In what can only be described as a turn of events that few saw coming, Oakland Athletics star Yoenis Cespedes won the 2013 Home Run Derby. Consistently belting shots all over the field, Cespedes put forth one of the most memorable performances of all time.
What does this win mean for Cespedes' career moving forward?
Cespedes dominated this competition from start to finish. He was explosive in the first round, hitting 17 home runs to take an early lead. From there, Cespedes essentially took batting practice during the second round before setting up an epic final round.
Needing eight home runs to tie Bryce Harper, Cespedes hit nine with ease and won the event with a whopping 32 total long bombs.
An awe-inspiring performance, to say the least.
For all of his glory, however, we can't help but wonder what this will do for Cespedes as an everyday player. Winning this event is something to put on the resume, and it's certainly a memory to cherish, but it holds no impact on the direction of a career.
Cespedes hopes to prove that last sentence wrong, thus using this event to turn his season around.
Breaking a Cold Streak?
Cespedes, 27, is in the midst of a disappointing 2013 campaign, hitting .225 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI. That embodies Cespedes' game in 2013, as he can't seem to put his bat on the ball unless he's going deep.
Oddly enough, prior to the Home Run Derby, Cespedes hadn't hit a home run since June 21, a span of 19 games played.
The hope here is that Cespedes' success at Citi Field sparks a turnaround, as he goes from a power-deprived star to one who re-discovers his form. If that is the case, he could fit back into an Oakland lineup that has propelled the Athletics into first place in the AL West.
If there's one thing that can restore a player's confidence, it would be a performance like Cespedes put on at the Home Run Derby—you know, if he gets the pitches he wants.
And that is the cause for concern.
Expanding his range will be the key.
There's no question that Cespedes can turn things around, as he hit .292 with 23 home runs and 82 RBI in 129 games during the 2012 season. With such a significant drop-off in 2013, it's clear that this is a cold stretch and not the player he truly is.
But will he break it?
During the 2012 MLB regular season, Cespedes took the world by storm with his elite-level production. If not for the meteoric rise of Mike Trout, a case could be made that Cespedes would have run away with the American League Rookie of the Year award.
The question is whether this performance affirms Cespedes' status as a future All-Star. Or, did we jump to conclusions before the facts had presented themselves?
Regardless of what the truth is, Cespedes is already making history.
Unfortunately, that's not history Cespedes wants to make.
This flash of power is intriguing enough to believe that the 27-year-old can transform into one of the top home run hitters in the MLB. Having hit .292 with 25 doubles and three triples in 2012, it's also clear that Cespedes can make contact and find the gaps in the outfield for extra-base hits.
It's all about discovering consistency.
When a hitter is struggling, the best thing for him is a performance that falls into the category of dominant. Even if it wasn't in a regular-season game, Cespedes experienced that type of momentum-changer at the Home Run Derby.
With time to work on his swing and expand his swing zone before the season resumes, Cespedes is in prime position to return to form and become a future All-Star.
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