By: Jason M. Sanin
Winning the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby is a challenge, but winning it in your home stadium is an even bigger one. Cincinnati Reds slugger Todd Frazier managed to do just that, however, making the hometown crowd roar with each of his several home runs, home runs that vindicated the baseball betting experts who backed him in the competition.
New Format A Success
Many wondered how the new Home Run Derby format would impact the flow of the contest. After the addition of a time clock for each participant in each round, with bonus time awarded for hitting home runs of a designated distance, pundits were thrilled with the new rules of the derby.
The time clock element forced hitters to swing at a higher percentage of pitches, meaning that more home runs were hit within a smaller time frame, as the days of hitters only swinging at perfect pitches to avoid failing to hit home runs are a thing of the past. Coincidentally, this Home Run Derby featured 159 home runs, a total higher than any previous iteration of the event.
Those in attendance also seemed more engaged in the on-field product, as fewer pitches without swings resulted in less down time and more excitement for each individual pitch.
Frazier Shines At Home
For Todd Frazier, this year’s Home Run Derby was a chance to become part of an exclusive club, as only one player had ever won the Home Run Derby at their home ball park before he managed to do it here in 2015. And, improbably, Frazier was the one to come out of this year’s star studded field to get it done.
Frazier started the competition by defeating Prince Fielder in the first round of the contest, hitting 14 home runs to Fielder’s 13 to advance to the semifinals. Fielder batted first in the quarterfinal matchup, leaving Frazier with a high score to beat in his turn at bat. After Frazier managed 13 home runs of his own, he was able to hit a 14th during his 30 seconds of bonus time at the end of the round to advance.
In the semifinals, Frazier bested Josh Donaldson, who only managed nine home runs in the tournament’s penultimate round, leading Frazier to a championship matchup with Joc Pederson in the championship round.
Pederson, of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has hit 20 home runs on the season and was billed as a serious threat to win the derby, but he learned just as Donaldson and Fielder did that the crowd was firmly on the side of Todd Frazier, as it should have been.
During that final round, Pederson hit 14 home runs and looked like a clear favorite in the eyes of tipsters to lift the trophy at that time. But Frazier once again came from behind and managed to get the better of his opponent, sending 15 home runs into the Cincinnati night for the championship.
For Frazier and the raucous Cincinnati crowd, it was certainly a night to remember.