MIAMI -- The Marlins Park crowd did not roar the loudest when Mike Moustakas' name was announced before Monday night's T-Mobile Home Run Derby. That reaction was reserved for hometown favorite Giancarlo Stanton, whose prodigious power displays have been dropping jaws in Miami for years now.No, Moustakas was not the
MIAMI -- The Marlins Park crowd did not roar the loudest when Mike Moustakas' name was announced before Monday night's T-Mobile Home Run Derby. That reaction was reserved for hometown favorite Giancarlo Stanton, whose prodigious power displays have been dropping jaws in Miami for years now.
No, Moustakas was not the marquee name in the annual All-Star event, but the Royals' third baseman still put on a show. Moustakes launched 10 homers in the opening round, which was the most in Home Run Derby history for a Kansas City player, but not enough to advance. Yankees slugger Aaron Judge took home the championship, besting Twins slugger Miguel Sano in the final round.
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By the end of Moustakas' round, the crowd was roaring with every swing.
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"That was one of the most fun things I've ever done," Moustakas said "Adrenaline was building, everything, the whole time. A lot of fun. [It was] cool to be out there, cool to hear the fans."
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In the bracket format for this year's Derby, Moustakas was the No. 4 seed, and put up against Sano (No. 5). The Twins third baseman blasted 11 homers in the opening round, sending the bulk of his shots to deep left field. That put pressure on Moustakas, who came seconds away from matching Sano's output.
"He did a great job. He fought," said Sano, who then defeated Gary Sanchez of the Yankees in the second round. "Everybody did a great job. Everybody worked hard and they competed. It was a great moment for us."
Moustakas finished one home run behind Sano, with his final swing resulting in a low line drive that fell just short of the right-field wall. The crowd let out a collective groan as the buzzer went off, indicating that Moustakas' four minutes had expired.
According to Statcast™, Moustakas' 10th home run was his hardest hit at 114 mph. His longest was his sixth blast, which traveled a projected 442 feet and dropped midway up the second deck beyond right field.
That showing did not help Moustakas advance, but it was the best Derby performance by a Royal in the event's history. Bo Jackson hit only one homer in the 1989 Derby in Anaheim and Danny Tartabull launched two in the '91 Derby in Toronto.
This season, Moustakas has enjoyed a breakout campaign in terms of power production. The third baseman has already established a career best with 25 homers, and his .559 slugging percentage and .863 OPS are both on target to be personal highs. Before this year, Moustakas averaged one homer per 33.6 plate appearances in his first six seasons. He has seen that rate spike to 13.2 this year (329 PA).
"What he did was unbelievable," Royals All-Star catcher Salvador Perez said. "It was his first time here, so that was pretty good for him. I feel great for him. That last swing came pretty close. He did a tremendous job tonight."
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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.