Bryce Harper defeated Kyle Schwarber in a thrilling final to win the 2018 MLB Home Run Derby at Nationals Park. It was a special night for the hometown star, who needed bonus time to get the 19 home runs necessary to topple the Cubs outfielder in the title round.
Schwarber also had a special night himself with the second-most homers ever in a single Derby. He smacked 21 homers in an incredible semifinal effort to eliminate Rhys Hoskins, and it made it difficult for Harper in the final by putting up 18 more homers. Only Giancarlo Stanton in 2016 has recorded more homers in a single competition.
Here’s a look back at the fun night in D.C.
Final: Harper def. Schwarber, 19-18
- Harper seemed to be in trouble for a bit there, but he absolutely came alive in the final minute with the crowd behind him to hit 18 homers before the end of normal time. That gave him 30 seconds to hit one homer with bonus time, which he did without strain. Harper wins the Home Run Derby with 19 home runs in the final and 45 home runs overall.
- You could tell Schwarber was straining a bit with his endurance by the end, but he still used that sweet swing to muster 18 home runs in the final round. That gives Schwarber a total of 55 homers for the night, which is the second-most ever in a single Home Run Derby performance behind Giancarlo Stanton in 2016.
Semifinal: Harper def. Muncy, 13-12
Average distance: 415 feet
Longest homer: 454 feet
Average exit velocity: 107.6 mph
Average distance: 409 feet
Longest homer: 429 feet
Average exit velocity: 104.4 mph
- Harper brought the noise again by knocking out Muncy with 13 home runs before the end of his time. Muncy couldn’t repeat his performance from the first round by mustering just 12 home runs in the semis.
Semifinal: Schwarber def. Hoskins, 21-20
Average distance: 426 feet
Longest homer: 462 feet
Average exit velocity: 106.6 mph
Average distance: 413 feet
Longest homer: 466 feet
Average exit velocity: 102.6 mph
- Schwarber was always going to need to go all out in order to reach a blackjack in just four minutes, AND THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HE DID. Twenty-one homers in the four-minute interval, even though he had the bonus time if needed. Man. 21 home runs.
- It’s going to take a monster performance from Hoskins for Schwarber to have any chance of reaching the final. Hoskins smashed 19 homers in regular time, earned the bonus, then finished with the best single-round result of the night yet: 20 home runs.
Round 1: Harper def. Freeman, 13-12
Average distance: 425 feet
Longest homer: 467 feet
Average exit velocity: 107.0 mph
Average distance: 404 feet
Longest homer: 437 feet
Average exit velocity: 102.8 mph
- Harper delivered in the first round by knocking out Freeman with 13 home runs and 27 seconds still on the clock. He hit some absolute bombs that few other lefties could replicate.
- Freeman couldn’t really get going but at least made things interesting by hitting 12 home runs in the first round. He’ll probably have a tough time staving off Bryce Harper with the home crowd behind the Nationals star.
Round 1: Muncy def. Baez, 17-16
Average distance: 410 feet
Longest homer: 435 feet
Average exit velocity: 103.0 mph
Average distance: 422 feet
Longest homer: 479 feet
Average exit velocity: 103.3 mph
- Muncy had the opposite experience of Baez, coming out firing before slowing down a bit in the middle of his round. He took a break with eight homers and 1:56 remaining, then eliminated Baez with 17 home runs and 32 seconds still on the clock. The consistency was impressive as he peppered balls all over right field.
- Baez struggled to get his groove going initially but he crushed a 479-foot home run that put his amazing raw power on display, then added a 443-footer just afterwards to clinch bonus time. He finished with 16 home runs after a strong finish.
Round 1: Schwarber def. Bregman, 16-15
Average distance: 419 feet
Longest homer: 450 feet
Average exit velocity: n/a
Average distance: 397 feet
Longest homer: 422 feet
Average exit velocity: 98.4 mph
- SCHWARBER MOVES ON!! Bregman needed his last homer to get over the fence as time expired but it bounced off the fence. He finishes with 15 home runs.
- Third deck! Schwarber absolutely mashed a couple balls to wrap up his first round with 16 home runs. The pressure is on Bregman to match that total.
- Schwarber flashed that prototypical power swing to push 14 home runs before earning a 30-second bonus. He’s already done better than either Anthony Rizzo or Kris Bryant did before getting eliminated in 2015.
Round 1: Hoskins def. Aguilar, 17-12
Average distance: 403 feet
Longest homer: 463 feet
Average exit velocity: 102.5 mph
Average distance: 406 feet
Longest homer: 428 feet
Average exit velocity: 101.2 mph
- Aguilar seems to lack the quick pace necessary to catch up to Hoskins and finishes with 12 home runs. Hoskins wins.
- Aguilar takes his break with 1:34 remaining and seven home runs. He needs 11 in less than two minutes, which won’t be easy to pull off.
- The timeout paid off big-time for Hoskins, who finishes with 17 home runs.
- Hoskins takes his break with 2:05 remaining in his first go. He’s up to five home runs, which puts him on a rough pace for 10 home runs right now.
Before the competition
The hitters have taken the field! It was very smoky, presumably to reflect their SMOKIN’ HOT bats.
when i leave the pizza in the oven too long pic.twitter.com/6siA9JebHN— Whitney Medworth (@its_whitney) July 17, 2018
Javy Baez already looks like he’s having fun:
The balls will be flying Monday night for the 2018 MLB Home Run Derby at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Eight of the top power hitters in the game are on hand to try to hit as many homers as possible, hoping to join the likes of Bobby Abreu, Josh Hamilton and Giancarlo Stanton in Derby lore.
This year’s event follows the same eight-man, head-to-head format used by the league over the past few years.
Each matchup is single elimination with the player who hits the most home runs in four minutes advancing to the next round. Players can earn bonus time with long home runs and they’re entitled to a certain number of timeouts. The higher seed hits second.
Javy Baez and Kyle Schwarber of the Cubs highlight this year’s field, which also includes Jesus Aguilar, Bryce Harper, Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy, Alex Bregman and Rhys Hoskins. Those players have combined to hit 156 home runs so far this season, and they should keep busy Monday firing balls all over the park.
No player from the Cubs has won the event since Sammy Sosa in 2000, so Baez or Schwarber has a chance to end the drought. The bracket is also set up so we could be treated to a Baez-Schwarber final, which would be entertaining for fans on the North Side.
Here are the first-round matchups:
- No. 1 Jesus Aguilar vs. No. 8 Rhys Hoskins
- No. 4 Alex Bregman vs. No. 5 Kyle Schwarber
- No. 2 Bryce Harper vs. No. 7 Freddie Freeman
- No. 3 Max Muncy vs. No. 6 Javy Baez
The competition begins at 7 p.m. CT and will be covered live on ESPN. There are also going to be live streams available on WatchESPN and MLB.com. Follow along to this post for live updates of the results and more.