2015 Home Run Derby Recap: Todd Frazier Brings The Title To Cincinnati

The annual Home Run Derby took place on Monday, but it was much different than ever before.

In previous Home Run Derbies, the rounds have involved each player hitting until they reached 10 outs. But for the first time, hitters raced against the clock, which halted the tedious process of hitters watching pitches as they go by, over and over.

The following are the rules used in Monday’s Home Run Derby:

  • Each batter gets five minutes per round, beginning when the first pitch is thrown.
  • For any home runs hit in the final minute, the clock will stop, and won’t start again until the batter either hits a ball that isn’t a home run or swings and misses.
  • Hitters can earn bonus time: 60 seconds if they two home runs that go at least 420 feet, and an additional 30 seconds if they hit one of at least 475 feet.
  • They can call one 45-second timeout at any point.
  • As you’d expect, whoever hits most home-runs moves on to the next round.
  • If the scores are tied, there’ll be 90 seconds of extra time, and then three swing sudden-death rounds as needed to determine a winner.
  • The highest seed goes second, and if they pass the tally of the first batter, their round will end at that point
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The competition between No. 3 seed Josh Donaldson, and No. 6 seed Anthony Rizzo started slow, as Rizzo (the first batter) was unable to find his swing, and ended up rushing through his time, ending with eight home runs, after a late surge in the last minute, in his first Home Run Derby appearance. Rizzo was able to take advantage of the first added time in Home Run Derby history. It was a whole different story for Josh Donaldson, who came quick out of the gate but lost a little gas near the end, before getting his ninth home run with less than 10 seconds remaining in the first round of the 2015 Home Run Derby.

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The competition between no.2 seed Todd Frazier, and no.7 seed Prince Fielder was one of the best of the 2015 Home Run Derby. Fielder started it off with a bang, by hitting 13 home runs, some being absolute bombs. However, Frazier did not want to be eliminated early after reaching the finals of last year’s Home Run Derby, he started off quick, including four home runs on consecutive pitches, before taking his timeout. Frazier tied with Fielder just before regulation expire, Todd earned 30 seconds of added time. And on his first pitch of added time, Todd Frazier hit the clinching home run, advancing him to the semifinal of the Home Run Derby.

The competition between no. 4 seed Joc Pederson, and no. 5 seed Manny Machado was one filled with long home runs. Machado kicked it off with a slow start, but came into his own late in the competition and was hitting some absolute bombs by the end of his round in the Home Run Derby. The young Oriole third baseman ended his round with 12 home runs, setting a high bar for fellow youngster Pederson. Pederson didn’t seem to care much about the bar set, as he come out of the gate hitting home runs farther than anyone in the Home Run Derby, including the longest in the Home Run Derby (487). At the two minute mark, Pederson was down by only a single home run. Pederson advanced with ease, passing Machado’s impressive bar with over a minute left in the first round of the Home Run Derby.

In the final first round competition of the 2015 Home Run Derby between No. 1 seed Albert Pujols, and No. 8 seed Kris Bryant was the least eventful of the four early match-ups in the Home Run Derby. Bryant never got into a rhythm and ended with only eight home runs, which he thought would not be enough to defeat the veteran Angel. Pujols did not impress in this round, to say the least, as he narrowly defeated Bryant by hitting a home run as time expired.

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The semifinal competition between No. 3 seed Josh Donaldson and No. 2 seed Todd Frazier should have been an absolute blowout. Donaldson matched his score from the first round (9). Nothing too impressive from the current Toronto Blue Jay, while Todd Frazier came out with the same intensity as when he was last in the batter’s box. Todd started quick, but in the last minute couldn’t get anything out of the park until the last 15 seconds, where he hit two. Frazier reached his second consecutive Home Run Derby final. He lost to Yoenis Cespedes in last year’s final.

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The final semifinal competition between No. 1 seed Albert Pujols and No. 4 seed Joc Pederson was one filled with streaks. Joc Pederson started slower than any player had in the entire competition. Pederson put a stop to that in the last minute of his round, as he hit six home runs in seven swings. Joc hit three home runs during his added 30 seconds. The young Dodger’s round finished with 12 home runs. While Pederson was laboring with every swing, Pujols was hitting home runs with relative ease early in his round. In the middle of his round, Pujols seemed to be having trouble with his gloves, making him only hit ground balls. Pujols was one short of Pederson’s round, Albert hit 11.

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The finals of the 2015 Home Run Derby were contested by No. 2 seed Todd Frazier and No. 4 seed Joc Pederson. Pederson started off the finals with a bang. While he didn’t hit a homer in his first seven swings, he hit six in his next six swings. And he never let up, scattering home runs all across the right field stands. Pederson hit a ridiculous 13 home runs in regulation, he added one more in his added time, for a total of 14. Frazier hit 14 in his first round match-up. Frazier did not disappoint, as he tied Pederson in regulation and clinched the 2015 Home Run Derby on his first swing of added time.

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What do you think of the new Home Run Derby format?

[Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]