With a dazzling display of prodigious power, Yoenis Cespedes took home the 2013 Home Run Derby crown at Citi Field. The 27-year-old Oakland Athletics outfielder advanced to the finals by hitting a remarkable 17 home runs in the opening round, followed by six more in the second round. In the final round, Bryce Harper set the bar high with his third consecutive round of eight, but Cespedes breezed past his total with five outs to spare.
Though Harper held his own thanks to his consistency from round-to-round, this really was a one-man show starring Cespedes. In total, he finished the night with 32 homers, and you almost get the feeling that number could have gone as high as he wanted it. Instead, it only went as high as he needed it to, but it was still a performance that will be remembered for a long time to come.
Here's his Derby-winning homer in GIF form:
10:38 PM: After brushing his son back several times in the first two rounds, Ron Harper finally clipped Bryce Harper on the leg in the finals. Even Carly Rae Jepsen can't believe that happened!
10:29 PM: Here's an interesting tidbit on the finals:
Yoenis Cespedes (38) & Bryce Harper (35) have the fewest career HR among #HRDerby participants, but those are your finalists!
— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) July 16, 2013
10:25 PM: If that’s your Chevy truck parked next to the big apple in center field, you’re going to need a new windshield. Yoenis Cespedes just shattered it with a mammoth blast on his way to six more home runs and a team victory for the American League, 44-42.
10:19 PM: The answer is yes, Yoenis Cespedes will step in aiming to hit five home runs to help the American League win the team competition.
10:15 PM: There will be no swing-off in round two. Bryce Harper stayed locked in and delivered another eight home runs to advance to what should be a very interesting final matchup against Yoenis Cespedes. Now the questions is, will Cespedes even bother hitting in the second round? Stay tuned.
10:00 PM: Before even batting in the second round, Yoenis Cespedes has already advanced to the finals after Chris Davis finished with four homers. That brought his total to 12 and eliminates him from the Derby. Bryce Harper will now need to hit seven home runs to force a swing-off with Michael Cuddyer and eight to join Cespedes in the final round. Drama!
9:53 PM: A clearly deflated crowd didn’t make a whole lot of noise during Michael Cuddyer’s second round performance, but it was definitely another solid effort. The NL’s designated hitter in Tuesday night's All-Star game added eight to bring his two round total to 15.
9:49 PM ET: Updating the team competition, the American League finished round one with a total of 34 home runs while the National League hit 26.
9:44 PM: The second round is set to begin with Yoenis Cespedes (17), Chris Davis (8), Bryce Harper (8) and Michael Cuddyer (7) all advancing.
9:41 PM ET: David Wright needed seven to force a swing-off and eight to advance but fell short with a first round score of five. That means Ryne Sandberg (Wrigley Field in 1990) is still the only player to win a Home Run Derby in his home ballpark.
9:32 PM: For the second straight season, Robinson Cano won’t be advancing to the second round after finishing with a disappointing four homers. That's bad news. The good news? At least he wasn’t completely shut out again following last year's debacle.
9:19 PM: With father Ron Harper throwing him cut fastballs in on the hands, Bryce Harper finishes with a solid eight. That means Pedro Alvarez is out of the running and Michael Cuddyer is on the brink of elimination with team captains Robinson Cano and David Wright yet to swing.
9:07 PM: MLB home run leader Chris Davis hits eight to move into second place and officially knock defending champion Prince Fielder out of the Derby. It was an unusual round for Derby competition in that Davis actually spread them around to all fields. Typically this is a pull heavy event.
8:55 PM: Prince Fielder is officially on the bubble after Pedro Alvarez finishes with six home runs in the opening round.
8:47 PM:Yoenis Cespedes, our own Mike Oz’s dark horse pick for the Derby, surpassed any and all expectations with an explosive first round performance. Of his 17 home runs, 12 traveled beyond 400 feet, with several peppering the left field upper deck. He’s the leader in the clubhouse early and may have just emerged as the favorite.
8:28 PM: Michael Cuddyer put his line drive power on display with a first round total of seven. That included a shot to center field that nearly left a dent in the Chevy truck. For those who thought Cuddyer didn't belong in the Derby, I think he just proved he does.
8:20 PM: Prince Fielder, attempting to join Ken Griffey Jr. as the only three-time Home Run Derby winner, may struggle to reach the second round after posting five homers in round one. He did manage to light up the crowd once with an incredible 483 foot blast into the right field upper deck that ESPN projects would have traveled 548 feet in the air.
8:10 PM: The pomp, circumstance, absurd music selections, and unnecessarily drawn out introductions are out of the way. It’s go time at Citi Field!
7:52 PM: Kelley Jakle, great-granddaughter of Branch Rickey, performed a terrific rendition of the National Anthem. We're less than ten minutes away from the 2013 Home Run Derby hitting the air.
7:39 PM: Big League Stew's Fashion Ump is on scene in New York. Check out his photos from MLB's All-Star media availability.
7:05 PM: The batting order for the Home Run Derby has been revealed. It is as follows:
• Prince Fielder (16 home runs in 2013)
• Michael Cuddyer (16)
• Yoenis Cespedes (15)
• Pedro Alvarez (24)
• Chris Davis (37)
• Bryce Harper (13)
• Robinson Cano (21)
• David Wright (13)
6:06 PM: Eight of the baseball’s most prolific sluggers are set to take part in perhaps the most anticipated event of All-Star week — the Home Run Derby. This year the All-Star field will be led by captains and hometown favorites David Wright and Robinson Cano, along with defending champion Prince Fielder. It's a strong group, and we're expecting them to put on entertaining show at Citi Field. And who knows, maybe somebody will literally hit one into the big apple stationed behind the center field wall.
The festivities are just a couple hours from getting underway (8 ET on ESPN), and once they do Big League Stew will have you covered from Chris Berman’s long-winded introductions, all the way through the trophy presentation. Be sure to check back with us all night long for the very latest updates and insights.
Before I get into the rules, format and full list of participants in this year‘s Derby, I’d like to give you one friendly reminder. If you’re setting your DVR, make sure to add on an extra 60 to 90 minutes. I can’t remember the last time the first round ended in under two hours, let alone the entire event, so make sure to give yourself plenty of latitude.
The Home Run Derby will feature three rounds with each batter getting ten outs per round. Any swing that doesn't result in a home run is considered an out.
Each batter selects their own pitcher for the event.
After all eight participants bat in round one, the four with the highest total will advance to round two. In the case of a tie, the men involved will have a swing-off at the end of the round to determine who advances.
After round two, the two participants with the highest total of home runs in round one and round two will advance the finals where the totals will be reset. It's worth mentioning that swing-off home runs will not count in their round one and round two totals.
In addition to the individual competition, there will be a separate team battle going on between the two leagues during round one. Each league has four participants involved as selected by their team captain. The league with the highest total of home runs in the derby will win $150,000 for a charity selected by their captain. The losing captain's charity will receive $25,000.
Representing the American League will be captain and 2011 Home Run Derby champion Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees. His three selections are 2009 and 2012 champion Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers, Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland A's and Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, who leads baseball with 37 first half home runs.
In the National League, David Wright, representing the hometown New York Mets, will serve as captain. His team will be rounded out by his childhood friend Michael Cuddyer of the Colorado Rockies, 20-year-old Bryce Harper from the Washington Nationals, and Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez, who is serving as substitute for Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez.
Now that you know all of the particulars, go check out our official picks and dark horses for tonight‘s Derby and predictions for Tuesday‘s All-Star game. When you're done there, come on back and leave your comments and predictions below.