Round-by-round breakdown of an epic Derby

July 13th, 2021

The T-Mobile Home Run Derby returned with a hard-hitting, high-flying, mile-high event.

The full field of eight competitors for baseball’s big fly bonanza was a powerhouse group, but only one man could come out on top -- Pete Alonso, for his second straight win.


Pete Alonso: 23 (finals), 74 total

A favorite coming into the night and a heavy favorite after his seemingly effortless 51 homers across the first two rounds, Alonso remained serene on the staging couch as he watched Trey Mancini put up 22 dingers. That was a daunting target (just one shy of Alonso’s final round record of 23 back in 2019), but the Polar Bear’s first swing -- a 111 mph, 509-foot shot toward the left-field concourse -- erased any sign of nerves.

Alonso continued to make it look as if he could do the Derby in his sleep, reaching 12 taters and repeatedly drawing ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from the Coors Field crowd before he took his timeout with 36 seconds left in regulation. An extended timeout and a hilarious hit-by-pitch from Alonso’s BP pitcher, Mets bench coach Dave Jauss, hardly broke Alonso’s concentration.

He finished regulation with 17 homers and easily earned a minute of bonus time with four 475-plus foot clouts. Alonso took care of the remaining dingers in short order, homering on all six of his bonus-time swings to put his second straight Home Run Derby title on ice. A stunning and dominant display by Polar Bear Pete.

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 509 feet (111 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 117 mph (495 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 464 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 109 mph

Trey Mancini: 22 (finals), 59 total

Many didn’t expect Mancini to make the final round, but then again, he already beat the odds by returning to baseball this year after missing 2020 due to colon cancer. Could the Baltimore slugger write a storybook Derby ending? Going first in his matchup with Alonso, Mancini surely knew he needed a big number in the two-minute round to stand a chance.

Once again, Mancini looked comfortable, drilling eight homers in the first minute, including a 490-foot drive that secured one minute of bonus time. He would go on to add shots of 485, 488, 481 and 475 while reaching 16 in regulation. Mancini started hot in bonus time and while he hit a rut in the final 40 seconds or so, one final blast at the buzzer got him to 22.

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 490 feet (110 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 114 mph (470 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 451 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 107 mph

Round 2

Pete Alonso: 16 (round 2), 51 total

Alonso revealed on the ESPN broadcast that he preferred to go first in each round and set the tone, but he went second here, thanks to the massive 35-homer total he put up in Round 1. No matter. Alonso stepped in with his head bopping to the music and went on the attack, getting into an absolute groove by pelting 14 homers before finally calling timeout with 1:03 still remaining on the clock.

After pumping up the crowd, Alonso stepped back in and walloped two majestic homers to easily defeat Soto -- and then he kept swinging, not knowing that he could stop. Alonso made this look positively easy through the first two rounds, and set himself up for a shot at back-to-back Derby titles in the final against Mancini.

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 498 feet (112 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 113 mph (458 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 450 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 108 mph

Juan Soto: 15 (round 2), 46 total

While he’s only 22 years old, Soto had to be exhausted after needing two swing-offs to defeat Ohtani in the first round. It started to show, especially after the first minute, when Soto popped six dingers. At one point, Soto hit just one homer in the span of 13 swings, and while he recovered a bit, he finished regulation with only eight. Still, a 481-foot rocket meant Soto got a full, one-minute bonus period and took advantage with another seven to at least make Alonso work a bit.

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 481 feet (108 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 111 mph (447 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 438 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 105 mph

Trey Mancini: 13 (round 2), 37 total

Knowing he didn’t need to put up a massive total, Mancini looked comfortable as he swung his way to seven homers across his first minute and 21 seconds before calling time. Mancini translated his straightaway center power to homers across the first portion but came out sluggish out of his timeout. Still, he hit his 12th homer to tie Story with 30 seconds remaining and then knocked the go-ahead blast with 23 seconds left, carrying his remarkable comeback story into the finals. 

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 475 feet (112 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 112 mph (475 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 441 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 108 mph

Trevor Story: 12 (round 2), 32 total

It was a slow start to the second round for Story, who only hit two homers in the first 1:10 and took his timeout at about the halfway point, sitting on five. Story’s 10 regulation taters didn’t include any 475-footers, meaning he only got 30 seconds of bonus time, instead of a minute. Story added two more in that time, with one of them flying 477 feet, but fatigue seemed to be having an effect by the end of the round.

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 477 feet (107 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 107 mph (477 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 441 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 105 mph

Round 1

Trey Mancini: 24 home runs

Competing in his first Derby, Mancini started off slowly, taking his timeout with 2:07 to go in the three-minute round, sitting on just two homers. Taking a deep breath seemed to do the Orioles' star good, as he reeled off 17 homers in his final 25 swings of regulation, spreading his big flies all around Coors Field. Mancini earned a full minute of bonus time with four homers of 475-plus feet -- including a 496-footer -- cranking an additional five dingers to finish with 24 total and setting a high bar for opponent Matt Olson.

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 496 feet (110 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 113 mph (474 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 447 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 106 mph

Matt Olson: 23 home runs

Wielding a beautiful A’s green bat, Olson also got off to a sluggish start before working himself into a groove. He racked up 10 homers before taking his timeout with 1:10 remaining. Olson brought his trademark left-handed pull swing to this Derby, routinely hitting the right-field seats and reaching the third deck several times. The A’s star launched a pair of 495-footers en route to 17 taters in regulation, and then added six more in regulation before running out of time. Olson’s last ball in the air -- the ball that could have potentially tied Mancini -- went just foul down the right-field line to leave Olson one homer shy of a swing-off.

