MLB Rumors 2011: Yoenis Cespedes And Norichika Aoki Each Near Stateside Signing

The MLB Rumor mill is a little more confusing than usual this year, when it comes time for teams to sign solutions at center field. With Grady Sizemore returning to the Cleveland Indians and Carlos Beltran a likely right fielder, the two best bets at the position are each international players—Cuba's Yoenis Cespedes, star of history's greatest scouting video, and Japan's Norichika Aoki, the latest in the Ichiro line of dashing, undersized, line-driving singles hitters to come out of the NPB. Cespedes continues to draw looks across baseball, though concrete news has yet to break, while Aoki is about to be posted, if the latest reports are enough to go on.

Cespedes, 26, is nearly impossible to project—he has outstanding tools, and he looks like a baseball player, but league quality in Cuba is difficult to predict given the paucity of data coming from it.

Aoki, meanwhile, can be projected—Dan Szymborski recently tweeted he graded out at .287/.335/.379, per ZiPS—which means that teams will have to do nearly as much guesswork grading out the center field defense and baserunning skills that could leave him an average player or make him into a low-grade star at the position.

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