New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso repeated as Home Run Derby champ with an awesome display of raw power on Monday.
Long live the king.
While all eyes were on Shohei Ohtani in the Home Run Derby at Coors Field on Monday night, New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso reminded everyone that he still has the most effortless, powerful swing in the league. Alonso hit 23 home runs to defeat Baltimore’s Trey Mancini in the final and become the third player to repeat as Derby champion, joining Ken Griffey Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes.
Alonso made it look easy. There was no fatigue setting in for him in Denver’s thin air. He remained cool, taking in the moment and enjoying every bit of it.
He only seemed to get stronger as the night wore on. Needing 22 homers to beat Mancini, he hit 12 in his first 16 swings and 17 by the time he reached his extra minute. He took six swings in the additional time; all of them left the park, the last a 480-foot shot that gave him the trophy yet again. Of his 29 swings in the final, 23 went for a home run.
“I’ve done this before and I’m extremely confident in my ability to hit the ball out of the yard,” he told ESPN’’s Buster Olney after wrapping up his dominant display of power. “I feel like I’m the best power hitter in the game and it was on display tonight.”
It sure was. Ohtani went out in the first round, losing a swing off to Juan Soto. Joey Gallo, another pre-Derby favorite, hit just 19 and was knocked out by hometown hero Trevor Story. Alonso, the defending champion from 2019 when he beat Vladimir Guerrero Jr., was almost a forgotten man when the baseball world descended on Denver for the 2021 edition.
He then went out and hit 35 home runs in the first round, the most in Derby history for a round that didn’t require a swing off. Two of his home runs traveled more than 510 feet, the longest coming in at 514 feet. He made quick work of Soto in the second round, not even needing the additional minute to advance to the final. Then came his brilliant finish against Mancini.
Pete Alonso shows he belongs in the conversation for MLB’s elite power hitters
Alonso isn’t an All-Star this season, but he’s proving that the Derby is his time to shine. He hit 74 home runs on Monday and now has 131 in his career, the most of any player. And he’s done it in the only two Derbys to be held since he came into the league just three seasons ago.
“The Polar Bear” already has 86 home runs in his first 295 career games. Only Ryan Howard, the 2006 Derby champ, ever hit more that quickly. The league will turn its attention on Tuesday to Ohtani, Guerrero and all the other power hitters in the game. But for three glorious hours on Monday, Alonso showed that, when it comes to just brute strength, there is nobody better in Major League Baseball.