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Pete Alonso defeats Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2019 Home Run Derby

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In a battle of rookies in the final round of the 2019 Home Run Derby at Progressive Field, Mets first baseman Pete Alonso defeated Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Alonso swatted 23 home runs to Guerrero’s 22. Given what Guerrero did in the two rounds prior, it has a Josh Hamilton-Justin Morneau feel. Like Guerrero, Hamilton set what was then the single-round record with 28 home runs, but lost in the finals to Justin Morneau. Hamilton out-homered Morneau overall 35 to 22. Guerrero out-homered Alonso 91 to 57.

Alonso didn’t appear to be on his way to a victory. He struggled in the first round, only escaping by the skin of his teeth with a 14-13 victory over hometown hero Carlos Santana. He had a last-second victory over Ronald Acuña Jr. in the second round as well, winning 20-19. His pitcher, his cousin Derek Morgan, also appeared to need some time to warm up.

The 2019 Home Run Derby was quite enjoyable, even beyond the all-rookie finals and Guerrero’s back-and-forth battle with Pederson. Ronald Acuña Jr. hit 25 home runs, ousting Josh Bell who hit “only” 18 dingers in the first round. Alonso narrowly escaped with the win in each of the first two rounds, beating hometown hero Carlos Santana 14-13 then sending Acuña to the showers 20-19 in the second round. There were many tape-measure home runs and there was much drama.

For winning the Derby, Alonso earned a $1 million prize. Guerrero got $500,000 while the other six contestants took home $150,000. As both are rookies earning the major league minimum, Alonso nearly doubled his 2019 salary by winning the Home Run Derby while Guerrero nearly matched his salary.

Ned Yost to retire as Royals manager

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The Kansas City Royals just announced that Ned Yost will retire following the final game of the season. Mike Matheny will take over as the Royals manager for the 2020 season.

Yost, 65, led the Royals to victory in the 2015 World Series and to back-to-back American League pennants in 2014 and 2015. He will retire as the winningest manager in Royals history. In ten years at the helm in Kansas City he is 744-836 with five games remaining. Before he managed the Royals he managed the Milwaukee Brewers for six seasons, compiling a 457-502 record. In all, he is 1,201-1,338. When he’s done on Sunday he will finish 32nd all-time in games managed with 2,544.

The Royals now will look for the man who will, hopefully, see the current rebuild through. Multiple reporters have cited former St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny as Yost’s likely replacement. He currently serves as a special advisor in the club’s player development department. He managed the Cards from 2012-18, winning the NL pennant in 2013 and finishing with a record of 591-474 in St. Louis.

Here is the Royals official statement on Yost’s retirement: