Alright boys and girls, you know what day it is. It’s time for one of the greatest spectacles of physical power in all of modern sports. It’s the day in which eight of the largest men in baseball jettison little white balls into orbit as thousands of fans with gloves knock each other over in an attempt to catch one. What did those poor baseballs ever do to deserve this punishment? You know what day it is. Tonight at 8 is the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby.
The past two years, I’ve been tantalizingly close to predicting all seven rounds correctly. Basically, I’m the Washington sports of home run derby predictions – really good up until the end when it counts and then I just can’t seal the deal. Two years ago, I had everything down to the final round but picked the wrong winner (why did I pick against the hometown hero Todd Frazier??). Last year, I picked against Frazier again, this time in the second round, and was once again proven incorrect. Do not fear! The Toddfather will not be participating this year! Does that mean I might get them all right? Who knows – it’s all a crapshoot anyway. Because it’s the day of the derby, and you’ll probably only look at the names I bold as the winners, I’ll keep this more brief than in previous years. Predictions are bolded. Let’s dig in.
The Park – Marlins Park
This monstrosity of a baseball stadium is as cavernous as it gets. Criticized for its deep fences, they actually brought the fences in a few feet to help the batters.
It’s 340′ down the left field line, 335′ down the right field line, 407′ to center and about 390′ to the gaps. It’s going to take some muscle, but when the baseball is coming in at 50 MPH and it’s being thrown right down the pipe every time, it’s not as difficult as hitting a Clayton Kershaw curveball over the fence.
Giancarlo Stanton vs. Gary Sanchez
I’m not even going to waste the time breaking this down. I’m picking Stanton, and maybe everyone in the world except those Yankee fans will pick him too. Honestly, if he doesn’t make it out of the first round I’ll be more sad/disappointed than mad. It’s his home park, everyone in the world has basically been waiting for this since they announced the ASG would be in Miami, and it’s his time to shine. Gary, don’t do this to the city.
Mike Moustakas vs. Miguel Sano
We talked about it on our last podcast, but this is a total toss-up. Neither player has ever hit a home run at Marlins Park, so there’s not much precedent. Sano shows a lot of raw power, but Moustakas is a lefty. Head says Sano, gut says Moustakas. I have a feeling this is the one I will regret, but Stanton will take care of this winner anyway.
Aaron Judge vs. Justin Bour
Dear Mr. Justin, baseball fans around the world are tuning in tonight to watch Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge duke it out. They are almost carbon copies of each other physically, and this event has been hyped all year as both sluggers meet their match. Yes, you’re a Marlin hitting in front of your home crowd as well. But please, just give us Judge and Stanton. plz. The world’s pretty crazy right now, this is the least you could do. Thanks!
Cody Bellinger vs. Charlie Blackmon
I’ve had a chance to watch Cody play a lot this summer by virtue of the fact that the Dodgers are on the West Coast and they’re playing when my games finish. Charlie Blackmon has also just been absolutely tearing it up. I think if Bellinger doesn’t try to do too much, he gets it done. It would not surprise me in the least to see Blackmon move on if Bellinger starts over-swinging or trying too hard.
Giancarlo Stanton vs. Mike Moustakas
Let’s cut to the chase: this is Stanton’s contest to lose. I’m picking him all the way at home, and to defend his title from last year. Stanton all the way.
Aaron Judge vs. Cody Bellinger
I’m really hoping Judge doesn’t blow it, and I don’t think he will. Judge moves on to the final round and gives the world the championship round they have been pleading to witness.
Giancarlo Stanton vs. Aaron Judge
If this really is the final round, and if it’s as good as we’re anticipating it will be in the first couple rounds, this could be one of the more exciting derbies ever. Stanton hit 61 home runs last year, and he’ll defend his title in his home park. BUCKLE UP!
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Let’s hope this derby is as good as everyone is predicting it will be.