rank among all right fielders in the system: 1
2021 SSS Top Prospect Vote: 6

Along with Norge Vera, Yoelqui Céspedes helped the White Sox “win” this last international signing period, inking both an arm and a bat at or near the top of international rankings. WOW.

There was a ton of hype around the Céspedes signing, with some thinking the mini-mite could be on the South Side this summer. Not so fast, pards; along with all of the usual adjustments for an international player, Céspedes has been away from organized ball since defecting out of Cuba while playing for Team Cuba during a showcase event in Dayton, Ohio. The White Sox aren’t going to keep him down just for kicks, but the absolute best-case scenario would be Yoelqui sniffing some Charlotte by summer’s end and parlaying a terrific 2022 camp into breaking north with the White Sox.

Don’t tell Marco Paddy (who signed Céspedes) that, though, as he’s been quoted as saying his plum pickup for 2021 is nearly MLB-ready.

Céspedes earned a $2.05 million signing bonus from the club, after hitting .287/.351/.415 with 35 doubles, 10 triples, 12 home runs, 98 RBIs, 114 runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 226 career games (four seasons) with Granma in the Cuban National Serie. He debuted at age 17, and almost immediately helps Granma snap a long futility streak by winning league titles in 2017 and 2018.

As everyone who follows the injury exploits of Eloy Jiménez is aware, Yoelqui is the younger half-brother of free agent outfielder Yoenis Céspedes.

Yoelqui is likely to start at Birmingham, or possibly Winston-Salem depending on how his (April) spring training at Camelback Ranch proceeds. Prepare for a possible fast rise through the system either way.