What’s better for the game of baseball than a good ol’ fashioned pitcher’s duel or a slugfest! The former takes a bit more precise timing than the latter, which we may very well see in this year’s All-Star Home Run Derby.
MLB just dropped the ball on its 2017 Home Run Derby seeds, and it’s very hard not to recognize the potential matchup between Giancarlo Stanton (#1 seed) of the Miami Marlins and Aaron Judge (#2 seed) of the New York Yankees. While MLB has Judge as the #2 seed, in baseball reality, the rookie leads the majors with 29 home runs. Moreover, the 6’7″ 25-year old kid is fun to watch and looks like the future of the Yankees.
Once selected in the 2010 Major League Baseball draft by the Oakland Athletics, Judge opted to enroll at CSU Northridge instead and was later drafted by the Yankees in 2013. After battling an injury and working his way up through the minors, Judge finally made his big league debut in late 2016 and has earned his right of passage as a mainstay this year. Make no bones about it, this kid is the real deal. He played just about every sport and every position in high school and played all of them well — from pitcher to first basemen to wide receiver to being dubbed an “all state” center on the basketball team. To put it lightly, he’s built for the spotlight.
Aaron Judge aside, we all know what Giancarlo Stanton can do. He’s the reigning 2016 Home Run Derby champ that hit 61-homers in three rounds last year, with many of his moonshots measuring well over 440-feet. Twenty-four of those shots came in the first round against Robinson Cano. One of Stanton’s bombs measured 491-feet in last year’s final round, and six of them measured more than 480-feet. Don’t let this year’s MLB game-time home runs fool you (Stanton has 23 vs. Judge with 29), there’s a reason why Stanton’s still the man. When he’s locked-in, there’s nothing anyone can do.
While this looks to be one helluva matchup if all goes as expected, it would have been nice to see a couple of additional names in the derby, particularly those of George Springer (Houston Astros) and Khris Davis (Oakland A’s). Both guys hit 25 and 23 home runs, respectively. For now, the stage is set, so let’s hope for some nice fireworks from the #1 and #2. I’ll stick with the veteran Stanton to come out as the victor, but who knows, we could witness the coming-of-age of the kid!
(This article was originally published on July 6, 2017)