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Guerrero Jr. loses Home Run Derby despite record-setting laser show

·MLB Writer
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Less than an hour into the Home Run Derby, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had already both put on a show and set a record.

Guerrero Jr. was remarkable from beginning to end, putting together the best total in the history of the event with a gaudy 91 home runs. The only thing that could stop him was a Derby finals record of 23 bombs from Pete Alonso.

After Alex Bregman showed how difficult Progressive Field was on right-handers by continually smashing the ball off the left-field wall in the first round, Vladdy crushed 29 home runs - effortlessly swatting ball after ball into the crowd.

He immediately matched his own excellence with 29 in the following round for a grand total of 58. That was already just three short of the single Derby record of 61 set by Giancarlo Stanton back in 2016 with one more round for the rookie to play:

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Joc Pederson rose to the level of Vladdy’s brilliance and forced two overtimes. In one minute plus six swings, he took 11 over the wall. Celebrating the final shot he knew put Pederson in a hole, the Toronto phenom gave the Dodgers outfielder a huge hug at the plate. By the time their duel was done, Guerrero Jr. hit 40 home runs in the round - almost certainly an unbreakable record to go along with his unprecedented 69 total.

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In the finals he slowed down, but only by his own absolutely absurd standards. In fact, his final round of 22 bombs set a record for the Derby’s last round - just in case he needed another record. If it had stood for more than a few minutes, he would have had an extra $1 million in his pocket.

Not only did Guerrero Jr. put up records, he didn’t dabble with wall-scrapers; the rookie easily earned his bonus 30 seconds in each round as an enormous percentage of his home runs travelled 450 feet or more.

Unlike previous single-round record holder Josh Hamilton, Guerrero Jr. was able to sustain his momentum through three rounds, it just wasn’t quite enough.

Alonso may have taken home the money, but the night belonged to Vladdy - whose performance won’t soon be forgotten.

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