The Home Run Derby is over, and Giancarlo Stanton put on a show for the ages, bashing 61 home runs over three rounds to take the Derby crown away from defending champion Todd Frazier. Despite worthy challenges from White Sox third baseman Frazier and No. 1 seed Mark Trumbo of the Orioles, Stanton would not be denied in claiming his first Home Run Derby title, defeating all comers in the timed head-to-head showdown. The No. 5 seed, Stanton bashed a Derby-best 24 homers in the first round to rout the Mariners' Robinson Cano, then squeaked out a second-round win over Trumbo with 17 homers.
In the final, the Marlins' slugger faced the defending champion, who had downed the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez in Round 1 and the Reds' Adam Duvall in the semifinals, but Stanton made quick work of the last round, ripping 20 homers to Frazier's 13. All told, Stanton set a new record for most home runs in one Derby, shattering Bobby Abreu's 2005 record of 41, and hit just over five miles' worth of homers, including all 10 of the night's longest drives.
Below, revisit the night's festivities with Cliff Corcoran and Jay Jaffe, who offered their analysis and commentary on each round of action.
JJ: Stanton’s showing was as impressive as we’ve ever seen in a Home Run Derby, not just for quantity—61, or 20 more than the previous high total, admittedly under a different format—but also for distance, as 15 of his homers were of 480 feet or more, including three of 497 feet, and he routinely cleared the bonus-triggering 440-foot mark with majestic shot after majestic shot. The result was practically a perfect one for MLB, because for once, a marquee slugger withstood the hype and exceeded performance expectations. It would appear that the organizers have finally found a format that works well, too, and that keeps the event from becoming a three-hour slog. Hats off both to Stanton for winning and to MLB for finding a winning formula. Oh, and to me for picking the winner.
CC: I couldn't agree more, Jay. This derby was captivating from start to finish thanks the new format and the big sluggers all lived up to the hype. Stanton did what we've always wanted to see from him in this contest; Trumbo hit the second most total home runs in the first two rounds before Stanton eliminated him; and Frazier, who is proving to be an all-time Derby great, once again reached the finals. One interesting note: Frazier and Stanton were the only two non-All-Stars in the competition, and they were the two finalists, proving that both deserved to be there (not that there was much question about that).
Man, it's nice to have a Home Run Derby worth watching. Kudos to MLB for fixing it. Now to let the pitchers have one and to add some other skills competitions, such as catcher and outfielder throws and base running.
That does it four our live Derby coverage, but be sure to join us back here on Tuesday night as Jay and I live blog the All-Star Game. Goodnight everyone!
Todd Frazier (2) vs. Giancarlo Stanton (5)
CC: Reminder: Hitters get two timeouts in the finals, which are much needed at this point as they have taken a ton of swings, and their breaks between rounds have been much shorter.
JJ: By knocking off the No. 1 seed in the semifinals, Stanton helped to set up a dream Derby matchup, with the game’s top distance slugger against the event’s most consistent performer of late, in three-time finalist Frazier.
Stanton began the round with four quick homers in his first 40 seconds, including a 459-footer, but he added just two in the next 55 seconds before calling his first timeout. Over the next 99 seconds, he locked in, adding eight more, most of them to centerfield or left-center and four of which were at least 480 feet. After another timeout, he ran his total to 19, including his third 497-footer of the night. Needless to say, he reached his bonus round, but apart from homering on his first swing in the 30-second segment, he was unable to pad his total. In all, 14 of his 20 were of at least 440 feet, and seven went at least 480.
CC: Defending champion Frazier gave it a good run in the finals, but Stanton’s 20 home runs were just too many. Frazier hit the first pitch he saw 438 feet, but that was his longest home run of the round, and without that 30 seconds of bonus time, he had little chance. Frazier had just three home runs by the time he took his first timeout with 2:51 remaining. He went on a nice run after that, hitting seven home runs in 11 swings, but after four unsuccessful tries in a row, he called a second timeout, and he never got back in that groove.
There was a small bit of controversy in Frazier’s round as one of the kids shagging in the outfield appeared to prevent at least one of Frazier’s shots from clearing the leftfield wall. Indeed, during his first timeout, Frazier could be heard asking if that home run counted. It did not, and no replay was offered, but it proved irrelevant. Frazier finished seven shy of Stanton with 13.
