Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Joc Pederson edged by Todd Frazier in thrilling Home Run Derby final

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By Jon Weisman

Joc Pederson was an absolute smash at the first round of this year’s Home Run Derby in Cincinnati, before falling by the slimmest of margins.

Hometown hero Todd Frazier of Cincinnati went all the way to bonus time to edge Pederson in the final round tonight, 15-14, though Pederson — blasting distance-shattering homers to all fields — dazzled the nationwide audience like none other, and muted a history of Dodger disappointments at the event.

Pederson, seeded fourth in the event, won his first-round match against No. 5 seed Manny Machado with ease, needing only 2:54 of his allotted four minutes to top Machado’s 12 home runs. He hit the longest home run of any of the eight participants in the first round: 487 feet.

“He’s got that L.A. swag,” Frazier, watching, praised Pederson on ESPN.

That earned Pederson a semifinal matchup against cross-county rival and No. 1 seed Albert Pujols, who broke into the Major Leagues when Pederson was 8 years old.

In that round, Pederson started more slowly, with three homers in the first 2:10. But after using his timeout (each player had one per round), Pederson came up with a huge finishing kick, blasting six homers in the final 110 seconds and then three more in the 30 seconds of bonus time he earned, to give him 12.

Pujols, by contrast, seemed well on his way to victory early when, with about 90 seconds to go, he started to run aground, evincing signs of a problem with his lower hand, and finished regulation time with 10 homers. After regrouping before his bonus time, Pujols quickly hit No. 11, but could do no more, and by the smallest margin, Pederson advanced to the final against Frazier.

Pederson was the only player who went first in either of the first two rounds to advance.

In the final, Pederson went the first minute without homering, then homered on an amazing six consecutive swings, taking his timeout with 2:15 left. When he came back to the plate, he had plenty of quantity and quality left, finishing regulation with 13 homers and adding a 14th in bonus time.

Johnny Washington, the Dodgers hitting coach in Triple-A Oklahoma City and the man Pederson credits for refining his swing, came through in throwing all the pitches Pederson needed.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Pederson said immediately after his final round, and before Frazier stepped up for his bid to win. “I’m really tired right now. It’s a dream come true. This is something you watched as little kids, and to actually have it happen and I’m here is kind of surreal. I’m just grateful that I had the opportunity and J-Wash came out to help out.”

Frazier got to six homers halfway through his turn and reached 11 with a minute to go in regulation. He tied Pederson with 10 seconds to go. On his final swing at the buzzer, he fell a few feet short, leaving himself tied with Pederson, 14-14. But on his first swing of bonus time, Frazier frenzied the crowd with the Derby-winning shot to left field.

The new time-limited, distance-rewarding Home Run Derby format was a huge improvement over past years, turning the event into a March Madness like thrill instead of the slow bleed it had become. It’s sure to stay part of the event, although some wag will no doubt take it too far and suggest that baseball actually replace innings with a game clock. We’ll have none of that, wag.

Just more of this …


Zack Greinke to start All-Star Game, Joc Pederson in left


August 2 game offer: $15 off selected seats, thanks to Joc Pederson


  1. Seems to me there needs to be a way to assure that the participants in each round get the same amount of rest time. Joc had to come right back in the final; whereas, Frazier had an extra 10 minutes or so. Could have been the difference. Mayve.

  2. oldbrooklynfan

    Unfortunately, for me, I decided to skip the HR Derby this year. I usually watch when a Dodger participates in it but not this year. I got home just in time to see Frazier win it. I guess I was bad luck for Joc.

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