A’s should want Cespedes back in the Home Run Derby 

click to enlarge Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes put on a show at the Home Run Derby last year, but their are concerns about him participating again. - KATHY WILLENS/2013 AP FILE PHOTO
  • Kathy Willens/2013 AP file photo
  • Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes put on a show at the Home Run Derby last year, but their are concerns about him participating again.

The A's have made it about as clear as possible that they'd prefer Yoenis Cespedes take a pass on defending his 2013 title in this month's All-Star Home Run Derby in Minnesota.

What they haven't been real clear on is why, although the reasons are obvious. There are only two "cons" to HR Derby participation: injury risk and a jacked up hack. Both are legitimate concerns.

Cespedes did suffer a wrist injury after the All-Star break, and while it didn't come to light until a batting-practice session the week after the Derby, nobody can say with certainty that (a) Cespedes didn't feel wrist pain immediately after the Derby but kept it quiet as long as he could to try to eliminate any linkage between the events, or (b) the immeasurable stress put on the wrist by so many ungodly violent swings in such a relatively short span -- emphasis, relatively; the Derby still takes waaaaaaaay too long to complete -- simply took some time to manifest.

As for the jacked-up hack theory, consider that Cespedes batted .225 and averaged a home run every 5.27 games played before the Derby, and batted .261 with a homer every 5.09 games thereafter.

It all explains quite nicely why Billy Beane and Bob Melvin haven't verbalized their specific concerns regarding Cespedes and the Derby. This is an organization so dependent on statistical probability and quantifiables that former pitching coach Rick Peterson once summed up the club's general philosophy thusly: "In God we trust. All others must have data."

Peterson, of course, borrowed that quote from the late world-renowned statistician, W. Edwards Deming.

Interestingly, though, Deming also is credited with having said this: "The most important things cannot be measured." It's interesting because the A's seems to dismiss virtually everything that can't be measured -- such as good team chemistry, which Beane has repeatedly brushed off as a by-product of winning.

The only thing measurable in regards to Cespedes' 2013 Derby experience was the distance of his 32 rockets. It makes the Derby, to the A's, nothing more than an unknown to fear.

Let it go, boys. Fun can't really be measured, either, and here we're in complete agreement with Mr. Deming. It's the Home Run Derby, man. Fun is the most important thing.

About The Author

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban has been covering Bay Area sports for 25 years and has worked for MLB.com, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and KNBR (680 AM).
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