Slugging participants snakebit?
Is there a Home Run Derby curse?
Sure seems like it. There's no other way to explain the post-Derby performances of the eight participants.
Yoenis Cespedes, who put on a quite a show to win the competition at Citi Field on July 15, missed Oakland's first four games after the All-Star break with a sore wrist. Yes, a sore wrist. Did he hurt it while crushing 32 homers — 17 in the first round — in the Derby?
Cespedes, who returned to the lineup on Tuesday and has played just four of the A's eight games since the break, is 2 for 12 (.167) with one extra-base hit since his trophy-winning performance.
Meanwhile, home run leader Chris Davis hasn't hit one since that Monday night in New York. The Baltimore Orioles first baseman and his 37 first-half homers were all the hype heading into the break. But since the Derby — where he was eliminated in the second round — Davis is homerless in eight consecutive games despite his major league-leading total. He's batting .219 (7 for 32) with three extra-base hits after the All-Star break.
What about Derby runner-up Bryce Harper?
At least the Washington Nationals phenom hit one homer, a walk-off blast in Thursday's win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Before that game-winner, he was batting .263 (5 for 19) with just one extra-base hit in the second half, but has bumped his post-break average to .310.
Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez and the New York Mets' David Wright have two homers apiece since the Derby, but they didn't take as many cuts, failing to advance past the first round. Plus, Alvarez has nothing to brag about, batting a measly .194 since the All-Star Game.
Could some of these sluggers be following in the footsteps of former major leaguer Bobby Abreu?
Abreu had one of the biggest drop-offs in HR Derby history after winning the contest in 2005. The Phillies outfielder hit .307 with 18 homers in the first half of the '05 season. After the Derby? .260 with just six homers.
Here's how the 2013 Derby participants have fared since the break. Everyone has played eight games except for Wright (nine) and Cespedes (four).
(All stats through Friday; XBH — extra-base hits)
Cespedes: 2 for 12 (.167), 0 HR, 0 XBH — (15 HRs in first half)
Davis: 7 for 32 (.219), 0 HR, 3 XBH — (37)
Yankees' Robinson Cano: 8 for 30 (.267), 0 HR, 2 XBH — (21)
Cuddyer: 9 for 26 (.346), 0 HR, 3 XBH — (16)
Detroit's Prince Fielder: 7 for 30 (.233), 1 HR, 1 XBH — (16)
Harper: 9 for 29 (.310), 1 HR, 3 XBH — (13)
Alvarez: 6 for 32 (.194), 2 HR, 2 XBH — (24)
Wright: 11 for 37 (.297), 2 HR, 3 XBH — (13)