The derby had it all last night; suspenseful finishes, hometown energy, and the dominance of the game’s newest prolific power hitter. Aaron Judge walked away the new Home Run King in what was one of the most exciting displays of talent we’ve ever seen in the Home Run Derby.
The first round brought us the two most exciting matchups of the night: Gary Sanchez vs Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Judge vs Justin Bour. Sanchez and Stanton provided an exciting matchup, as Sanchez put on a show (17 HRs), proving to Logan Morrison and all the other haters that he did belong in the derby.
Stanton followed with a slow start, but caught fire in the middle of the round, as he and his pitcher seemed to be working much quicker than the competition. He tired, though, coming up just short with 16 HRs. It was disappointing to many people, myself included, to see Stanton eliminated so early. Not only because of his home run hitting prowess, but also because of the possibility of a Judge vs Stanton match-up. Stanton advancing would’ve energized the home town crowd, too.
Stanton’s lesser known, oft overlooked teammate, Justin Bour, put on an amazing performance, blasting 22 HRs in the first round. He really put his stamp on the competition when he inhaled a donut during his timeout, though, showing that Team Fat Guy wasn’t to be messed with. The crowd was electric watching Bour, and I think most casual fans can’t help but love him after last night’s act.
Unfortunately, for those of us who fell in love with Bour over that 4:30 stretch, Aaron Judge demolished 23 HRs, stealing the show.
Judge was untouchable and uncontested the rest of the night, crushing four 500+ foot HRs en route to his first HR Derby title. Lost in the fray of roof scraping, window denting HRs was Judge’s ability to muscle balls out to right field. While Sanchez, Stanton, Bour, and Sano displayed power to their pull side, Judge set himself apart as the only guy who could clear the opposite field fence on less than perfect contact.
This Home Run Derby win will likely be the first of many for young Aaron Judge.