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 495 feet (110 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 111 mph (441 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 447 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 106.0 mph

Trevor Story: 20 home runs

All eyes were on the hometown favorite, as Story stepped in to swing for the fences in the familiar surroundings of Coors Field. With Rockies fans in the crowd chanting his name at times and old teammate Nolan Arenado looking on with interest, Story took aim at the left-field concourse and launched his second homer 518 feet -- to that point the longest homer ever recorded by Statcast in either a game or the Derby. (The previous record was 513 feet by Aaron Judge in the 2017 Derby.) Story’s four blasts of 475-plus feet out of 16 total in regulation earned him a full, one-minute bonus period, but Story seemed to lose momentum after the break and only added two more until the waning seconds, when he beat the buzzer with a final pair of big flies.

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 518 feet (106 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 110 mph (432 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 437 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 104 mph

Joey Gallo: 19 home runs

Gallo is known for the towering height of his moonshot homers as much as his elite exit velocity, but launch angle worked against him in the early going. The Rangers star struggled to only four homers before he took a timeout with 1:42 remaining, and he continued to hit under balls once he resumed. Gallo finally found a groove with four homers across the final 35 seconds of regulation, and his 490- and 489-foot blasts earned him the minute of bonus time with 11 homers on the board. Needing nine more to catch Story, Gallo got on track in extra time with six homers in a span of 26 seconds. But he popped up his last pitch thrown with time on the clock, leaving him -- like Olson -- heartbreakingly one dinger shy of a swing-off.

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 494 feet (112 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 113 mph (392 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 446 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 106 mph

Pete Alonso: 35 home runs

Looking to become only the fourth player in Derby history to win the event multiple times, the 2019 champion came out firing and set a Derby record for a first round with 35 dingers. He crushed 13 of those before a timeout at about the halfway mark -- at one point homering on nine straight swings. The damage included bombs of 514 and 512 feet that sent fans on the left-field concourse ducking for cover. Alonso went deep 25 times in regulation but wasn’t even close to being done, adding 10 more in one minute of bonus time. The Mets slugger walloped nine bombs of 475 feet or longer and didn’t even seem tired at the end.

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 514 feet (113 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 115 mph (453 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 447 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 109 mph

Salvador Perez: 28 home runs

With one extremely tough act to follow, Perez went to work. Kansas City’s hero put in a solid -- if not Alonso-like -- pace out of the gate, going deep eight times before taking his timeout with 1:44 left on the clock. Salvy’s 17 homers after regulation would have put him in great position had he faced any of the first four sluggers of the night, but they left Perez with a tall task ahead of him, needing 18 more in the bonus minute to catch Alonso. True to his free-swinging form in the regular season, Perez swung at every pitch and put on quite a show himself, finishing with the second-highest total of the night at 28 to earn a standing ovation. But he still finished seven shy of Alonso in a tough-luck matchup. 

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 491 feet (111 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 112 mph (403 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 446 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 107 mph

Juan Soto: 31 total (includes two tiebreakers)

With everyone waiting to watch Shohei Ohtani swing the bat, Soto had the unenviable task of going first in that marquee matchup. With Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long throwing left-handed to the lefty-hitting Soto, he vaporized a pitch that flew 520 feet and broke the all-time Statcast distance record that Story set earlier in the round. Soto sent most of his drives to center field or even the opposite way, mashing 18 homers in regulation, but he couldn’t quite get in a groove in the one-minute bonus period, adding just four (albeit, with one of those flying 504 feet).

Soto’s round was far from done, though. After Ohtani tied him, he hit six more homers in a one-minute tiebreaker, including a 500-footer, to put the pressure back on Ohtani -- who proceeded to tie things up again. That led to another swing-off, this one featuring three swings for each guy. Soto was perfect, going three-for-three, including a 506-foot blast. This time, it was enough to get past Ohtani.

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 520 feet (114 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 114 mph (520 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 452 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 107 mph

Shohei Ohtani: 28 total (includes two tiebreakers)

You knew Soto wasn’t going to let anyone upstage him, but it was all eyes on Ohtani as the night’s biggest headliner strode to the plate. Ohtani’s first homer didn’t come until roughly 50 seconds into his round as his swing got stuck in line-drive mode, and his total was stuck at one until he clanked one off the right-field foul pole with about 1:40 left. Ohtani took his timeout with five homers on the board and only 1:20 left in regulation, and he got a pep talk from his teammate Mike Trout on the phone. Ohtani stayed mostly to the pull portion of the field and got himself back within striking distance, lacing both hard homers (five with 115-plus mph exit velocities) and long ones (three of 490 feet or longer, topping out at 513 feet) to put himself at 16 entering his minute of bonus time. Ohtani needed two to tie Soto with 10 seconds to go in bonus time, and he hit those two and came up just shy of hitting a tie-breaker, forcing the first swing-off of the night.

He went deep six times in extras, going 503 and 505 feet on the last two fence-clearers, but that stillwasn’t enough; he and Soto were tied at 28 homers, and a three-swing swing-off was needed. After Soto went deep on all three of his swings, Ohtani caught his breath and stepped back in one last time. He couldn't get his first swing over the fence, though, and just like that … his night was over.

LONGEST HR (EXIT VELO): 513 feet (110 mph)
HARDEST HR (DISTANCE): 117 mph (489 feet)
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 465 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 111 mph