For a number of years, we would see a player put on a show at the Home Run Derby, and then fall flat in the second half of the season. It is most likely because of this, that Billy Beane told A’s beat writer Susan Slusser yesterday, “It wouldn’t upset me if [Cespedes] pulled a Rocky Marciano and ‘retired’ undefeated.” According to Slusser, Beane also said that the choice is ultimately up to Cespedes. This begs the question, should Yoenis Cespedes participate in the Home Run Derby?
Here are the stats for the last 5 Derby winners, starting with their number before the break, followed by their production afterwards.
According to these stats, the Home Run Derby has not had a big impact on recent Derby winners. In the case of Cespedes, he actually improved his batting average by nearly 40 points.
There are other arguments to be had, however. Will the increased exposure to Cespedes cause his price tag to go too high for the Athletics? Yes, his price tag would go up. On the other hand, the exposure could land him more promotional opportunities, and with that extra cash flow, could actually help the A’s re-sign him if he is serious about staying in Oakland.
Assuming Cespedes performs well again, there would be more focus on the Athletics on a nightly basis. The A’s have the best record in baseball. Couple that with a Home Run Derby darling, and networks will be searching for a ratings boom. Wouldn’t being under the microscope hurt the Athletics? It could, but if this team lets that hinder their great season, then they sure aren’t ready for the playoffs.
Finally, what do you think about Yoenis Cespedes competing in the Home Run Derby?