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Nothing could slow down the Oakland Athletics' Yoenis Cespedes on Monday night. Not an hour-long rain delay at the Minnesota Twins’s Target Field, not constant absence of rest that Cespedes was subjected to, nothing.
ESPN.com reports that Cespedes dominantly snatched up his second straight Home Run Derby title, belting 30 homers in the process, only two less than the total he put up last year.
Still, this year’s output was twice as many as the next contestant. Jose Bautista only mustered 14 dings out of the park, 10 of which came in the first round.
Unlike last year, in which Cespedes hit a mind-boggling 13 homers in the first round, he had a slow start on Monday, only knocking two out of the park before just barely scraping by in a swing-off with the Twins’ Brian Dozier.
The edge that the swing-off provided Cespedes must have done the trick, however, as afterward he never looked back. He hit nine, seven, and nine homers in the subsequent rounds, respectively.
The Cincinnati Reds' Todd Frazier simply never had a chance, as he only managed one home run in the final round against Cespedes. This was perhaps easy to see coming, however, as Frazier only advanced to the Finals after Giancarlo Stanton’s egg in the National League Finals propelled Frazier onward, despite Frazier’s one homerun in that round as well.
Stanton’s zero homers was a major surprise, as he put up a healthy six homers that ensured him a bye into the semi-finals. The long wait must have affected him, as the slugger hit 21 homers this season, per stats from Baseball-Reference.com. He was among the most hyped attractions coming into the Derby.
Other notable scores were the L.A. Dodgers' Yasiel Puig and Colorado Rockie Justin Morneau. The former failed to hit a homerun, while Morneau only hit two home runs in the first round en route to losing a swing-off to Frazier.
Cespedes’ route to the title was much less dramatic than last year. He placed third in the semi-finals and just barely edged out the Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper in the Finals.
In addition to last year’s showing, Cespedes has recorded a respectable 49 home runs his first two years in the Major Leagues, so it’s not a surprise to see him showing off that power in a format such as this.