Going, going, Gian: Derby star, by far!
Marlins slugger Stanton hits 61 homers in three rounds, many of them over 440 feet
SAN DIEGO -- Giancarlo Stanton turned the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Petco Park into a contest of "Can you top this?" For most of the night, the Miami Marlins right fielder found himself trying to outdistance himself, and in the process, he stole the show.
In the finals, the fifth-seeded Stanton blasted 20 home runs -- giving him 61 total in three rounds -- as he topped defending champion Todd Frazier of the White Sox, 20-13. Not only did Stanton bring the crowd to its feet with his massive home runs, he also reset Statcast™ home run highs for distance (497 feet) and exit velocity (120.4 mph).
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In front of an energized crowd and a worldwide audience on ESPN and MLB.com, Stanton showcased his remarkable strength in all three rounds. In the finals, he went first and put the third-seeded Frazier on the defensive. Of Stanton's 20 homers, 11 went 440 feet or more. He became the first Marlins player to win the Home Run Derby.
"I grew up watching this," Stanton said. "That's where you built it up, childhood memories; now I will have kids saying the same thing. They watched me do this. I like to return the favor. Can't speak for anyone else."
Stanton added a home run with a launch angle of 12.3 degrees, lower than any regular-season home run tracked by Statcast™. The previous lowest also is by Stanton, who hit one at a 13.5-degree angle on April 23, 2015, off Justin DeFratus of the Phillies.
"He was hitting moonshots," marveled Frazier afterward. "I thought I was a high school hitter compared to him hitting them that far. I said it was going to be one of the most epic home run battles, and I think it really stepped up to the name."
A native of Sherman Oaks, Calif., Stanton relished the opportunity to take part in his second Home Run Derby in his home state.
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"For sure, being on the West Coast and taking the flight out here just for this, you know," Stanton said. "I figure it's a waste if I don't bring this bad boy home."
In the first round, Stanton was matched against the Mariners' Robinson Cano, the fourth seed. It became a mismatch as Stanton racked up 24 homers to Cano's seven.
In the semifinals, Stanton toppled Baltimore's Mark Trumbo, the No. 1 overall seed, 17-14. In a meeting of arguably the two strongest in the event, 14 of Stanton's homers traveled 440 feet or farther, matching Trumbo's entire total for the round.
As advertised, Stanton was a show stopper whose first round will go down in Home Run Derby lore. His 497-foot drive is the longest home run ever projected by Statcast™. The farthest regular-season homer is by Kris Bryant of the Cubs, who connected on a 495-foot shot on Sept. 6, 2015, off Arizona's Rubby De La Rosa.
Also in his first four minutes, Stanton blistered another laser that had an exit velocity of 120.4 mph, the hardest-hit homer Statcast™ has ever tracked. The previous high on a homer by Stanton is 119.2 mph on June 23, 2015, against St. Louis' Carlos Martinez.
With four Marlins players in tonight's All-Star Game presented by MasterCard (7:30 p.m. ET on FOX), Stanton also had time in the first round to take a timeout, catch his breath and pose for a selfie with his Miami teammates -- Jose Fernandez, Marcell Ozuna and A.J. Ramos.
"That's great. That's what it's about," Stanton said. "Having them, and on the flight over, they were like, 'This is what we're going to do, this and that.' So we had a plan going, and I'm glad it worked out."
At the conclusion of Stanton's round, all the All-Stars showed their appreciation, with David Ortiz giving some Big Papi praise by bowing to the Miami slugger.
Over the course of the night, Stanton decisively established power readings at a historic rate:
• Stanton had the 20 hardest-hit home runs of the night.
• He had the 10 longest home runs.
• Stanton's average home run distance was 446 feet. The next highest was Trumbo at 432.8 feet. The other seven hitters combined for an average home run distance of 412 feet.
• His average exit velocity on home runs was 111.9 mph. The next highest was Trumbo at 108.5 mph. The other seven hitters had an average exit velocity of 105.4 mph on their homers.
• Stanton's home runs traveled a total projected distance of 27,187 feet, which is 5.15 miles and 9,918 feet more than any other competitor. Frazier was second with a total distance of 17,269 feet.
"I didn't hit one over 440," said Adam Duvall, who lost out to Frazier in the semifinals. "He hit most of his over 440. That's just unreal, man. The power that he has is unreal."
Stanton picked Pat Shine, the Marlins' Major League administrative coach, as his designated pitcher. Many Miami players praise Shine's tosses, because they are right down the middle.
"No-brainer," Stanton said of going with Shine. "I don't think I took more than five balls, so he is just as important to this as I was."
Stanton, like Frazier, was selected to the Derby without being picked for the All-Star Game. With a single-minded focus on one event, Stanton was locked in to bringing the Derby trophy to South Florida.
"I have been around him for three years, so I am just really happy for him," Shine said. "He's one of the most intense competitors that anybody has ever been around. So I knew he wanted to win it."
Stanton actually is a three-time All-Star, but he was able to only take part in 2014, missing in '12 and '15 due to injuries.
Despite posting a .233/.328/.495 slash line in the first half, Stanton heated up in Miami's last five games, belting five home runs while driving in 10 runs. The slugger entered the break with 20 homers and 50 RBIs.
"I'm so proud of him," Ozuna said. "He was struggling a little, and then they invited him to the Home Run Derby, and he wins it. That's beautiful."