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Giancarlo Stanton hits many dingers, wins Home Run Derby

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Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton came into Monday’s Home Run Derby at Petco Park as a number five seed due to a slightly underwhelming first half in which he hit only 20 home runs. The seeding was done based on first half home run totals. It might’ve been a little off.

In racking up prodigious home run totals each round, Stanton also hit many dingers very far. Early in the finals, ESPN put up this graphic, showing the longest homers of the Derby, which included all participants. I could only laugh after seeing it:

MLB.com’s Daren Willman did yeoman’s work providing Statcast data throughout the Derby. At the end of it, here’s a look at the damage Stanton did:

(The second column is the home run distance, the third column is the exit velocity.)

Stanton jacked 24 homers in the first round, which might’ve demoralized his first round bracket opponent Robinson Cano. The Mariners’ second baseman could only manage seven home runs, about three and a half times fewer home runs than Stanton hit.

Stanton opened up the second round having to overcome Orioles outfielder Mark Trumbo, who rivaled Stanton in terms of his power display. It wasn’t too farfetched to think Trumbo could knock Stanton out, but it wasn’t to be. The Marlins’ slugger, who Christian Yelich said was not a mortal man, nailed 17 home runs. Trumbo was able to hit the video board — something which Stanton said he was targeting in a pregame interview — but he totaled only 14, sending Stanton to the finals.

On the other side of the bracket, White Sox third baseman and defending Home Run Derby champion Todd Frazier knocked out Carlos Gonzalez in the first round 13-12, then took down Reds outfielder Adam Duvall 16-15 to advance to the finals against Stanton.

In the finals, Stanton hit first and though visibly exhausted, it didn’t show in the results. Stanton continued to hit long-distance homers, including one of his 497-foot shots. He wound up with 20 homers in his final round. Frazier was unable to match that, settling for 13 homers, dropping the 2016 Home Run Derby to Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton is the first member of the Marlins to win a Derby, though perhaps the least surprising winner.

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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