Today was HR Derby Day and there were 10 participants (pictured below in the gallery). Ty Wright was the PA announcer/comedian, sometimes slipping in a Michael Buffer impersonation.
Some of his one liners…
- “Jonathan Sierra is the youngest participant at age 13” (He is actually 16).
- “Don’t get excited everyone, that’s not Ivan Drago, that’s Ian Happ”
- “And coming all the way from the good Korea, Kwang-Min Kwon…”
The players were involved in the fun too. Eloy Jimenez and Chris Pieters were cheering everyone on. Frandy De La Rosa, Andruw Monasterio, and Jose Paniagua acted like the corner guys in a boxing ring, offering water, a towel, an occasional slap on the backside, and perhaps some words of support. Here is Frandy De La Rosa offering Matt Rose his support…
Vimael Machin was cracking everyone up — especially Kevonte Mitchell — with his rather unique sideline commentary. Machin, by the way, is about as fluent a bilingual speaker as I’ve heard. That will come in handy as a catcher, a position he is converting to this fall.
As for the Derby itself, DJ Wilson jumped out to an early lead with 10 points. The scoring was 1 point for each HR and 3 pts for a HR with the Golden Baseball, which was thrown every 5 pitches (pictured in the gallery below). He may not have been the biggest contestant out there, but he showed some serious bat speed. You can see a couple of swings here…
Catcher Ian Rice and 2B Ian Happ shared 2nd place deep into the first round for the right to challenge Wilson in the finals — but both were eliminated when 17 year old Kwang-Min Kwon went on a HR binge, even topping Wilson with 11 points.
DJ Wilson didn’t fare as well in the championship round, getting just 4 pts. That set the stage for Kwon (with some time out support from Monasterio)…and he delivered. Kwon then rounded the bases to chant of “Kwon, Kwon, Kwon…”, was mobbed by his teammates…and got a bit of an early shower as he reached home plate.
This was a a lot of fun. The players have been working hard on drills (including earlier today), so it was kind of fun to see them let loose a little.
Side note: Eloy Jimenez was pulled at the last minute from the HR competition to give others a chance — but he put on a show in regular BP, where he put a couple on the roof of the Performance Center beyond the LF wall. Dan Vogelbach and Willson Contreras also showed up to take some BP, showing the kids the kind of consistent good swings and hard contact they should hope to make one day.
Below is a gallery of the contestants in the order that they participated…
Congrats to Kwon!
Filed under: Uncategorized