Oakland Athletics center fielder Yoenis Cespedes has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending July 15th. This is Yoenis’ first career weekly honor and the second for an Athletic in a month, along with teammate Brandon Moss, who captured A.L. Player of the Week on June 18th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network. In a shortened week due to the All-Star break, the rookie Cespedes batted .571 (8-for-14) with a double, two home runs, six RBI and five runs scored in a three-game weekend sweep of the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The 26-year-old finished first in the A.L. in runs scored and total bases (15), was tied for first in hits, was third in batting average, was tied for third in RBI and was tied for fourth in on-base percentage (.571).
In the Friday night opener, Cespedes went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and two runs scored as Oakland doubled up Minnesota for a 6-3 victory. He scored both of his runs courtesy of the bat of Jonny Gomes, touching home on a fourth-inning grand slam and later on a ninth-inning single to help give the A’s their third consecutive second-half-opening victory dating back to 2010. On Saturday, Cespedes and the Athletics put on a power display in the spacious Target Field with a season-high-tying four homers as the A’s rolled to a 9-3 win. Along with his third-inning blast, the Cuban native doubled, had three RBI and scored a pair of runs in the effort. On Sunday, the right-handed-hitting Cespedes collected a career-best four hits in five at-bats, including a home run and three RBI as the Athletics won, 9-4. The A’s launched four homers for the second straight night, marking the first time they have accomplished the feat since September 7-8, 2001 against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Oakland finished with nine homers and 24 runs scored in the three-game set. Sunday’s win marked their first overall sweep of the Twins since 2002 and their first sweep in Minneapolis since the 2000 season. Oakland, winners of nine of their last 10 games, is within a half-game of the A.L. Wild Card lead, trailing the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Baltimore Orioles. Among A.L. rookies, Cespedes ranks first in RBI (42), is tied for second in doubles (12) and home runs (11), is third in hits (60) and walks (16), is fourth in games played (57) and at-bats (212) and is tied for fourth in runs scored (24).
Other noteworthy performances last week included Gomes (.625, 2 HR, 7 RBI); Cleveland’s Michael Brantley (.727, 8 H, 1.273 SLG); Minnesota’s Josh Willingham (.455, 3 HR, 5 RBI); Kansas City’s Alcides Escobar (.462, 2 HR, 6 RBI); Seattle’s Felix Hernandez (1-0, 12 SO and 0 BB in shutout vs. Texas on July 14th); and Matt Harrison (1-0 and 3 SO in shutout vs. Seattle on July 15th) of the Rangers.
In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, Yoenis Cespedes will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.