Major League Baseball held the 29th annual Home Run Derby on Monday night. For the first time since the advent of the contest in 1985, the parameters of the event were altered to feature a new rules as well as a new format. Firstly, the derby was conducted in bracket style format, which meant the American League and National League were separated until the final round, and that batters competed head-to-head. Also unlike prior derbies, contestants were given just 7 outs to work with, rather than 10. When the derby finally began after an hour long rain delay, Jose Bautista slugged 10 home runs in the first round, while Giancarlo Stanton put on a display that certainly made Red Sox fans giddy. In the second round, A’s outfielder and defending derby champion Yoenis Cespedes advanced to the semi-finals, while derby dark horse Todd Frazier surpassed Rockies slugger Troy Tulowitzki. In the semi-finals, it was Cesdpedes drilling 6 homers to better Bautista’s 4 to advance to the finals. On the NL side, an uneventful semi-final round saw Frazier move on to the finals by hitting just one out of Target Field. Credit Frazier for getting as far as he did, but when stacked up against the likes of Yoenis Cespedes he provided no contest. Cespedes drill 9 final round home runs, while Frazier was only able to muster a single homer. Cespedes now joins Ken Griffy Jr as the only player to ever win back-to-back home run derbies.
- Henry Owens is still at least a year away from taking the mound at a major league stadium, but his importance to the Red Sox is seemingly growing by the day. Owens, a first round pick by Boston in 2011, has yet to pitch above AAA, but he’s leaving some to wonder if he can fill the shoes atop the Red Sox rotation. (The importance of Henry Owens: Could he be Jon Lester’s heir apparent?)
- For the past 2 or 3 years, Red Sox fans have swooned over the prospect of Giancarlo Stanton taking the field as a member of the Red Sox. However, Boston’s love for Stanton isn’t just confined to the radio and television airwaves in northeast America, Red Sox fans desire for the 24 year old slugger can be felt all the way down to Miami. (Giancarlo Stanton on Boston: “You hear the buzz)
- As it turns out, signing with the Red Sox has been one of the best decisions that Koji Uehara has ever made. Not only has the 39 year old won a World Series and become one of the games most dominate closers, but he’s now an All-Star for the first time in hist career. (Uehara, family soak in All-Star experience)
- Just because it’s the All-Star break doesn’t mean the rumor mill stops. With the Red Sox still projected to sell off some pieces at the end of July, the team is receiving some interest on right handed slugger Jonny Gomes. Of course, Gomes probably won’t bring back a significant return, the free agent to be is still a valuable platoon or bench bat. (Royals interested in Jonny Gomes)
- Ever since the offseason, Jon Lester has made his desire to stay in Boston abundantly clear. In fact, the 30 year old even offered to give Boston a hometown discount in a potential contract extension. Now, still without a contract and inching closer to free agency with each passing start, the southpaw still hopes to get an extension complete. (Lester says desire to stay hasn’t wavered)
- Tweet of the day: One’s a king, the other is a court jester.