Baseball is struggling to connect with a younger audience, so MLB All-Stars offered up some suggestions on how to fix that.
WASHINGTON — Welcome to the Home Run Derby, the annual celebration of longballs, taters, dingers or whatever you may call them. Nationals Park plays host to the event this year, featuring some of the league’s top sluggers.
Defending champion Aaron Judge isn’t participating on Monday night, but Bryce Harper is the big story, performing in front of fans at his home ballpark. It’s the first time since 2013 that the Nationals star has taken part in the derby.
Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar, who entered as the No. 1 seed with 24 home runs at the All-Star break, was eliminated in the first round.
Keep it here for updates from Washington as the home runs fly:
No. 2 Bryce Harper vs. No. 3 Max Muncy (12 HR)
- Muncy – 12 HR – longest 429 feet: Muncy was clearly a little winded from his big first round and failed to hit the 440 feet required to earn bonus time. That could prove costly with Bryce Harper on deck…
No. 5 Kyle Schwarber (21 HR) defeats No. 8 Rhys Hoskins (20 HR)
- Hoskins – 20 HR – longest 466 feet: With a nice bit of rest, Hoskins improved on his first-round performance, crushing balls into left field. Only hit one homer in the bonus round.
- Schwarber – 21 HR – longest 448 feet: Schwarber kept on bombing, hitting the clinching 21st homer as time expired, without having to use his bonus time.
No. 2 Bryce Harper (13 HR) defeats No. 7 Freddie Freeman (12 HR)
- Freeman – 12 HR – longest 437 feet: Freeman never really found his groove, hitting getting under a ton of pitches. Hit most of his homers the other way.
- Harper – 13 HR – longest 467 feet: The D.C. fans got what they came for, watching Harper punish balls to right field. His clinching homer landed with 28 seconds left on the clock.
No. 3 Max Muncy (17 HR) defeats No. 6 Javier Baez (16 HR)
- Baez – 16 HR– longest 479 feet: The Cubs infielder has always put everything behind his swings, and it paid off in the derby as he crushed balls into left field. His 479-foot homer was the longest of the night to that point. Added two more in bonus time.
- Muncy – 17 HR – longest 435 feet: The Dodgers’ breakout star hit six homers in the first minute and just kept going. His clinching 17th homer came with 30 seconds still left on the clock.
No. 5 Kyle Schwarber (16 HR) defeats No. 4 No. 4 Alex Bregman (15 HR)
- Schwarber – 16 HR – longest 450 feet: Fans had been waiting for years to see him tee off in the derby, and he didn’t disappoint, driving balls into the upper decks in right field. Came through with two clutch homers in bonus time.
- Bregman – 15 HR – longest 413 feet : Bregman came up just short, with two balls hitting the warning track in the final 10 seconds.
No. 8 Rhys Hoskins (17 HR) defeats No. 1 Jesus Aguilar (12 HR)
- Hoskins – 17 HR – longest 463 feet: The Phillies slugger caught fire in the final minute, drilling one over the wall in dead center field as time expired.
- Aguilar – 12 HR – longest 428 feet: Aguilar couldn’t find a rhythm and was unable to pull the ball, constantly going to straightaway center. That’s our first “upset” of the night.
Hitters will each have four minutes per round to hit as many home runs as possible. In the first round and semifinals, hitters get one 45-second timeout. In the finals, hitters get two timeouts – one for 45 seconds and another for 30 seconds.
Players can be awarded bonus time based on the length of their home runs. Two home runs of 440+ feet (as tracked by Statcast) will result in 30 extra seconds at the end of the four minutes.
Ties are broken with a 60-second swing-off. If a swing-off ends in a tie, the hitters will engage in three-swing swing-offs until there is a winner.