This post will be updated throughout the evening with results and analysis from the 2013 Home Run Derby at Citi Field. For a detailed look at the venue and the hitters, see my guide to the Home Run Derby from earlier today.
The Format: Three rounds, ten outs per hitter in each round. An out is any swing that doesn't result in a home run. The top four home run totals advance to Round Two. The top two cumulative totals from the first two rounds advance to the Finals. Scores reset in the Finals, and the winner is the player who hits the most home runs in that round. Ties are broken by a five-swing swing-off. If the players remain tied, they have three-swing swing-offs until one wins.
Winner: Yoenis Cespedes.
Note: Cespedes needed just five outs to pass Harper in the finals and win the Derby. He hit 32 home runs total in the Derby, tying David Ortiz (2010) and Robinson Cano (2011) for the third most in a single Derby, and he could have kept going. He emphatically flipped his bat on his Derby-winning home run, which was his longest, 455 feet off the wall behind the batter's eye in center field.
1. Yoenis Cespedes: 9 (longest in Finals: 455 ft.)
2. Bryce Harper: 8 (longest in Finals: 447 ft.)
Note: Harper hit exactly eight home runs in all three rounds. One of his home runs in the finals was misreported at 541 feet. Leaving that aside, he has averaged 404 feet on his other 23 home runs tonight.
Round 2: Top Two Advance
advancement determined by cumulative total from Rounds 1 and 2
1. Yoenis Cespedes: Round 1: 17, Round 2: 6 = 23 (longest in Round 2: 416 ft.)
2. Bryce Harper: Round 1: 8, Round 2: 8 = 16 (longest in Round 2: 432 ft.)
3. Michael Cuddyer: Round 1: 7, Round 2: 8 = 15 (longest in Round 2: 417 ft.)
4. Chris Davis: Round 1: 8, Round 2: 4 = 12 (longest in Round 2: 461 ft.)
Note: Major league home run leader Chris Davis has been eliminated, but he put on a good show, hitting five opposite-field homers among his dozen and averaging a Derby-best (thus far this year with Harper and Cespedes still due to hit in the Finals) 418 feet per home run. Cuddyer and Harper both hit eight in Round 2, but Harper advanced because he had one more homer in Round 1. Yoenis Cespedes advanced on the strength of his Round 1 performance alone, but is taking his swings in Round 2 anyway as every home run contributes more money to the charities listed at the bottom of this post.
Round 1: Top Four Advance
1. Yoenis Cespedes: 17 (longest: 456 ft.)
2. Bryce Harper: 8 (longest: 471 ft.)
2. Chris Davis: 8 (longest: 451 ft.)
4. Michael Cuddyer: 7 (longest: 421 ft.)
5. Pedro Alvarez: 6 (longest: 461 ft.)
6. Prince Fielder: 5 (longest: 483 ft.)
6. David Wright: 5 (longest: 403 ft.)
8. Robinson Cano: 4 (longest: 406 ft.)
Note: Cespedes is obviously the story of the Derby in the early going. His 17 home runs were the most in one round since Josh Hamilton's record 28 in 2008. Cespedes's home runs averaged 410.6 feet in distance. Two bounced in the batter's eye, where no regular season home run has gone this season, and four landed in the third deck in right field. Bryce Harper's eight home runs had the longest average distance at 414.8 feet, and though defending champion Prince Fielder was eliminated, his second home run was the longest of the first round, traveling a staggering 483 feet to the back of the second deck in Citi Field's right field.
During the breaks in the action, Clovis High School (Fresno, CA) shortstop Jacob Gatewood, a potential top pick in the 2014 draft, outslugged another potential 2014 draftee, Palmetto, GA outfielder/firstbaseman Kel Johnson in a parallel derby. Gatewood hit nine home runs in three minutes in that derby's first round, blasting rockets to right field. An eye-opening performance from a hitter I did not expect to see tonight.
Charitable donations made by Major League Baseball and Chevrolet:
$3,000 for every regular ball hit for a home run
$23,000 for every gold ball hit for a home run (gold ball is put into play when a hitter reaches nine outs)
From the combined amount accumulated via the home runs hit:
$150,000 goes to the charity of the captain whose team combines for the most total home runs in the Derby
$100,000 goes to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America
$25,000 goes to losing captain’s charity
The remainder of the money goes to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America In addition, each player is pared with a child representing a different RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) league. The child associated with the Derby winner will receive $50,000 toward a ballfield makeover for his or her RBI league. The other seven children will receive $10,000 worth of baseball equipment and uniforms for his or her league.