MIAMI -- Consider Cody Bellinger a realist. When asked Monday about his chances of toppling Aaron Judge in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, Bellinger -- a 21-year-old rookie who has surpassed just about every other expectation of him this season -- quipped: "Negative 12."Not often has Bellinger fallen short of
MIAMI -- Consider Cody Bellinger a realist. When asked Monday about his chances of toppling Aaron Judge in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, Bellinger -- a 21-year-old rookie who has surpassed just about every other expectation of him this season -- quipped: "Negative 12."
Not often has Bellinger fallen short of his goals. But Judge proved too much even for the charmed Dodgers first baseman to overcome.
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With his father, Clay, pitching to him in his Home Run Derby debut, Bellinger hit 27 homers in two rounds, peppering the right-field stands with baseballs. His average homer went 403 feet. His longest went 446 feet. Even that wasn't enough to match Judge, the night's eventual champion, who hit 13 in the semifinals -- including one a Marlins Park-record 513 feet -- to knock out Bellinger.
"I knew I had no chance," Bellinger said. "At that point, I'm just glad I won the first round. It was pretty tiring. I was just trying to get out as many as I could."
Nearly losing to Colorado's Charlie Blackmon in the first round, Bellinger hit his 13th and longest homer with one second remaining in his allotted four minutes, that 446-foot shot earning him 30 seconds of bonus time. He then hit his 15th homer as the extra time expired to knock out Blackmon.
That Judge loomed in the semifinals hardly fazed Bellinger, who was thrilled simply to compete in the event. When asked to participate in his first Home Run Derby, Bellinger said he would only do so if his father, a former big leaguer who hit 12 career home runs over four seasons with the Yankees and Angels, would pitch to him. The elder Bellinger, who has thrown batting practice to his son his entire life, jumped at the chance to do it in front of 37,027 people at Marlins Park.
"That was cool. That was a good time," Clay Bellinger said in the post-Derby clubhouse. "He was looking to have a good first round, kind of put a good showing out there. To [beat Blackmon] with a walk-off there, that's pretty special. ... He's happy, which is cool. So I'm happy."
Perhaps it was fitting that Bellinger squared off with Judge, the ninth and 10th rookies ever to compete in the event. One of the others, Joc Pederson, is Bellinger's teammate in Los Angeles. All told, eight Dodgers have competed in the Derby, including Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi and Matt Kemp.
"I didn't know what to expect, but that was more than I expected," Bellinger said. "That was probably the best time I've had playing baseball."
Today at 4:30 p.m. PT, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.