Shin-Soo Choo drew a walk in the top of the third inning of tonight’s Rangers-Red Sox game and in so doing he extended his on-base streak to 48 games.
His last game, two days ago, was the 47th straight game, and in doing that he broke the Texas Rangers team record. With number 48 he extends that and ties Joey Votto of the Reds for the longest such streak since 2007, when Kevin Millar did it in 52 straight games. That “since 2007” designation came via Jay Jaffe over at FanGraphs the other day. Kay noted that for illustrative purposes regarding Choo’s recent company. If you want to go into all-time territory Choo is nowhere close to the record, held by Ted Williams with a whopping 84 straight games of reaching base. If you want to change the range to, say, the last 25 years, Orlando Cabrera is your huckleberry, sitting at 63 games in 2006.
As of the moment of this writing, Choo is hitting .292/.399/.503 with 17 homers on the year.
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.