Although there is a lockout, spring training is on for some players on all 30 teams. The only criteria is that these players cannot be in the 40-man roster — in other words, guys who are not a part of the MLB Player’s Union. They also do not get paid, and MLB is looking to continue that practice for, let’s be honest here, no good reason whatsoever.
So with that now in mind, reporters hopped on Zoom with Yoelqui Céspedes yesterday.
Yoelqui Cespedes said his goal is to get to the Majors and stay in the Majors in 2022.— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) February 24, 2022
Céspedes said he’s been learning English since 2020 and answered a few questions in his second language. He summed up Oscar Colás as “a really good player,” and said they’ve been playing with or against each other since they were 15.— James Fegan (@JRFegan) February 24, 2022
The second- or third-best prospect in the White Sox farm system seems to have a pretty lofty goal. With no signings of MLB players happening right now, technically Céspedes is in the running to start in right field. However, if he really is by the start of the season, that would be because the Sox did not improve the position in free agency.
With that being said, it is not farfetched an idea that Céspedes could see time in the majors sometime this year, especially after seeing the amount of injuries the team had in the outfield last season.
Céspedes got a late start in his first stint in Stateside baseball last year, started out hot with Winston-Salem and continued that a bit in Birmingham. He slashed .285/.350/.463 between the two leagues, but his power fell down the stretch and then his overall play plummeted in the Arizona Fall League. Céspedes does have a legitimate excuse: He hadn’t played baseball since 2019, and even then it was a couple handfuls of games. He has not had, more or less, a real season since 2017-18, so fatigue probably played a significant role.
That could happen again with a full season for him in 2022, so hopefully Céspedes is prepared for the grind. At least his confidence is.