Oakland Athletics left fielder Yoenis Cespedes is known for his power, but it's one thing to produce on a big stage when knocking it out of the park is the only objective.
As a major attraction of the All-Star festivities at Minneapolis' Target Field on Monday, Cespedes was undaunted under the bright lights, winning the MLB Home Run Derby for the second year in a row.
In case you missed it, here's a look at the eye-popping display in the final, courtesy of MLB.com:
Here's a look at each of the 30 homers Cespedes tallied on Monday, per MLB.com:
Cespedes became the first and only other back-to-back winner since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998 and 1999, per SportsCenter:
Yoenis Céspedes is 1st back-to-back derby winner since Ken Griffey Jr. did so in 1998 and 1999. pic.twitter.com/r1y2wnoLio— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 15, 2014
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted how Cespedes swatted 30 total home runs in the Derby, which featured a tense battle just to get out of the opening round:
Yoenis Cespedes hit a total of 30 home run, including two in a first-round swing off.— Tom (@Haudricourt) July 15, 2014
It just seemed that Cespedes kept building momentum as the evening progressed, improbably gaining pop in his bat as the rounds went by. By the time he faced Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier in the final, the outcome may as well have been in the bag, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Yoenis Cespedes beat Todd Frazier 9-1 in the HR Derby Finals. The 8-HR margin of victory is the largest in a HR Derby Finals— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 15, 2014
The A's All-Star crushed nine homers in the final round, with his seventh on a staggering trajectory:
Yoenis Cespedes' 7th HR had an estimated distance of 509 feet had it continued its descent— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 15, 2014
And let's just stick with ESPN Stats & Info to highlight just how impressive Cespedes has been in the past two years, much to the delight of baseball fans everywhere:
Yoenis Cespedes: 1st player to hit at least 30 HR in 2 different HR Derby competitions-- Hit 32 in 2013 and 30 in 2014— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 15, 2014
The format may be called into question, since Frazier made the finals with just 10 home runs to Cespedes' 21, but ESPN's Jayson Stark was in awe of Cespedes' performance:
Whatever the format, though, Yoenis Cespedes became an official Derby legend tonight. Best Derby Show on Earth.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 15, 2014
Cespedes himself warned his fellow competitors that he wasn't going to go down without a fight:
I'm not giving away this crown, you gotta take it from me 💪 #HRDerby— Yoenis Cespedes (@ynscspds) July 15, 2014
That proclamation proved prophetic in the end. No one could boast the stamina and sheer firepower Cespedes displayed, relentless in his assault and lapping elite-level competition.
This showcase should indeed go down in All-Star history as one of the best ever. Cespedes has tended to strike out often in his young MLB career, yet he obviously has the potential to produce for Oakland at even bigger levels for years to come. If Cespedes can become more disciplined at the dish, there's no telling what he could do moving forward.
Should the A's maintain their momentum, remain the best team in baseball and advance deep into the playoffs, don't discount Cespedes when he steps to the plate in a pivotal situation. He seems to rise to the occasion when it matters most. Sometimes those moments can be lost in translation amid a 162-game regular season, but Cespedes flashed his talents to the world in a big way on Monday night.
Could he pull off an unprecedented three-peat? It's still too early to speculate on next year's Derby, though installing anyone but Cespedes as the favorite would seem unfitting given his impeccable resume.