Frazier bounces back, dominates in home park

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Todd Frazier made up for last year’s Home Run Derby runner-up finish in a big way.

Frazier joined Ryne Sandberg as the only players to win the Home Run Derby in their home ballparks, as he edged Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson in the final 15-14.

Frazier became the second player in Derby history to win the year after he finished in second place. The other player to do that, Ken Griffey Jr., threw out the ceremonial first pitch for this event. Griffey Jr. lost to Juan Gonzalez in 1993 and won in 1994.

Frazier became the third Reds player to win a Derby. The others were Dave Parker, who won the inaugural Derby in 1985, and Eric Davis, who shared the title in 1989 and was in the ballpark for Frazier’s win.

Frazier dispatched two-time champion Prince Fielder in the first round and fellow third baseman Josh Donaldson in the semifinals.

Pederson set a high bar with his 14 home runs, a Home Run Derby finals record. Frazier, who homered on five of his first 16 swings, homered on 10 of his last 22, including his first swing of “bonus time” (earned by hitting at least two 425-foot home runs that round).

The new format dramatically changed the competition. With hitters able to make more than 10 “outs” (non-home runs) and a time limit of four minutes, pitches came in at a fast pace. This Derby featured 159 home runs, more than twice as many as last year’s 78.

The combined projected distance of the home runs measured by Statcast exceeded 67,000 feet (approximately 12.7 miles). Pederson, who matched Frazier’s 39 total home runs, hit the longest home run. His 487-foot shot was 13 feet longer than the second-longest (Prince Fielder, 474 feet).

Frazier won by hitting line drives. His longest home run was 455 feet, tied for 14th in the competition. Frazier averaged 419 feet per home run, sixth among the eight competitors.

Fielder had the top average distance, at 432 feet, followed by Manny Machado (431). Both were eliminated in the first round.