New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso defeated Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 23-22 in the final round of the 2019 MLB Home Run Derby on Monday at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Alonso toppled Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana in the opening round and then Atlanta Braves center fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. in the semifinals. He's the second player from the Mets to win the Home Run Derby, joining Darryl Strawberry in 1986.
Alonso went down as the winner in the record book, but Guerrero left as the sentimental favorite for most fans. He had 91 total home runs, the most ever in a single Home Run Derby and more than some teams have hit this season.
Alonso was a deserving winner nonetheless. His ability to spread the ball across the field was more impressive than anything else.
Considering the two finalists are 20 and 24 years old, this may not be the last time Guerrero and Alonso meet in the Derby.
- No. 5 Joc Pederson def. No. 4 Alex Bregman, 21-16
- No. 8 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. def. No. 1 Matt Chapman, 29-13
- No. 6 Ronald Acuna Jr. def. No. 3 Josh Bell, 25-18
- No. 2 Pete Alonso def. No. 7 Carlos Santana, 14-13
Batters are hitting home runs at a historic rate in 2019, with this year's 1.37 homers per game on pace to surpass the record mark (1.26 in 2017), per Baseball Reference.
Pederson opened the Derby with 21 homers, a record in the first round under the new format. The mark didn't even last 20 minutes before it went down in flames.
Guerrero cleared the fence 29 times against Matt Chapman.
Seeing all of Guerrero's home runs mapped out is something else. He made sure the fans in left field had plenty of chances to grab a souvenir.
Alonso labored a bit in the first round, edging hometown favorite Santana. A partisan Cleveland crowd let him know what it thought about the result, with some playful booing following his winning homer.
The prevailing thought was that left-handed batters would have an easier time at Progressive Field given the 19-foot wall in left. That didn't prove true in the first round, though. In addition to Santana's loss to Alonso, Josh Bell fell to Acuna despite hitting from the left side in a matchup against a righty.
Bell's 18 homers would have been enough to advance in years past, but the Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman was a victim of Monday's generally ridiculous totals.
- No. 8 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. def. No. 5 Joc Pederson, 40-39
- No. 2 Pete Alonso def. No. 6 Ronald Acuna Jr., 20-19
Matched up in the semifinals, Guerrero and Pederson put on a show. They needed three overtime periods to determine who would advance.
Pederson forced overtime by hitting his 29th home run as time expired and then did the same thing again in the extra frame.
From there, the sluggers had three swings each. After hitting one long ball apiece, they embarked on another set of three swings. Guerrero then hit two homers, and Pederson sent his first swing over the fence. His second swing fell short, leaving one more shot to extend the round. He knew as soon as he made contact his night was over.
Just as Josh Hamilton stole the show in the 2008 Home Run Derby despite finishing as the runner-up to Justin Morneau, Guerrero and Pederson ensured they will forever occupy a special place in Derby history.
Alonso and Acuna had a high bar to clear for their semifinal clash. Though they didn't require overtimes, their battle went down to the wire.
Acuna went first and registered 19 homers. Alonso started slowly but picked up steam as the seconds ticked off the clock. He broke the brief deadlock as time expired, and the importance of the moment was evident in his celebration.
- No. 2 Pete Alonso def. No. 8 Vladimir Guerrero, 23-22
Heading into the final, the obvious question was whether Guerrero had enough energy to outlast Alonso.
He was visibly tired, taking his two timeouts early. Despite that, he recorded 22 homers to give Alonso a stiff challenge.
Much like in the semifinals, Alonso didn't get off to a great start. He was stuck at nine with two minutes left before he caught fire.
Alonso didn't even need the extra 30 seconds he was awarded for multiple 440-foot shots.
He earned $1 million—nearly double his 2019 salary ($555,000)—by virtue of his victory. That's a pretty good reward for a night's work.