Your big winner at Citi Field on Monday night was Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics. Cespedes won the Home Run Derby, topping Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals in the final round with eight home runs to Harper's seven.
Cespedes turned up the gas early in the competition, blasting 17 homers in the first round that paced the way. In fact, those 17 homers were more than twice as many as anyone else hit in the first round. Chris Davis and Harper both also advanced to the second round with eight homers apiece, while Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies (a selection lampooned by many, including myself) claimed the fourth and final spot in the semis with seven homers. Neither captain, Robinson Cano and David Wright, advanced, as Cano hit a competition-low four homers while Wright hit five. Defending champion Prince Fielder also bowed out with just five homers in the first round, while Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates hit six.
In the semifinals, Davis ran out of gas, hitting just four homers to give him a total of 12 for the Derby. Davis also tore open a callous on his hand during the Derby, possibly effecting his performance. Cuddyer followed up his seven in the first round with eight in the second, giving him a total of 15 and ensuring that Cespedes would be in the final. But Harper's one homer advantage in the first round ended up being the difference after he hit eight again in the second, pairing him with the Cuban in the finals. However, just for the hell of it, Cespedes homered six times in the semis, giving up 23 total for the competition.
Harper batted first in the final, and once again hit eight home runs. But Cespedes was a man that couldn't be stopped, bashing nine homers (and running through just five of his outs in the process) to take the Home Run Derby champion crown. And just think: Cespedes isn't even an All-Star, and he was the final man announced for the AL team by Cano last week. All in all, it was a dominant performer from Oakland's outfielder, and some of the shots he hit were just breathtaking.