New York Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes is slumping and it’s bad.
The man expected to carry the Mets lineup this season has stepped up in some big situations with three game-winning hits this season, but he’s batting .195 with a dizzying 37 strikeouts in just 20 games. No one else has been punched out more this season than “La Potencia.”
With no resolution in sight, Cespedes and the Mets have to turn back to the one thing that has helped him break through slumps like this in the past: Golf.
The left fielder has turned to the game as a way of regaining his mechanics at the plate. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, golfing has “helped him establish the muscle memory of keeping his hands tight to his body, preventing his shoulder from flying open during baseball swings.”
It’s worked over the first six years of his career as he’s averaged a .274 average with 26 home runs and 82 RBI per season.
But the Mets, like they have had a tendency of doing for most of their existence, have found a way to even mess up their best player’s hobby.
As he’s battled injury issues for the better part of the last two season, Cespedes’ golfing became a sore spot with Mets management. While dealing with a quadriceps injury in 2016, Cespedes was seen golfing, a decision that general manager Sandy Alderson described as “bad optics.”
Last year, Cespedes promised he would quit golfing during a campaign in which he appeared in just 81 games due to nagging hamstring issues.
In 2018, per DiComo, Cespedes is watching videos of his at-bats as a visual aid to try and address his issues.
It’s clearly not working and he’s ready to get back on the course. It’s about time, too.
New York’s star player needs to put his general manager’s feelings aside and get back to what has made him one of the most imposing bats in the National League over the past three years (when he’s been healthy). Golfing while injured is one thing, but staying away from the tool used to break out of slumps while healthy is a completely different story.
Whichever way he uses gets out of this funk, it has to happen fast. The Mets are 14-6 and lead the NL East despite Cespedes struggling, Michael Conforto batting .213 and Jay Bruce batting .194 while both starting catchers out with injuries. That’s a recipe for disaster and before the wins start drying up, it’s best for the Mets’ biggest bat to get going again.