Home Run Derby 2018: Top Highlights from Bryce Harper's Performance

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 17, 2018

Washington Nationals Bryce Harper celebrates his winning hit during the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby, Monday, July 16, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Bryce Harper put together one of the most memorable Home Run Derby performances Monday night inside his home stadium.

The Washington Nationals outfielder outdueled Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs in the final round, and he finished off the competition with an exclamation point. 

Harper's 19th home run of the championship showdown with Schwarber clinched the victory and sent Nationals Park into its loudest cheer of the night.

ESPN @espn

Bryce Harper won the Home Run Derby in the most dramatic way possible. https://t.co/qpnvbcx0xe

The 25-year-old struggled at the start of his four-minute final round, but he came to life with a remarkable finish, as he hit nine home runs in 47 seconds, a performance that impressed everyone in attendance, including Yahoo's Jeff Passan: 

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

Bryce Harper just hit nine home runs in 47 seconds. My god.

What made Harper's achievement even more impressive is he had to be perfect in the final minute, as the few pitches delivered by his father Ron before the streak of nine home runs weren't in the strike zone, as Ryan Fagan of Sporting News pointed out: 

Ryan Fagan @ryanfagan

Harper had 9 home runs with 1:20 left. The first five pitches out of the timeout were basically unhittable. He still got to 18 to tie Schwarber, with bonus seconds remaining.

Harper's home runs didn't just clear the fences, they soared into upper decks, as he hit 10 dingers over 450 feet, which was one more than the other seven competitors combined for, per ESPN Stats and Info: 

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

According to @statcast, Bryce Harper hit 10 450-foot HRs during the Derby. The rest of the field combined for 9. Kyle Schwarber had the second-most with 5. https://t.co/nEoLCpb2Ii

The Nationals outfielder sprayed the majority of his home runs to right field, with few opposite-field shots flying over the fence, as MLB's Daren Willman displayed: 

Daren Willman @darenw

All of Bryce Harper's homers tonight... Wow, what a great finish! @Nationals @mlb https://t.co/tWnsC7jDQl

The victory was an emotional one for Harper, who fed off the energy of the crowd that didn't sit down during his time at the plate. 

After the Home Run Derby concluded, Harper expressed how much his inner child came out during the competition, per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post: 

Chelsea Janes @chelsea_janes

Harper is getting choked up a bit during his press conference. Really elaborating on what this place and the people here mean to him. Just haven’t seen this side of him in so long. “That’s the kid in me you guys saw tonight. I was very fortunate to share that with you tonight.”

Harper also made a bit of history Monday, as he became the third player to win the Home Run Derby in his home ballpark, joining Ryne Sandberg and Todd Frazier. 

In addition to etching his name alongside Sandberg and Frazier in the record book, Harper was a part of the most prolific Home Run Derby in history, as 221 home runs were hit, per ESPN Stats and Info: 

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Bryce Harper wins the 2018 Home Run Derby, hitting 19 in the final round. Harper is the 3rd player to win the Derby at his home ballpark, joining Todd Frazier (2015-Reds) & Ryne Sandberg (1990-Cubs). The 221 HR tonight set a Derby record, passing the 203 at Petco Park in 2016. https://t.co/p1xRiS3H6I

Harper is one of two Washington players with the opportunity to shine in his home stadium, as Max Scherzer starts for the National League in Tuesday's All-Star Game.

According to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, Harper and Scherzer are the first pair of teammates to win the Home Run Derby and start the All-Star Game in their home ballpark: 

Tyler Kepner @TylerKepner

Bryce Harper wins, meaning that this will be the first time ever that the host of the All-Star Game has both the HR Derby winner and a starting pitcher in the ASG. (Max Scherzer)

Harper could add more fireworks to his already successful All-Star week Tuesday, as he bats sixth and starts in centerfield for the National League. 

If he banks off the energy inside Nationals Park once again, Harper could be in contention to win the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player award. 


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