Yoenis Cespedes

Red Sox pregame notes: Making sense of Yoenis Cespedes; Daniel Nava navigating back to himself

August 19, 2014 - 2:35 pm

When it comes to evaluating players during these last couple months of the season, the Red Sox aren'€™t just concerned with taking stock of rookie performances. It'€™s been a chance to see how newly acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes fits into the lineup as well. Cespedes'€™ approach at the plate is a little different than the two players he'€™s sandwiched between in the lineup, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. While Napoli and Ortiz are accustomed to drawing a lot of walks (Napoli has walked at a 16 percent rate this season), Cespedes embodies a much more aggressive approach and doesn'€™t work many free passes (less than six percent of plate appearances this season).

"With it will come some quick outs, but at the same time the ability to impact the baseball is a result of the aggressiveness as well," Farrell said of Cespedes'€™ plate approach, which has yielded a .251 average, .294 OBP and .456 slugging mark on the season, including a .219/.231/.406 line with one walk and 11 strikeouts with the Red Sox. "€œHe hasn'€™t become more aggressive since coming over here. This is the player we were well aware of and pursued heavily. We'€™re fully accepting of the style of player he is."

Batting in between Ortiz and Napoli, Cespedes provides some contrast in the lineup. Farrell says that the outfielder may be shifted in the order to find what combination works best.

"€œHe'€™s been accustomed to hitting in the four hole. [We're trying] to transition him in here with as much comfort as possible. That doesn'€™t mean that going forward there won'€™t be an alignment that flips him and Napoli," Farrell said. "I'€™m not saying that'€™s going to be tomorrow, but we'€™ll take a look at every combination that'€™s available to us."

Cespedes is not in the lineup on Tuesday night, but Farrell confirmed it'€™s just an off day. The 28-year-old has started every game since coming over from the A'€™s, though he's mired in a 3-for-23 slump over the last five games.


-- A stark contrast to a player like Cespedes, Daniel Nava has hit .329 with a .396 OBP over his last 54 games. Nava hasn'€™t hit for much power since returning to the Red Sox in early June, with 11 doubles and no homers in 187 plate appearances, and that may be a result of the adjustments he made early in the season after he seemed to sacrifice his characteristic on-base skills while looking to loft the ball.

"If his approach early on was the hit for more power, it took away from the average," Farrell said. "€œHe'€™s gotten back to a very consistent approach that he'€™s been known for, to me he'€™s a more productive hitter currently than one who is going to sell out to try to drive the ball with more consistency. I think by going to the plate looking to hit home runs, that'€™s worked against him. But he'€™s in a good place right now."

-- While Christian Vazquez has been impressive while handling the bulk of the catching duties over the last couple of weeks, he'€™ll see some of that time decrease a bit soon as David Ross is set to be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday. Ross has been sidelined since August 2 after he ruptured the plantar fascia tendon in his right foot. The 37-year-old did not require a rehab assignment before returning to the club, so Farrell said that his workload will be slightly reduced for his first couple of weeks back rather than splitting the time equally with Vazquez. Initially, the team plans to have Ross catch twice a week and to build him up from there.

-- Allen Craig was with the team at Fenway on Tuesday after going 0-for-2 with a walk in his first rehab game with the PawSox on Monday night. He'€™ll return to Pawtucket and play right field on Wednesday.