Cincinnati’s 3rd baseman and power-hitter Todd Frazier is the 2015 Home Run Derby Champion. After coming in 2nd in last year’s competition, this year’s turned out much better for Frazier in front of his hometown crowd. The new format, which includes timed rounds and a bracket format (similar to basketball playoffs), had to be modified with inclement weather on its way to the Southwestern Ohio area by 11:00 pm.
In the first round, Albert Pujols (LAA) defeated the rookie Kris Bryant (CHC) 10-9; Joc Pederson (LAD) over Manny Machado (BAL) 13-12; Josh Donaldson (TOR) over Anthony Rizzo (9-8); and Frazier over Prince Fielder (TEX) 14-13. In that round, the losing player set the standard using up their allotted 4 minutes (shortened down from 5 due to the weather) and 30 seconds of bonus time for hitting at least 2 home runs over 425 feet (modified down from 60 seconds for a home run over 475 feet).
The next round Donaldson lost to Frazier 10-9, and Pujols lost to the rookie Pederson 12-11. In the only exception bracket, Pujols went second and fell short to Pederson. Great side story: Pederson’s older brother has Downs’ Syndrome and knew Pujols from his foundation’s many outreaches to kids like him (among the Pujols family’s many philanthropic endeavors), even calling him his favorite player other than his brother; but Pederson’s brother was a firm believer that his little brother had it “in the bag”, and he was right. At least in that round.
And in the final round, it was the young Pederson against the crowd’s obvious favorite Frazier. Pederson set the standard high at 14 home runs, which Frazier then tied right before regular time was up. On the first hit of bonus time, Frazier got his 15th home run to win the championship title.
A really great show over all, plus sponsor Head & Shoulders donated over $80,000 to the RBI charity (Reviving Baseball in the Inner City), that helps provide funds for equipment and uniforms and the like for little leagues in need across the U.S. And while I can see how the new system worked pretty well, I still don’t know if I’m totally sold on it. I don’t know if it’s the clock or the bracket system, but I’m not at 100% yet. It feels like there’s still some bugs to work out in the system, though it does keep things interested (beating the clock to build crowd energy and to keep the broadcast to a more manageable time frame).
And if it makes you Yankee fans feel any better, Frazier is technically a New Jersey native who grew up a Yankees (and Jeter) fan.
Today began with press conferences with the players and the media, and then off to the field for team warm-ups in their ASG uniforms (the only time they will ever wear them, as they take the field tomorrow night in their regular team uniform). Tomorrow, the players will participate in the annual Red Carpet Parade and then head to the field again to prepare for the game. Tomorrow night’s starting pitchers will be Dallas Keuchel (HOU) for the AL and Zack Greinke (LAD) for the NL. Expect to see Gardner and Teixeira in the second half of the game, and Betances may get an inning (or partial inning) towards the end of the game depending on how the scoring is going.
While the Red Carpet parade will happen about lunch time in Cincinnati (and lasts for a couple hours with 68 players and their families and other MLB dignitaries on display and many making media appearances), they will broadcast the edited version (basic overview of the players and the best of the interviews or the ones with the major stars of the game) at 3:00 pm EST on MLB Network. The All-Star Game will then broadcast on FOX at 8:00 pm EST.