Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Pederson, Guerrero, Acuña, Alonso advance to second round of Home Run Derby

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The second round of the 2019 Home Run Derby has been set at Progressive Field. Joc Pederson defeated Alex Bregman 21-16, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. defeated Matt Chapman 29-13, Ronald Acuña Jr. defeated Josh Bell 25-18, and Pete Alonso edged Carlos Santana 14-13. Guerrero will now face off against Pederson while Acuña will match up with Alonso in the second round.

Pederson kicked things off, mashing 21 taters ahead of Bregman. No one hit 20 homers in the first round of last year’s Derby, so it looked like it might stand as the largest first-round total. Pederson’s longest homer went 452 while averaging 413 overall. Bregman, participating in back-to-back Derbies, managed only 16, one more than last year. His longest homer went 417 feet and averaged only 388 feet.

Guerrero had the most impressive showing, blasting a new Home Run Derby single round record 29 homers. He maxed out at 476 feet while averaging 421.5 feet on his homers. Chapman’s 13 homers only looked small by comparison as it’s normally a respectable total. Chapman hit one 477 feet and averaged 432 feet.

Acuña was no slouch himself, knocking out 25 long balls ahead of Bell, claiming sole possession of the third-most homers hit in a single round. His longest homer went 469 feet while averaging 428 feet. Bell got off to a slow start and never really got on a roll, but still managed 18 which also only seemed small by comparison. Bell’s longest homer went 459 feet while averaging 416 feet.

Alonso edged Santana in what was by far the most disappointing of the four match-ups in the first round. Santana, the hometown hero, couldn’t get any momentum, finishing with 13. It looked like a cakewalk for Alonso, but he could also not find a streak. His final swing of the first round went over the fence. As a result of having hit at least two homers 440-plus feet, he unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time, so he would’ve beaten Santana anyway, but he didn’t need to.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.