Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer had a strong performance in Monday Night's Home Run Derby at Citi Field, placing third, and matching the number on his back.
Cuddyer was the second man to take the plate on the night and briefly took the tournament lead after launching seven long balls in the first round. However, three other derby participants would surpass his first round total, including Yoenis Cespedes's remarkable 17 opening round bombs. It was the third most home runs ever hit in any round of derby history trailing only Josh Hamilton's mind boggling 28 at old Yankee Stadium in 2008 and Bobby Abreu's 24 from the opening round of 2005 at Comerica Park. While Cespedes's extreme power is obvious, success of this level was at least a little bit surprising as Cespedes had hit just two home runs in the 31 games entering Monday's derby.
With the Round 1 totals carrying over into Round 2, Cespedes was all but a lock to make it into the head to head final face off, leaving Chris Davis (eight home runs), Bryce Harper (eight home runs), and Michael Cuddyer (seven home runs) to square off for the other remaining spot.
Cuddyer went first and again performed well. This time, he sent eight balls over the wall including one off the promotion truck in center field just to the left of the big apple. As it turned out, Cuddyer would be the only player to improve on his first round total, and when Chris Davis, the major league leader in home runs with 37 failed to hit more than four balls out, it looked for a moment like we might be headed for a Cuddyer vs. Cespedes face off. However, it was not to be as Bryce Harper was able to match his first round total of eight home runs giving him 16 total on the night compared to Cuddyer's 15 and therefore eliminating the Rockies righty.
In the final round face off, Harper would for the third time in the competition hit eight home runs in a round. However, this tournament is not about consistency, and while eight home runs is not a bad number, it proved easy pickings for a locked in Cespedes. It took the A's outfielder just five outs, half the allotted amount, to launch nine majestic shots deep into the night to take the derby crown with an exclamation point. Perhaps the only disappointing thing about this performances was that Cespedes went second in the final round meaning he did not have to use all ten outs. He had five outs to spare when he stopped at 32 and the way he was swinging the bat, he may have made a run at the all time derby record of 41 total home runs held by Bobby Abreu from 2005.
On the other end of the spectrum was Robinson Cano. Like last year, the Yankees lefty finished dead last in this competition. Unlike last year, he hit more than zero home runs. However, it still leaves Colorado fans with this fun stat...
Troy Tulowitzki has hit four home runs at Citi Field in real game action in the same amount of time he's made his last ten outs at Citi Field in real game action. Robinson Cano hit just four home runs at Citi field in a home run derby while making ten outs.
Here's a table of all the action from the event.
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