Pete Alonso wins a historic 2019 Home Run Derby

Alonso defeats Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. in an epic final round

Kyle Powell
July 08, 2019 - 5:24 pm

Photo: Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports

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Even in the midst of a tumultuous season in Flushing, the New York Mets had something to cheer about on Monday night.

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Standout rookie first baseman Pete Alonso emerged victorious in the 2019 T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. Alonso took down Toronto Blue Jays rookie Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. in the finals to wrap up a Home Run Derby that went down in history for a bevy of reasons.

This year's bracket was packed full of star-studded talent, and youthful talent at that. Per Sarah Langs of MLB, this was the youngest crop of eight participants that the event ever saw.

That average age hovered closer to 25 on-the-dot, with the latest news that top-seed and 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers (27-years-old) sat out of the Derby due to a back injury. In Yelich's place was 26-year-old Matt Chapman of the Oakland Athletics, who slotted right into Yelich's spot as the No. 1 seed despite not ranking as the top seed based off his 2019 first half home run total.

Here is a breakdown of the pre-Derby bracket; seeding, team and 2019 season home run total heading into the All-Star Break:

 

1.) Matt Chapman (OAK - 21 HRs) vs. 8.) Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. (TOR - 8 HRs)

2.) Pete Alonso (NYM - 30 HRs) vs. 7.) Carlos Santana (CLE - 19 HRs)

3.) Josh Bell (PIT - 27 HRs) vs. 6.) Ronald Acuña, Jr. (ATL - 21 HRs)

4.) Alex Bregman (HOU - 23 HRs) vs. 5.) Joc Pederson (LAD - 20 HRs)

 

Round 1:

The opening round saw a trio of upsets, and the most electric performance came from the bat of Guerrero, Jr. The 20-year-old clobbered a record-setting 29 home runs in a single round. That eclipsed the mark of 28 long balls, previously held by Texas Rangers' outfielder Josh Hamilton back in 2008. We also saw an early departure of hometown Cleveland Indians favorite Carlos Santana. His 13 home runs were bested by Alonso.

 

5.) Joc Pederson defeats 4.) Alex Bregman - 21-16

8.) Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. defeats 1.) Matt Chapman - 29-13

6.) Ronald Acuña, Jr. defeats 3.) Josh Bell - 25-18

2.) Pete Alonso defeats 7.) Carlos Santana - 14-13

 

Semi-Finals:

29 to 29. 37 to 37. 38 to 38. 40 to 39.

Through standard time, a minute of sudden death time, and a pair of three-swing "swing-offs", those were the ever-growing round totals for Guerrero, Jr. and Pederson. The duo put on a show that will go down in Home Run Derby lore as they opened up the semi-finals with a battle of wits. Eventually, it was Guerrero, Jr. who out-lasted with his 40 total long balls, barely sending Pederson home early who ended with a "losing" total of 39. The Progressive Field crowd was sent into an absolute frenzy for the better part of half-an-hour.

A high bar was set for the second crop of contestants, Acuña, Jr. and Alonso. Though the balls weren't flying at quite the same pace, Alonso took down his divisional foe in walk-off fashion, 20-19. The Final was set, and it marked the first time a pair of rookies would square off for the title.

 

8.) Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. defeats 5.) Joc Pederson - 40-39

2.) Pete Alonso defeats 6.) Ronald Acuña, Jr. - 20-19

 

Final Round:

Despite looking gassed from the semi-final, Guerrero, Jr. still managed to set, yet, another high bar by pumping 22 more home runs into the Cleveland night. Alonso's highest mark of the night before the final was 20 against Acuña, so he needed to hit another gear to even eclipse Guerrero, Jr.'s lowest total on Monday night.

Alonso, much like he had throughout the entire first half for the Mets, rose to the occasion. "The Polar Bear" stunned Guerrero, Jr. in the all-rookie final round by slamming a walk-off, Derby-ending home run in the waning seconds to claim the title by a final score of 23-22.

Alonso became the first Mets player to win a Home Run Derby since Darryl Strawberry shared a claim of 1986 Derby victory with Wally Joyner of the California Angels. Alonso and Guerrero, Jr. hit a combined 148 home runs, another Derby record for total by finalists.

 

2.) Pete Alonso defeats 8.) Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. - 23-22

 

Notes:

  • Guerrero, Jr. set a new single-round home run record with 29 in the opening round; record was again broken in the semi-finals twice by both Guerrero, Jr (40) and Joc Pederson (39); Giancarlo Stanton's single-Derby home run record (61 in 2016) was broken by Guerrero, Jr. (91).
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