Yoenis Cespedes and the Top 10 Performers in MLB Home Run Derby History
Yoenis Cespedes and the Top 10 Home Run Derby Participants
The 2013 MLB Home Run Derby has gone and passed, but the result of the contest is still resonating with some fans, especially those who believed in Yoenis Cespedes and believed the young star could do it despite being Robinson Cano's last choice of a teammate.
This year's contest was sure to be one of the best and most competitive in history, but even the league's leading home run hitter, Chris Davis, failed to make the finals. The team captains of each side finished in last and second-to-last place as the New York teams failed to represent in their own city.
Cespedes took the baseball world by storm, knocking 17 bombs out of Citi Field in the first round, more than anyone hit in the first two rounds combined. He didn't even have to compete in the second round, but he still managed to hit six more out and then take Bryce Harper down in the finals by seemingly easily hitting nine.
Davis only managed to crank 12 homers over two rounds, finishing fourth and exiting the competition that many, including myself, thought he would be the champion of.
While the 2013 contest didn't disappoint — providing one of the top performers in derby history — it still pales in comparison to some of the talent that has come through and participated in the pre-All-star Game festivities in the past.
I believe that Cespedes earned himself a spot on the list of top 10 Home Run Derby participants since the contest went from a team competition in 1995 to an individual one in 1996. Some of the guys on this list of top 10 derby participants of all-time will surprise you while others are no-brainers.
Take a look at my list and tell me what you think. No. 1 may surprise you.
10. Yoenis Cespedes
Cespedes became the sixth derby winner in the past seven years to have less than 20 home runs on the season and still take the crown. He's not having the ideal season, but this could definitely light a fire under him for the second half. If he didn't perform as well as he did, there's no way he'd be on this list, but he finished with the third-most homers in derby history.
9. Bobby Abreu
Bobby Abreu is on this list for one reason and one reason only — he has the most homers in any competition in history. His 41 homers in the 2005 Home Run Derby was the best single performance in the history of the contest.
8. Ryan Howard
Ryan Howard was once the best power hitter in the game — or so it seemed. He won the 2006 contest by blasting 23 bombs and finished in third place in the 2008 derby. While he didn't quite dominate like a lot of the guys ahead of him on this list, he was always a favorite to win when he was in the derby.
7. Jason Giambi
Former superstar Jason Giambi was a part of three straight contests from 2001-03. He finished in third place twice and first place one time. While he was just a third place finisher twice, he still finished with the most home runs in one of those third place finishes and second in homers in the other. Poor timing of his home runs — not in the semifinals — led him to early exits with high amounts of homers.
6. David Ortiz
It feels like David Ortiz is in the Home Run Derby every year and for good reason. This guy holds nearly every single record for designated hitters in MLB history, including most home runs. He has 77 home runs in his five appearances in the contest along with one title. I'd say he's a pretty successful participant.
5. Sammy Sosa
Sure, Sammy Sosa hasn't played a game since 2007, but the member of the 600 home runs club was an active participant in the competition and is still one of the top performers of all-time. He was in six derbies and won one of them. He was never seemingly a true contender until 2000, then he was always the guy to beat.
4. Prince Fielder
Prince Fielder has been in the Home Run Derby in five of the past seven seasons, winning the title twice. Just how good is he? Well, the superstar power hitter has hit 68 home runs in the early stages of his career. I doubt he's done appearing in any contests, seemingly in the prime of his career.
3. Barry Bonds
Appearing in Home Run Derbies, the greatest power hitter of all-time has just one title to show for it. However, Barry Bonds was in the most of any guy on the list so far and he was picked because he's always been a great hitter. Hard not to put this guy in the top-three.
2. Mark McGwire
It's not a surprise that Mark McGwire is a hitting coach today as he was one of the best of his time. He was never an actual "winner" of the contest, McGwire finished with the most homers in the years in which the derby was a team competition. This guy just flat-out hit bombs and wow-ed the fans every time he was in it.
1. Ken Griffey Jr.
Appearing in the most Home Run Derbies of anyone in the history of the competition, Ken Griffey Jr. took the whole baseball world by storm in the 1990s. He won two titles and was a chief contender every single season he appeared. Very worthy of the top spot on this list.