The 2019 Home Run Derby may have been the best Home Run Derby in history. Regardless of the outcome, this was a Derby for the ages. For most fans, the semifinals were the best part of the whole show. Performances from Joc Pederson and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. were the true spectacle of the night. Pete Alonso may have won the Derby but in the end, the fans were the real winners.
In the first round of the 2019 Home Run Derby, Joc Pederson went head to head with Alex Bregman. After launching 21 Home Run’s, Pederson came out victorious with Bregman only hitting 16 Home Run’s. Then, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. took on Matt Chapman. Chapman was a late fill in for the Derby as he took Christian Yelich’s spot. I don’t know if the outcome would have been different if Yelich participated or not because Guerrero Jr. put on an absolute smoke show. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a record 29 Home Run’s in the first round. The record was previously held by Josh Hamilton with 28 in the 2008 Home Run Derby.
On the other side of the bracket, Josh Bell faced Ronald Acuna Jr. Acuna Jr. bested Bell in their portion of the bracket. The eventual winner of the Derby, Pete Alonso faced hometown favorite, Carlos Santana. Santana did not fare too well in the Derby and was eliminated. So the stage was set. Joc Pederson VS Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Ronald Acuna Jr. VS Pete Alonso.
As I said before, the semifinals matchup of Guerrero Jr. and Pederson was truly amazing. For the first time in Home Run Derby history, the round went into triple overtime. Neither player missed a beat either. They were each matching each other, swing for swing. A true battle that everyone enjoyed watching. Both players combined to hit 79 Home Run’s as they aggressively dueled it out. At the very end, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. came out on top and was able to beat Joc Pederson to move onto the Final round.
This was Joc Pederson’s second Home Run Derby in his career. His first appearance was his rookie year in 2015 in Cincinnati when he lost to the hometown hero, Todd Frazier. I do think that Joc Pederson is made for the Home Run Derby. I believe that he will win the Derby at some point in his career, if he continues to participate. JOCPOP has what it takes to be a Home Run Derby Champion.
Although the biggest highlight of the night was, in my opinion, Vlad Jr. VS Joc, the Final round was entertaining. Pete Alonso bested Ronald Acuna Jr. in their round. For the Final round, Pete Alonso and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. squared off. As you can imagine, Vlad Jr. was starting to wear down but he still put up a fight. In the end, it was not enough to win the Derby. Pete Alonso walked away victorious as the 2019 Home Run Derby Champion.
Here is a fun, “Because baseball” fact for you readers: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit 91 Home Run’s in the Derby, crushing records by miles, but did not win the trophy. What can you do, right? With that being said, I hope to see Vlad Jr. in more Home Run Derby’s for years to come!