After winning the 2013 Home Run Derby, Cespedes came back to Target Field looking to defend his title. He did. Cespedes smashed 30 home runs, including two he hit in a tiebreaker round with third baseman Josh Donaldson. He beat Reds third baseman Todd Frazier in the final round, 9-1.
Cespedes becomes just the third player to win multiple Derbies and just the second player ever to win back-to-back. Prince Fielder won the Derby in both 2009 and 2012; Ken Griffey Jr. won won the event in back-to-back years in 1998 and '99.
Cespedes seemed to be cooled by the rain that delayed the Home Run Derby about 30 minutes. After hitting just three home runs in the first round, Cespedes had to beat Donaldson in a swing-off, where Cespedes won 2-1. He got better as the night went on, beating Orioles outfielder Adam Jones 9-3 in the second round, and beating Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista 7-4 in the third round.
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig also made history in the Derby yesterday, hitting zero home runs. He becomes the first player since Robinson Cano in 2012 to hit zero home runs. Only Brandon Inge, Jason Bay, Bret Boone, and Troy Glaus hit zero homers since 2000. For what we expected Puig to do, the results were incredible, and not in a very good way.
Speaking of incredible, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was just that in the first round. He hit a 510-foot home run to Target Field's third deck. However, his six home runs gave him the top seed in the National League, but Stanton may have gotten cold, losing to Todd Frazier in the semis 1-0. Giancarlo Stanton hit ZERO home runs in the semi-finals. Wow. Maybe next time, Stanton.
Speaking of getting cold, that is what happened to Jose Bautista as well. The top seed in the American League after hitting 10 bombs in the first round exited, hitting only four home runs in the semi-finals, losing to the eventual-champion Yoenis Cespedes.
Justin Morneau, former Minnesota Twin and American League MVP, did not have a particularly strong showing in the event, but received a standing ovation in his return to Minneapolis. Morneau likely received the most cheers (maybe except for Stanton's 510-foot home runs) of any player, as the Minnesotans thanked him for his time with the Twins. That was a great moment.
Overall, the Home Run Derby was a great event to watch, and its new format added to the fun. I enjoyed watching it, and my prediction was correct, Cespedes won! I did pick him over Stanton, though, which did not turn out exactly how I predicted. But I enjoyed watching it and liked what it offered. The 2014 Home Run Derby was quite a treat.