When the smoke cleared, Stanton hit more home runs in the weakest of his three rounds (17 in the semifinals) than any other participant in this year’s Derby hit in any other round (Trumbo and Frazier both had rounds of 16). Stanton won this one going away, with the Derby largely playing out as expected: Frazier cruised through his weaker side of the bracket, and the winner of the second round’s Trumbo-Stanton showdown took the crown.
WINNER: Stanton (20) beats Frazier (13)
Mark Trumbo (1) vs. Giancarlo Stanton (5)
JJ: Based upon their first-round performances, the highly anticipated Stanton-Trumbo matchup appeared to carry the weight of the finals, given that the two sluggers produced the two highest first-round totals and the 14 longest homers. Stanton looked somewhat winded in the early going, however, hitting a string of ground balls and not homering for the first time until the 3:30 mark. Though he was hitting for distance, he had just six homers when he wisely took a timeout at the 2:21 mark, but he came back with a flurry that was both impressive and seemingly effortless, adding 11 more to left-center and centerfield in regulation time. One of them matched his Derby-leading 497 footer from the first round and 14—that's 14 of his 17—were of 440 feet or more, giving him the 30 seconds of bonus time that went for naught.
CC: Trumbo hit 16 home runs in the first round, just one shy of the total he needed to match Stanton in the second round, but it was not to be. Trumbo picked up his bonus time right away with shots of 464 and 455 feet on his second and third swings, but he seemed to have trouble getting lift on the ball at times, hitting a surprising number of ground balls and low liners. Still, he gave Stanton a good run. Trumbo had only six homers by the time he took his time-out with 2:05 remaining, but starting with his second swing after the time out, he hit three homers in a row to get up to nine with enough time left to close the gap. He didn’t hit home runs on consecutive swings for the remainder of his round, however.
After a 456-footer put Trumbo in double digits, he hit a grounder toward third, shook his head and took a half-step out of the box before remembering the clock was ticking. You could tell he was done at that point. Still, he managed 12 home runs in regulation and two more in his bonus time to finish with 14, more than anyone on the other side of the bracket hit in the first round—just not enough to beat the inhuman Stanton.
Fun fact: Stanton's 41 home runs through the first two rounds tie 2005 winner Bobby Abreu's record for the most ever in a single Derby. Stanton still has one more round to hit.
WINNER: Stanton (17) beats Trumbo (14)
Todd Frazier (2) vs. Adam Duvall (3)
JJ: Duvall hit a 380-foot drive to leftfield on his first swing but collected just two more in the first round, one of them a 342-footer that just cleared the wall in the leftfield corner. With a pull-happy approach, he emphasized efficiency and frequency rather than distance: Just four of his homers were of 400 feet or more, with a long of 435, but the lack of carry meant getting more swings in, and while he fouled a couple of balls off the Western Metal building, he didn’t go more than two swings without a homer. He waited until 1:08 to take his timeout and came back strong, with five homers over the final stretch, and while he didn’t get any bonus time, he left Frazier needing to match the second-highest showing of the Derby to beat him.
CC: Past and present Reds Frazier and Duvall proved to be a compelling matchup in the second round. Both took more of a steady, pull-heavy, line-drive approach, hitting home runs consistently but not spectacularly. Needing 16 to eliminate Duvall, Frazier hit just one home run in his first five swings, then hit three in a row, including two of 445 feet to earn him bonus time he wouldn't need. He the struggled again, hitting just one in his next six swings, cursing to himself on an opposite-field shot that fell short.
Then the hammer dropped. Frazier homered on seven of his next nine swings, including four in a row, to get to 12 with 1:30 left. After his timeout, his first four swings were unproductive, but the three after brought him into a tie with Duvall. After popping a ball up to center with the clock ticking down, he won the round with a line drive down the leftfield line that just made it over the low wall, a 347-foot laser, to become the first player since Sammy Sosa in 2000–02 to make the Derby finals three years in a row.
WINNER: Frazier (16) beats Duvall (15)
Mark Trumbo (1) vs. Corey Seager (8)
JJ: After homering on his second swing, Seager struggled to get a second homer on the board, looking all too pull-happy and leaving some balls well short of the fences during his first minute. He hit just three homers in his first 15 swings. But once he began to use a bit more of the right-center area, found a groove and unleashed a flurry of homers, finishing regulation time with 12, including 449 and 454 footers, enough to unlock the bonus time,. He added three more in those 30 seconds and finished with an impressive 15.
CC: The revamped Derby format paid off immediately. After Seager started things off with 15 home runs, matching the top single-round total from last year’s Derby, Trumbo looked to be in trouble. In his first two minutes and 45 seconds, Trumbo managed just eight home runs. Then, with 1:15 left on the clock and an extra 30 seconds of bonus time to work with, Trumbo took his timeout.
