Guerrero Jr. stuns with record-setting debut in Home Run Derby
New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso wins in final
Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr., impressed the crowd at Progressive Field by setting a new Home Run Derby record for dingers in a single round. And to prove it wasn't a fluke, he did it again his second time up.
The 20-year-old Guerrero smashed out 29 home runs in the opening round of the Derby on Monday night — breaking the old record of 28 set by Josh Hamilton in 2008 — before matching his mark in Round 2.
Guerrero's average home run distance in Round 1 was 421.5 feet, with an average exit velocity of 104.8 mph. His third bomb was estimated to go 476 feet.
Guerrero's performance pushed him past Oakland's Matt Chapman (13) into the second round of the three-round event, where he was almost eliminated. Despite launching 29 more homers in Round 2, he needed a tiebreaker against Dodgers star Joc Pedersen, who also went deep 29 times.
WATCH | Guerrero Jr. falls in HR Derby final despite historic performance:
The Toronto third baseman, with 60-second tiebreaker and swing-off home runs included, beat Pedersen 40-39 to reach the final. New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso ultimately took the title, edging Guerrero 23-22 in the final.
"I was kind of scared he was going to beat me because he was hitting second," Guerrero said through a translator. "It was back-and-forth and back-and forth. It was really tiring."
His hands blistered, Guerrero more than equalled his season's salary of $468,468 US. He got $500,000 for finishing second, plus a $100,000 bonus for hitting the longest homer.
"I gave all I had. I'm proud I hit 91 home runs," he said.
Hamilton, a five-time All-Star who was with the Texas Rangers in 2008, set the previous mark at Yankee Stadium but went on to lose the Derby to Canadian Justin Morneau.
MADE FOR THE MOMENT! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PLAKATA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PLAKATA</a> 💥 | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LetsGoBlueJays?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LetsGoBlueJays</a> <a href="https://t.co/7S9le7RSoS">pic.twitter.com/7S9le7RSoS</a>—@BlueJays
Hours before Monday's Derby, the Rangers tweeted a video clip of Hamilton's record-setting performance with the caption: "Good luck beating this tonight, fellas."
Guerrero was taking pitches on Monday from Jays coach John Schneider, who also threw batting practice to him for two years in the minor leagues.
Guerrero, the youngest participant in the event, was one of eight players teeing off in Cleveland for the Derby, which included a $1 million top prize.
Guerrero's Hall of Fame father, Vladimir Guerrero, won the Home Run Derby in 2007 while a member of the Angels.
He tweeted: "Big boy has power," after watching his son set the record.
El muchacho tiene poder 👀 || Big boy has power.👀 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VG27?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VG27</a>—@VladGuerrero27