Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has been touted as one of baseball’s rising stars all season long — but with his performance in last night’s Home Run Derby, Vlad Jr. made himself known in a big way.
The 20-year-old came out swinging, hitting 29 balls over the Progressive Field fence in Cleveland in the first round to break the previous record of 28. The Toronto Blue Jay matched his record in the second round, slamming 29 dingers — a number that was matched by Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers. After three tie-break rounds, Vlad Jr. narrowly edged out Pederson by a score of 40-39.
In the final round, the rising star lost to Pete Alonso, the New York Mets’ rookie first baseman. Alonso — who has already broken the Mets’ rookie home run record this season with 30 long balls — nabbed the $1 million prize after beating Carlos Santana and Ronald Acuna Jr. in previous rounds.
Guerrero Jr. was the youngest MLBer to ever participate in the Home Run Derby, and he did so in style. The rookie was clad in custom UA Yard cleats, which featured numbers printed along the cleat plate corresponding to Progressive Field’s dimensions and a vamp speckled with tiny aerial outlines of the park. The UA Yard is a popular choice for pros and amateurs alike, boasting a comfy molded sockliner, nine metal spikes and a stretch heels collar.
While Alonso came home with the big money, Vlad Jr. had a Derby for the record books. In addition to breaking the single round record with 29 moon shots, the star also hit the most total homers in the competition’s history, with 91.
For Guerrero Jr., home run hitting is in the DNA. His father Vladimir Guerrero, a 9-time All-Star and 2018 Hall of Fame inductee, won the Home Run Derby in 2007.
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