You remember how the Home Run Derby used to be? There were multiple rounds where every player had a set number of outs to jack as many dongs as possible. It was boring. No one really liked it.
Around 2014 MLB changed up the rules. Instead of rounds, there were head-to-head matchups. It was a successful change. It sped up the derby and added another competitive element to the affair. The following year baseball made another change: instead of hitters have a certain number of outs to work with, he would now have a time limit. While a clock does not really feel like “baseball” exactly, it does eliminate all the boring parts of the derby and increase all the fun parts. Hitters just swing away at almost everything. The whole event is now intense and well-paced and just enjoyable. I think former VEB site manager Dan Moore summed it up best when discussing the derby Monday evening: ”The derby went from being an unwatchable thing I wish I enjoyed to something I just left work early for.”
This year’s derby was great once again. The first round had Matt Chapman square off against Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Vlad advanced with Derby Record 29 home runs to Chapman’s 13.
Joc Pederson made it past Alex Bregman 21 homers to 16. Pete Alonzo just beat Carlos Santana 14 homers to 13. Ronald Acuna Jr. hit 25 home runs in the first round to get past Josh Bell.
In the semi-finals Guerrero Jr. and Pederson faced off in an epic battle. After 79 homers — with bonus time, a tie-breaker, and not one, but two swingoffs, Guerrero made it past Pederson 40 homers to 39.
Alonso defeated Acuña Jr. 20 home runs to 19.
BEST DERBY OF ALL TIME! Don’t @ me!— Enrique Hernández (@kikehndez) July 9, 2019
The finals put the two rookies against each other. Guerrero went first, belting 22 home runs.
Alonso needed 23 to walk off the Home Run Derby.
I think it is important to note here that Alonso as the higher seed was always hitting second. A lot has been said about how he won without hitting the most home runs over all the rounds. That is true, but not exactly fair since his round would end after he passed his opponent. The final numbers are a bit deceiving. Vlad Jr. did steal the show, though!
Overall, everything rocked. The Home Run Derby is awesome now.
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