The 2013 Home Run Derby did not disappoint on Tuesday night at Citi Field, but now that the MLB All-Star competition has come and gone, there are some key takeaways from the event.
For those who missed out on the home run-hitting showcase, Yoenis Cespedes defeated Bryce Harper in the final round to take the crown, as shown in the tweet from Major League Baseball's official Twitter account:
Cespedes hit 17 home runs in the first round to take a commanding lead over the rest of the field. The two team captains, David Wright and Robinson Cano, bowed out in the first round, as did defending champion Prince Fielder. Chris Davis, the league leader in homers, only hit 12 on the night.
Harper entered the finals knowing that he was going to need to get hot in order to win the title. He hit eight out of the park, which was more than respectable. But Cespedes was a man on a mission, and won this year’s Home Run Derby with nine home runs—and he still had five outs to go.
I think Cespedes knew it when he hit his winning shot.
While Cespedes is probably out flipping his bat all over Queens, here are the three biggest takeaways from Monday night’s Home Run Derby.
Cuddyer Was A Smart Choice
Michael Cuddyer was a bit of a head-scratcher when David Wright announced that the Colorado outfielder would be on the NL’s Home Run Derby team.
Cuddyer only has 16 home runs at the All-Star break and has only hit more than 30 home runs in a season once in his career. He doesn’t give off the “slugger” vibe.
Still, he stepped into the batter’s box at Citi Field looking to prove his doubters wrong, and he did just that. Cuddyer hit seven home runs in the first round, which was just enough to earn him a spot in the second round of the competition—one more than Pedro Alvarez.
The Rockies' All-Star continued to impress in the second round by tying Harper for the most home runs in the round with eight. While it wasn’t enough to make it into the finals, it definitely wasn’t a bad night for Cuddyer, as he hit the third-most homers of anyone in the competition.
Wright made the right choice in selecting him.
Abreu’s Record Is Tough to Break
The Home Run Derby was a distinct reminder of how great a show Bobby Abreu put on at Comerica Park back in 2005.
There have been eight All-Star home run competitions since Abreu set the record for a Home Run Derby with 41, and no one has come within five of that mark yet.
In fact, only five players have hit 30 or more home runs in a single Home Run Derby since Abreu launched home run after home run on that magical night in Detroit. Josh Hamilton had a great shot at it in 2008 when he hit 28 first-round homers. He had two rounds to hit 13 or more, but only hit seven the rest of the way.
Cespedes looked to have a chance at tying or breaking the record on Monday night, but he instead became just the latest contender to come up short.
Hitting just six homers in the second round didn’t help his cause, but one must wonder how many he could have hit if he didn’t stop after surpassing Harper’s total.
The Oakland outfielder only needed five outs to hit nine home runs. If he would’ve continued to bat after winning the Home Run Derby, he would’ve had an additional five outs to try to hit nine more to tie the record and 10 to break it.
Could he have done it? We’ll never know. What we do know is that Abreu’s record still stands.
Cano’s 2011 Victory Was A Fluke
Robinson Cano is one of the most feared hitters in baseball and he often torches opposing pitchers. But it appears that his father is one of the pitchers that he’s struggled to hit off of lately.
That wasn’t the case in 2011 when Cano won the Home Run Derby with 32 home runs—with 12 of those coming in the finals against Adrian Gonzalez.
Last year, Cano was the captain for the AL squad, but he didn’t do anything at the plate—literally. The Yankees second baseman entered the competition with 20 homers and was certainly one of the favorites, but he failed to hit even one ball out of the park as he finished the first round with a goose egg.
Cano was better at Citi Field, but not by much.
He only hit four home runs in the first round, falling three homers shy of forcing a swing-off. For the second straight year, Cano finished the Home Run Derby with the fewest home runs in the field. He now has four Derby homers in two years after hitting 32 in 2011.
Fluke? I think so.