The news, first reported by Yahoo's Tim Brown, that the Oakland A's have signed Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes for four years wraps up what has been one of the longest-lasting and most interesting pursuits of the offseason.
Cespedes, who will rank high in our upcoming Top 100 Prospects list, is expected to compete for a starting job with the A's in spring training. Baseball America subscribers can read an extremely detailed scouting report on the newest A's outfielder here. For non-subscriber's here's an excerpt from the report:
Cespedes has a track record of hitting, both in Cuba and during international tournaments. Cespedes' performance at the 2009 World Baseball Classic (where he ranked No. 6 on our Top 20 World Baseball Classic prospects list) in particular seems to have made an impression on scouts and helped convince them of his ability to hit high-level pitching. He has excellent bat speed and has repeatedly shown the ability to smash a fastball, so there isn't much doubt about his ability to handle premium velocity.
"He's got a very balanced swing," said a Latin American director. "His lower half is very balanced. He doesn't load very much but he's strong and his hands are pretty quick. There weren't any of those crazy types of swings where the guy's just trying to hit the ball out of the park."