In what was considered by many to be the best home run derby to date, rookies Vladamir Guerrero Jr. and Pete Alonso battled it out in the final round of the 2019 Home Run Derby, with Alonso edging out Guerrero hitting 23 home runs versus 22. The home run derby has gotten considerably better ever since MLB moved it into a time-based format versus the out-based format, and the $1 million cash prize to the winner this year created even more of a buzz.
Baseballs were flying high and far into the Cleveland night at Progressive Field, as a record number of home runs were hit in the contest. Each contestant seemed to bring their A-game, but it was Guerrero Jr. and Joc Pederson who stole the show and got the crowd in a frenzy with their second round duel. Guerrero Jr. hit as astounding 29 home runs in his first round defeating A’s Matt Chapman, but had to hit 40 in the next round to finally eliminate Dodger’s Pederson. Two 3-swing “swing offs” was needed to break the tie after both contestants were tied after the regulation time, and initial overtime. While other hitters might have tired and faded, both Guerrero Jr. and Pederson kept putting baseballs into the stands.
However, on the other side of the bracket, Pete Alonso was lurking. Alonso had the advantage of going second in each of his matchups, knowing exactly how many home runs he needed to advance to the next round. By the time he got to the final, he faced a fatigued Guerrero Jr. who still managed to put out 22 home runs. Nonetheless, Alonso was able to hit his 23.