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Yoenis Cespedes Wins 2013 MLB All-Star Home Run Derby

by Photo of Kenneth Teape

The Oakland A’s outfielder brings home the derby crown even though he is not even an All-Star.

Yoenis Cespedes Wins 2013 MLB All-Star Home Run Derby

On Monday night at Citi Field for the MLB All-Star Game Home Run Derby Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes put on a show for the fans en route to being crowned the winner of the derby. He also proved the adage of saving the best for last in the process.

Cespedes was the last choice made by AL Captain Robinson Cano and he was not even Cano’s first choice; he asked Miguel Cabrera to be the last member of the AL team but he declined to participate. Cespedes was also only the fourth participant named to the derby that was not an All-Star and the first of the four to win the competition.

Many were skeptical of Cano's pick. Cespedes has struggled mightily in his sophomore season after an impressive rookie campaign. This season Cespedes has hit only .225 but has not disappointed in the power category, launching 15 home runs in the first half of the season. Even with the struggles, the players knew of the potential and talent Cespedes holds as hardly anyone holds doubt about his abilities in the MLB.

Citi Field will never be mistaken for a hitter’s park, but Monday night Cespedes turned it into his own personal playground as he ousted Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper in the finals 9-8. On the night, Cespedes launched 32-home runs, tying him for the third-highest total in Home Run Derby history. It did not take Cespedes long to prove that he belonged as he hit 17 home runs in the first round alone, which was more than any other participant managed in their first two attempts. Cespedes hit three moon shots into the upper deck of left field, a place a baseball has never visited during a game at Citi Field. He also peppered the window of the restaurant in left field just below the upper deck and dented one of the trucks past the centerfield wall that were some 455 feet away. The clincher was a bomb to centerfield that hit off the black of the hitters eye wall beyond the apple and trucks. Cespedes is not even taking part in the All-Star game Tuesday night but will come away as the player that people will talk most about from the 2013 All-Star break (unless something crazy happens tonight).

Cespedes and Harper were the last competitors standing, but other hitters had solid performances as well. Colorado Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer, whose participation in the event was questioned by many, hit 15 home runs on the night to finish right behind Harper. Chris Davis, MLB’s home run leader heading into the break with 37, lost in the second round as well with 12 home runs. He was battling a blister that developed on his hand but still managed to hit the longest home run of the night at 502 feet.

Two-time champion Prince Fielder, the only player other than Ken Griffey Jr. with multiple derby titles, was out early in the first round with only five home runs. The three hometown participants, Pittsburgh Pirates Pedro Alvarez, who went to high school in New York, the Yankees Robinson Cano and the New York Mets own David Wright all fell in the first round as well.

Since taking the crown in 2011 in thrilling fashion over Adrian Gonzalez, Cano has struggled mightily. He was booed heavily last season in Kansas City after not picking hometown player Billy Butler and subsequently hit zero home runs. This season he was booed because he is a Yankee and to the delight of the Mets fans finished last.

On the night there were 103 homeruns hit in all and $529,000 were raised by the participants that will be donated to charity.

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