Should Cespedes participate in Home Run Derby?
Yoenis Cespedes has 15 home runs in 75 games this year. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Yoenis Cespedes, who told CSNCalifornia.com back on May 28 that he hoped to participate in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star Break, has had his wish granted.
[REWIND: Cespedes wants to compete in HR Derby]
The slugging left fielder, whose 15 home runs are tied for the team lead, was the wild card selection picked Tuesday to join the American League team that will be captained by the New York Yankees' Robinson Cano (20 homers) and join Baltimore's Chris Davis (a major league-leading 33) and Detroit's Prince Fielder (15).
"Quisiera," Cespedes said in Spanish back in May. I wish.
"It would be an honor to be at the All-Star Game and take part in the Home Run Derby."
The inclusion of Cespedes should shine a brighter light on a first-place club stung by the relative lack of All-Star selections.
Cespedes will join Oakland teammate Bartolo Colon for the festivities in New York, though the right-hander will be ineligible to pitch in the Midsummer Classic if he starts Sunday's series finale against Boston, as scheduled. If that is the case, it would open a roster spot for the game that could conceivably go to A's closer Grant Balfour, who who has saved a franchise-record 41 consecutive games, including 23 of 23 this season.
The last A's player to participate in the Home Run Derby, though, was Jason Giambi in 2001 and Cespedes will be the sixth Oakland hitter to do it, along with Jose Canseco in 1986 and 1990, Mark McGwire in 1987, 1990, 1992, 1996 and 1997, Ruben Sierra in 1999 and Giambi. McGwire is the only one to have won it, in 1992 at San Diego.
Cespedes, 27, is the fourth contestant not named an All-Star to participate, joining Rafael Palmeiro (2004), Hee-Seop Choi (2005) and Ryan Howard (2007). Ten of Cespedes' homers have come on the road, which ranks eighth in the league, and he has three two-homer games, at Milwaukee on June 4, in Chicago on June 6 and at Seattle on June 21.
The National League derby team is comprised of the New York Mets' David Wright (13 homers), Washington's Bryce Harper (13) and Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez (NL-leading 24) and Michael Cuddyer (15).
While this year's derby is Monday at CitiField at 5 p.m. PT, the A.L. won the team title last year, 61-21, in Kansas City and Fielder won the individual title.