By: Aaron Shariq
The 2017 Home Run Derby did not disappoint. Aaron Judge ultimately took home the trophy but the journey to the championship was a fun one to watch with some exciting matchups. The first round supplied plenty of excitement, last second victories and Home Run Derby drama.
The Giancarlo Stanton vs Aaron Judge championship matchup was spoiled early as Stanton was defeated in his first matchup against Gary Sanchez. Stanton mounted a great comeback after a slow start but ultimately his high popups cost him too much time as the clock hit zero with Stanton still trailing by one homerun. Charlie Blackmon managed to square the ball up very well and impress in his first-round effort cracking out 14 homeruns but it wasn’t enough as Cody Bellinger sent the winning homerun over the wall with five seconds left on the clock.
The most exciting matchup of the night took place between Justin Bour and Judge in the first round. Bour got the Miami crowd on their feet with 22 homeruns, the second highest total for a round through the entire Derby. Teammate Stanton had a little fun with Bour feeding him a doughnut during his timeout. Usually 22 homeruns would be more than enough but it wasn’t against 6’7’’ Judge who went deep 23 times in the round, including a 501-ft. bomb over the Marlins’ Homerun Sculpture.
After the first round the Home Run Derby became more of a formality as each of the following matchups were easily won with plenty of time left on the clock. Judge delivered big time, hitting multiple 500+ft. homeruns with what seemed like an effortless swing. Judge even managed to hit the ceiling in the Marlins Park which for some crazy reason did not count as a home run!
Judge is an up and coming star who already has 30 homeruns at the half-way point this season. It will be interesting to see if Judge can defend his crown with a repeat next season.