Column: The Yoenis Cespedes effect

New York Mets' Yoenis Cespedes hits a two-run home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, in Washington. The Mets won 5-3. (Alex Brandon/AP)

If you’re not a Mets fan, you may be tired of hearing about how good their offense is lately, especially one player in particular. It’s almost impossible to avoid seeing coverage of this player, considering that hitting a home run every game is almost as reliable as the sun rising. 

Nine. What’s so special about the number nine? That’s the number of games Yoenis Cespedes has hit one or more home runs so far this September. If you’re not impressed, keep in mind it’s only Sept. 17, and the Mets had a day off on the third. 

Since joining the Mets at the beginning of August, Cespedes has hit 17 home runs in 42 games. To compare the power hitter to himself, he hit 18 with the Tigers throughout his 102 games with Detroit earlier this season.

Toward the end of July, Mets fans were practically begging for Cespedes to come to New York. Since the beginning of the season, the Mets had stellar pitching with Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard, a decent field, and to be generous, horrendous hitting. 

At the end of July, following the faux trade that left Wilmer Flores sobbing on the field, Mets manager Sandy Alderson began to turn their hitting around, bringing in power hitter Cespedes, as well as welcoming back Lucas Duda, David Wright, and Daniel Murphy. 

Though the focus of the Mets hitting has been on Cespedes (not surprisingly), his addition to the team has seemed to motivate everyone else as well. 

For the portion of the season that the Mets did not have Cespedes, we’ll call this the Dark Age, New York’s no. 4 and 5 hitter’s had batting averages of .170 and .179 respectively. Presently, those averages don’t have a place anywhere near the Mets line-up. Prior to July 31, the Mets average 3.5 runs per game, the worst in the entire league. Post July 31, the Mets now score an average of 6.1 runs per game, even beating out the Blue Jays.

Now how does a team go from the absolute worst offense to an all-star offense in just a couple months? If you answered, “Cespedes,” you’re partially correct. Add Kelly Johnson (.269) average and Juan Uribe (.254) and you’ve got a full explanation. Not to mention the return of David Wright following his diagnosis of spinal stenosis and Travis d’Arnaud’s fractured hand.

While Cespedes may have been the spark to the Mets offense and a leader in stats, he is not alone. At the same time, I like to give credit where it’s due and Cespedes’s numbers are unreal and have made Mets history. 

Whether it was the excitement of getting Cespedes or some kind of epiphany, something or someone has motivated Mets hitting and it’s only continuing to get stronger. 

Unfortunately, the Mets eight win game streak was broken Tuesday by the Marlins. However, New York is still eight and a half games ahead of the Nationals, and set at 99.9 percent by Baseball Prospectus to lock the division. Combine those odds and the energy pouring out of Queens and the postseason looks real bright for Mets fans. 

All stats are as of Sept. 16.


Mary Burkhardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at mary.burkhardt@uconn.edu.