By Jordan Zuniga
Aaron Judge won the 27th-annual Home Run Derby on Monday night in Miami at Marlins Park.
For the third-straight year, the derby used a timed format in which each hitter got four minutes to hit as many homers as he could. If the hitter blasts two homers 440 feet or more, he gets an extra 30 seconds.
In this year’s contest, seven of the eight contestants were competing in their first derby.
Every matchup in the first round (and second round and third round) was decided by just one home run, providing the derby with lots of drama, including Gary Sanchez upsetting defending champion Giancarlo Stanton,17-16.
The other highlight of the first-round was the matchup between Aaron Judge and Justin Bour.
Many thought Judge would easily beat Bour, but to Bour’s credit, he didn’t think so, hitting 22 homers, the most in one round up to that point.
Judge, however, felt no pressure.
He surged through the first round, hitting his 23rd home run with 10 seconds to spare, knocking out Bour.
The semifinals matchups were Sanchez vs. Sano, Judge vs. Cody Bellinger.
Sano, who hit the second fewest home runs in the first round, heated up in the second round and finished off Sanchez with almost a minute to spare to secure his place in the finals.
Bellinger then hit 12, requiring Judge to hit 13 to move on, which he easily reached, even leaving a minute 30 on the clock.
This set the stage for a final between Judge and Sano.
Sano was trying to become the second Minnesota Twin to win the derby, while Judge was trying to become the third Yankee to win the derby.
The Yankee won out.
Leading off the final round, Sano hit 10 home runs, which meant Judge needed 11 to win, a total he had reached easily in the two prior rounds.
Wasting no time in the final round, Judge began with three-straight home runs and there was no stopping him from there.
He easily reached the 11 he needed, leaving two minutes and 30 seconds on the clock.
With 47 home runs, 15 more than the next closest hitter, Judge proved that his 30 home runs so far this season were no fluke.
Not only was Judge the first rookie to win the derby, he was also the first to appear in the finals.
It’s clear that the sudden influx of young power hitters is sure to create some extremely competitive contests in the future.