All(-Star's) rise! Judge rules in Derby debut

July 11th, 2017

MIAMI -- All rise. Again, again and again. lived up to the hype of his remarkable rookie campaign by slamming nearly four miles of home runs on Monday evening at Marlins Park, including four drives of more than 500 feet, crowning the Yankees' slugger as the newest champion of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby.
Judge overcame 22 first-round blasts from of the Marlins and a dozen long balls from the Dodgers' in the second. Judge slammed 11 homers in the finals to defeat of the Twins, finishing with 1:53 still on the clock.
"I had no pressure going into it. I'm a rookie," Judge said. "This is my first time doing it. For me, I've got no expectations. I'm just going to go in there and have some fun and see what we can do tonight. It was a blast. I enjoyed every minute of it -- watching the other guys swing, coming here early and talking to the media. Everything about today was fantastic."
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An anticipated matchup between Judge and hometown hero of the Marlins never materialized, as last year's champion was knocked out in the first round by , 17-16.
"I honestly didn't think about [facing Stanton]," Judge said. "I was trying to get out of the first round."

Sanchez stuns Stanton, but falls in Rd. 2
Judge was initially booed but won over the crowd of 37,027, hitting a total of 47 homers against just 29 "outs." The first rookie to win the Derby outright (the Angels' Wally Joyner was a co-champion in 1986), Judge hit 16 homers with exit velocities of 115 mph or harder, and to all fields of the ballpark.

"He's so quiet and simple that he looks like a contact hitter trapped in an ogre's body," the Rockies' Charlie Blackmon said. "I don't know that the game has ever seen a power like that. Stanton has the most velocity, but I think Judge is going to be a really interesting career to follow."

And Judge faced a significant challenge before he even stepped to the plate, watching from the batting cage as Bour put 22 on the board. The 6-foot-7, 282-pound Judge responded with 23, including a 501-foot blast that cleared the home run sculpture in left-center field.
"Once Justin put on that show like that, I just had to go to work," Judge said. "I was having fun out there and just had to go to work."

As he did in batting practice, Judge clipped the roof with a drive. Because it did not count, Judge was told he had only tied Bour with five seconds remaining. He easily cleared the center-field wall with his final swing.
"I think I still had the 30-second bonus left, so I really didn't have any worries," Judge said.
Judge faced a less daunting challenge in the second round, producing a baker's dozen -- including blasts of 501, 504 and 513 feet -- before defeating Bellinger with a 507-foot drive to left field.

The 507- and 513-foot drives are the two longest home runs ever tracked by Statcast™ -- in the regular season, the postseason or past Home Run Derbies. Judge now has the four longest blasts tracked by Statcast™ in the Derby, and the only four Derby homers hit at least 500 feet.

"I don't know what to say," Bellinger said. "What do you say after those balls?"
Both Judge and Sanchez opted to have their regular batting-practice pitcher, Danilo Valiente, toss to them in Miami. Judge said that the 51-year-old Valiente has a knack for finding the barrel of his bat.
"He's a fantastic coach and a better person," Judge said. "He's always looking out for me. He goes the extra mile for anything. During the game I go down there and he's doing soft toss, throwing me a little bit of BP during games. I am glad I was there with Danilo."

Stacked end to end, Judge's homers traveled 3.9 miles and would have enough distance to reach from home plate at Marlins Park into nearby Biscayne Bay.
"He's an animal," Sano said. "The first time I saw Aaron Judge hit BP, I could tell he was a monster."
Judge's 23 first-round homers marked the third-best round in Home Run Derby history, trailing only Josh Hamilton's 28 in 2008 and Bobby Abreu's 24 in 2005.
Even after the unforgettable display, Judge still appeared to have energy left in the tank, suggesting that he may already be ready to defend the title.
"I try to take everything one day at a time. That's what's helped me along this first half of the year," Judge said. "I have had wonderful people help me out through the years. And I can't thank them enough for where I'm at right now."