When Trumbo's round resumed, he hit eight straight home runs to eliminate Seager without even dipping into his bonus time. Trumbo’s post-timeout flurry was a jaw-dropping barrage of towering shots with the clock ticking down, including a 479-foot shot that stands as the longest of the matchup. It was a thrilling performance and set a new single-round record under the new format, eliminating Seager, who had tied the previous record. Who ever thought one could have ones pulse quickened by a Home Run Derby.
WINNER: Trumbo (16) beats Seager (15)
Robinson Cano (4) vs. Giancarlo Stanton (5)
JJ: Stanton came out with an impressive barrage, homering on his first two swings, including a 497-footer on his second one. Forty-five seconds in, he clinched the bonus round with a 473 footer. He hit 12 before calling a timeout at the 1:59 mark; six were at least 440 feet—scoreboard-threatening shots, as well as line drives into the second deck.
Even despite running out of gas and temporarily losing his form a bit during the final minute of regulation time, Stanton finished with 22 in the four-minute regulation round, of which at least 13 were 440 feet or longer. He added just two more in the bonus round, but in all, he put on quite a show.
CC: You hate to say that Cano had no chance to top Stanton’s outburst in the first round, but Cano had no chance to top Stanton’s outburst in the first round. He hit just three in his first two minutes, took a timeout with 1:54 remaining and added four more in his remaining time. He didn’t hit a home run longer than 424 feet, however, until his final 20 seconds, and became the first player in this year’s Derby to fail to earn his bonus time and the first to fail to reach double digits, finishing with seven. Cano finished strong with home runs of 452 and 433 feet, but that one was over before it started. For the third time since winning the Derby in 2011, Cano is out after the first round.
Well, that side of the bracket went roughly as expected. We've got our Stanton-Trumbo showdown for Round 2. Now to see how things work out on the other side.
WINNER: Stanton (24) beats Cano (7)
Adam Duvall (3) vs. Wil Myers (6)
JJ: Resident Padre Myers homered on his first two swings but didn’t add his third until the three-minute mark. At one point, his brother even plunked him, and his pace was relatively languid—not that he had to compete directly with Stanton, Trumbo and Seager. Myers had just six by the two-minute mark and seven when he took his timeout at 1:14. He finished with 10, only two of which even went 420 feet, with a long of 431. On the whole, he just took way too long between swings and seemed to lack the urgency of the other contestants thus far. This wasn’t Todd Frazier at Great American Ballpark last year.
CC: Duvall needed just two and a half minutes to knock hometown hero Myers out of this year’s Derby, swinging with ruthless efficiency and peppering the leftfield stands with line drives from a smooth, compact stroke. The Louisville Slugger hit his 11 home runs on, by my count, 20 pitches, hitting four in a row early on to get on the board. Duvall’s longest shot was just 429 feet, the shortest top distance by any of the first six hitters, but they could have taken 30 seconds off his time and he still would have beaten Myers with a minute to spare.
After six hitters, we've had just three earn the bonus time, and only two of them used it. With Frazier and Gonzalez remaining, I'd expect only Gonzalez to earn that bonus, keeping it at half of the field.
WINNER: Duvall (11) beats Myers (10)
Todd Frazier (2) vs. Carlos Gonzalez (7)
JJ: Gonzalez’s first homer went 449 feet, but he added just two more in the first minute and a half, hitting a flurry of ground balls and short flies that kept the ball-chasing kids entertained, at least. it seemed as though he could have stood to be more pull-happy, as so many of his drives went towards centerfield. His fifth homer, just before the two-minute mark, was another 449-footer that unlocked the bonus round. He didn’t really find a great groove until the one-minute mark, when he reeled off four quick ones, but couldn’t add to that in the final 20 seconds, finishing with 12. He took the collar during the bonus time, leaving himself vulnerable for the defending champion.
CC: Frazier needed 13 home runs to eliminate Gonzalez in the first round, which is exactly how many he averaged per round in the process of winning last year’s Derby. This year, with his brother again throwing for him, Frazier came out with an extreme pull stroke and hit just one home run in his first seven swings, but slowly and steadily began to creep up on Gonzalez after that. By the time he took his timeout with 2:13 remaining on the clock, he had seven home runs, and while his first four post-break swings failed to produce a home run, his fifth launched the ball 446 feet, earning him 30 seconds of bonus time.
