Yoenis Cespedes has set the bar pretty darn high, crushing 17 homers in the first round of the Home Run Derby.
Bryce Harper didn’t quite get to that level, but he showed well in his first-round hacks, hitting eight homers off pitches thrown by his dad, Ron.
Performing in his first home run derby since taking part in an aluminum bat showcase at Tropicana Field when he was 15 (the event that made Harper a YouTube sensation), Harper got off to a strong start tonight, roping a line drive homer on his first swing of the Derby.
He ended up with eight home runs, the longest of which traveled 471 feet. The average distance of the eight homers was 415 feet.
Harper is currently tied with Orioles slugger Chris Davis for second place behind Cespedes. He will advance to the second round of the Derby, where he’ll compete for one of the two spots in finals.
Interestingly enough, Ron Harper is throwing cut fastballs to his son, which is unusual. That’s not something you typically see during batting practice, but Bryce Harper is used to seeing cutters from his dad.
These two have done this drill thousands of times before. I’m pretty sure they have their set routine down pat, although it might be nice to see Dad throw a few more strikes in upcoming rounds.
It’ll be Cespedes, Harper, Davis and Michael Cuddyer moving on to the next round.
Update: Harper has earned a spot in the finals of the Home Run Derby, hitting eight more homers in the second round to give him 16 overall.
That total surpassed Cuddyer and Davis, meaning it’ll be Harper and Cespedes (whose 17 bombs in the first round were more than anyone else in two rounds combined) in the final round.
Harper homered on five of his first seven swings in the second round, and the Nationals’ 20-year-old outfielder will now represent the National League in a one-on-one battle against Cespedes.
Update II: Harper put on a show, making the finals in his first ever major league Home Run Derby and hitting eight homers in each round.
It just wasn’t enough to top the force that is Yoenis Cespedes.
Cespedes wins the 2013 Home Run Derby, topping Harper’s eight homers in the final round with nine of his own. The Athletics outfielder is known around the league for his impressive batting practice showcases, and he gave us all a taste of it tonight.
Harper showed well, but he won’t hoist the trophy this year. I have a feeling the 20-year-old will have a few more cracks at it in the future, however.