I sat down about an hour before the derby with Baseball Tonight on the TV and my laptop in front of me ready to write a new article. After contemplating what to write about, a new idea came to mind. What if I wrote about the derby as it happened? I instantly liked the idea as it seemed to be something new and different. So, that’s exactly what this article is. I hope you enjoy reading my take on the home run derby and hopefully you enjoy reading something different than your typical article.
The day of the derby I entered into the perfect bracket challenge with the MLB app to see if I could conquer the task of predicting a perfect bracket. So, take a look below to see my predictions.
Matt Chapman vs Vladimir Guerrero Jr: Vladimir Guerrero Jr
Alex Bregman vs Joc Peterson: Alex Bregman
Pete Alonso vs Carlos Santana: Pete Alonso
Josh Bell vs Ronald Acuna Jr: Josh Bell
Vladimir Guerrero Jr vs Alex Bregman: Alex Bregman
Pete Alonso vs Josh Bell: Josh Bell
Alex Bregman vs Josh Bell: Josh Bell
When making my selections I didn’t factor in too much analysis as I based it more off of mechanics and physical size. As this method of player evaluation is usually something I don’t endorse, this method is the one I chose when making my selections. In years past I have seen that to be the biggest factor leading to success in the home run derby. The only exception to that rule is Alex Bregman. I have him going so far in my bracket because of his past experience and success in the home run derby just last year. Yes, he was knocked out in the first round in 2018 but it was to Kyle Schwarber, who was built for home run derbys.
Joc Pederson started the night with a bang. By totaling 21 home runs, I knew my bracket was busted in the first match up. Still though, an amazing performance to see and he looks like he may be the favorite now to win tonight. Alex Bregman did have a positive showing but it is very difficult to compete with 21 home runs.
When Vlad Jr. stepped up to the plate for the first round, I was excited to see what the kid could do. He didn’t disappoint either and forget what I said about Joc. Vlad Jr. is from another planet. He finished with 29 home runs and broke the record for the most home runs in a round ever in the history of the home run derby! As Karl Ravech said, “This is a coming out party for him.” It certainly was too. I can’t believe at the age of 20 this kid hit 29 home runs in the first round.
On a quick side note, I really liked the use of statcast measurements during the derby. The fact is, ESPN has a separate televised version of the derby that was labeled “Statcast Version” seen on ESPN 2. I think that is great for the game and gives fans the ability to learn more about those stats and can help to grow the game of baseball.
I was very surprised by Ronald Acuna Jr’s first round performance as I didn’t expected him, to perform so well. Truly, I don’t think anyone expected him to beat Josh Bell in the first round. After all, Bell was the favorite to win the derby.
The final match up in the first round was one that didn’t live up to the others we had seen so far. With a big decrease in home runs, I don’t think many expected Pete Alonso or Carlos Santana to be towards the bottom of home runs hit in the first round.
I am speechless after watching Vlad Jr and Joc face off in a double swing off matchup. Vlad Jr. broke the record he had set just minutes earlier by hitting 40 home runs in the second round and absolutely obliterating the 29 home runs he hit in the first round. That match up literally will go down as one of the greatest moments in baseball history and the best moment in the history of the home run derby. I just feel fortunate that I was able to watch it as it happened.
The second match up didn’t disappoint either. Pete Alonso showed up to compete and showed some raw emotion as he walked off Acuna Jr. to make it to the finals. As I write this, the championship round is yet to start and I know it’s gonna be a great finish.
As the arguably best home run derby in the history of Major League Baseball came to a close, it was time to crown a winner. Two rookies facing off on a historic night. What else could you ask for? Honestly, I wanted Vlad Jr. to win with such a historic night that he had, but Pete Alonso had other plans. A walk off win was the best way to finish the night and one that will always be remembered. What an amazing night for the game of baseball and a night that will go down as one of the best moments in MLB history.