There aren’t any changes in the American League All-Star balloting from last week, but tonight’s update shows that there are still a few positions up for grabs.
The most high-profile one is at shortstop, where Derek Jeter holds a slim lead over Alexei Ramirez. Ramirez obviously has a strong case based on his half-season stats — he’s having a wonderful year — but Jeter still figures to pull away in his final season. It’s just taking a little longer than you’d expect.
Jose Bautista, the AL’s leading vote-getter, and Mike Trout are in fine position to start in the outfield, but the third spot is still wide open. Melky Cabrera leads the way while Yoenis Cespedes, Adam Jones, and Jacoby Ellsbury aren’t too far behind. Second base and the DH spot are also still pretty competitive.
It’s worth noting that Matt Wieters, who will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery tomorrow, still has the lead at the catcher position. Brian McCann ranks second and Derek Norris is in third. Check out the full update below:
Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.
Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.
Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.
As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.