Drawing inspiration from the home fans at Nationals Park, Harper bested Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy in the first two rounds before topping Chicago Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber in an epic final round, 19 homers to 18. Harper hit 45 home runs total during the event.
Bryce Harper puts on a show in 2018 Home Run Derby
The night was dominated by the Nationals’ superstar. Harper easily took out Freeman and Muncy to advance to the final round, but Schwarber gave him plenty of trouble. Harper was down big with under a minute left. That’s when this happened.
Bryce Harper just hit nine home runs in 47 seconds. My god.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 17, 2018
Harper belted an unreal nine home runs in the final 47 seconds to tie Schwarber with 18 home runs. The last round went to bonus time, when Harper crushed a shot to deep center and celebrated by throwing his bat high into the air.
Much of the night felt like a send-off from Harper to the Nationals fans. He took every opportunity to tell them how much he appreciated them during interviews. Harper enthusiastically riled up the crowd and made sure to give them shout outs throughout the duration of the event.
He also made sure to send them home happy.
Best matchup of the 2018 Home Run Derby
It may have lacked star power, but the 2018 Home Run Derby didn’t lack drama or excitement. There were so many terrific matchups throughout the event, aside from the thrilling final round. The second round battle between Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins proved to be the best on the undercard, as Schwarber mounted an amazing comeback with 21 home runs. He even added a bat flip for emphasis on his walk-off swing.
Home Run Derby bat flip. Inject it into my veins. pic.twitter.com/yZeCXXry67
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) July 17, 2018
Max Muncy knocking off Javier Báez in walk-off fashion in the first round was thrilling too. Báez was a popular pick among fans, and didn’t disappoint at all with his strong showing. However, Muncy added to his incredible underdog story by battling back to advance.
The Schwarber-Bregman first round battle was a lot of fun because of the drama and the clashing styles. Schwarber took his time while launching 16 skyscrapers. Bregman, on the other hand, worked faster while hitting 15 wallscrapers. Unlike Schwarber, he didn’t earn the extra time for hitting at least two 440-foot home runs, and that cost him.
Best moment of the 2018 Home Run Derby
Fellow Astros and All-Stars George Springer, Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Jose Altuve weren’t just supportive teammates, they were the ultimate cheering section, jumping up and down with every home run and rallying around him during a timeout when he needed an extra boost.
— Stephen Nelson (@StephenNelson) July 17, 2018
Bregman was one of the surprises of the event, blasting 15 home runs during his fast-paced first round. Unfortunately, he ran into a home run-hitting machine in Schwarber, who bested him with 16. It was the best moment that didn’t involve Harper.
Most disappointing performance in the 2018 Home Run Derby?
Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar earned the No. 1 seed with his breakout first half. Aguilar entered with 24 homers, good for the most in the National League and the most among 2018 Home Run Derby participants. Unfortunately, he only managed 12 in his first-round loss to Rhy Hoskins, which tied Freddie Freeman for the lowest total.
Where is the Home Run Derby next season?
In 2019, the All-Star festivities will move to Progressive Field in Cleveland. Hopefully that will be enough to entice Cleveland Indians stars Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor to partcipate in the Home Run Derby. It’s always more fun when the hometown team is represented. Both All-Stars would also greatly boost the event’s star power.