Frazier wouldn’t need the extra time. He tied Gonzalez with 23 seconds remaining and beat him with a 407-foot shot to left-center with 15 seconds remaining on his initial four minutes. He’ll now face former teammate Duvall in the second round, having hit more first-round home runs than any other hitter on his side of the bracket.
WINNER: Frazier (13) beats Gonzalez (12)
Cliff Corcoran: Welcome to SI.com’s live blog of the 31st annual Home Run Derby. We’re very excited for this year’s Derby, as it not only includes a fantastic field of eight of the game’s top sluggers, but also finds MLB retaining the simplified rules put in place last year when bad weather forced the league to streamline the Derby. With the hitters competing head-to-head in a single-elimination bracket—with each limited to four minutes per round, one timeout and just one potential 30 second time bonus—last year’s Derby was the most exciting and rewarding since the contest was first broadcast in 1993.
Those rules all remain in place this year, with the distance requirement for the 30-second bonus being pushed back from two home runs of 425 feet to two of 440 feet or more. In spacious Petco Park’s thick, sea air, that distance is no gimme, even for this talented field of sluggers, which should make that bonus less of an automatic than it seemed to be last year.
Jay, who’s your pick to win this thing?
Jay Jaffe: Looking over the field, my pick to win it is Giancarlo Stanton. He's had a rough season thus far, but he's heated up lately and looked a lot more like himself lately. He's the distance king of the Statcast era, with an average of 418.3 feet per shot. Small sample size-wise, he's homered five times in 60 plate appearances at Petco Park, 35 of which produced contact—a 14.3% rate, more than double that of Wil Myers (6.9%) and Carlos Gonzalez (4.3%), both admittedly in larger sample sizes. None of the other participants has more than two homers at Petco.
I do wish Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were participating in this. One of these years, perhaps we'll get them both. Beyond that, I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised that MLB resisted the temptation to go back to their planned five-minute rounds and a bonus time structure that would have confused an IRS accountant. The four-minute rounds and simplified bonus structure worked well, and made for the most entertaining Derby from start to finish.
CC: I'm thrilled to see Stanton back in the Derby. His only previous participation was in 2014, when he put on a show in the first round, hitting a 510-foot shot that nearly left Target Field, but he put up a goose egg in the second round and missed the final.
I'm going with Mark Trumbo as my winner. He's not only the major league home run leader with 28, but he also had a more impressive showing in his only previous Derby, that coming in Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium in 2012. Trumbo failed to make the finals in that Derby, but he pushed Jose Bautista to a second-round swing-off and hit 13 homers in that Derby to Stanton's six in 2014. Both hitters have been red-hot of late, however.
Unfortunately, the bracket is set up so that Stanton and Trumbo cannot meet in the finals, but I do expect them to go head-to-head in the second round. The winner should face Todd Frazier, last year's champion who has been in the finals each of the last two years and would become the first player to reach the finals three years in a row since Sammy Sosa from 2000 to '02 if he were to get there again tonight.
JJ: The other thing I’ll add about Stanton is that in the past season and a half, he’s got 13 drives of 440 feet or more—the bonus threshold. CarGo leads all comers with 15, but 13 of those have come at Coors Field, and we’re just about at sea level tonight.
CC: Gonzalez did have a 443-foot homer in Petco earlier this year, but that was his longest road home run of the season and just barely over the threshold.
JJ: That’s the longest Statcast era homer at Petco from any of tonight’s participants. Of the others, Myers’s top is 437.5 feet, Frazier's is 417.8, Trumbo's is 412.5 and Cano's is 386.7. None for Stanton, Duvall or Seager.
CC: Fall Out Boy performing a bro anthem quoting Susan Vega's "Tom's Diner" is ... really about as much as I could expect here. What does this add to the Home Run Derby other than the stench of desperation, again?
Sam Jackson reciting alliterative doggerel over grainy, slow-motion footage of Home Run Derbies from this century. Do we really need to pretend this is some mythic battle of "colossi?" It's just fun to watch dudes hit homers. Let's not force it to be anything else.
While I'm in cranky-old-man mode, those official Derby socks from MLB's new official sock provider, Stance, look cheap and ugly. MLB is trending in the right direction with striped stirrups making a comeback, but those socks, and those worn by Oakland's Khris Davis, have no place as part of a major league uniform.
JJ: In addition to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, Dave Winfield should get a chance to take his hacks as a wild-card entry—along with Bartolo Colon, of course.