Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes won his second straight MLB All-Star Game Home Run Derby tonight at Target Field in Minneapolis, demonstrating again to baseball fans everywhere the A's have some star power—if there was any doubt left in the collective minds in America.
Last year, Cespedes won the title at Citi Field in New York, and his repeat effort makes him the first player since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998-99 to win two straight Home Run Derby titles. They are the only two players with back-to-back titles in the contest, and Griffey Jr. is the only player to win three times.
Cespedes will no doubt have a few chances in his career to match Junior, if not surpass him.
This year, it wasn't even close, however: Cespedes hit 30 home runs in all, and no other player in the competition hit more than 14 total moon shots (Toronto's Jose Bautista). In fact, the players all seemed to struggle to get the ball out of the park—except the A's All-Star outfielder, of course.
To wit, Cespedes' competition in the finals—Cincinnati third baseman Todd Frazier—hit only 11 home runs on the night, total. The National League final, between Frazier and pre-Derby favorite Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, was a 1-0 affair, as boring as World Cup soccer.
Thank heavens for Yoenis!
Cespedes has his worst round early, tying with teammate Josh Donaldson for the third and final AL qualifying spot out of the first round. The A's outfielder then beat the A's third baseman, 2-1, in a swing off for the last spot in the AL second round. In Round Two, Cespedes easily handled Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, 9-3, before sinking Bautista in the AL final, 7-4.
The final, against Frazier, was a waltz: the 9-1 margin left little suspense for the fans. In fact, Frazier hit a combined two home runs in the NL final and the championship round to suffer a strange power outage at the wrong time.
So Cespedes retains the Derby belt, and every A's fan can once again smile widely at the national attention the Oakland outfielder is getting. We all know he can throw runners out at any base he wants, and we all know he can hit home runs. But perhaps what we really want to know is this:
Can Yoenis lead the A's to the World Series championship?
Stay tuned, Oakland fans.