Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were the clear favorites to win the 2017 Home Run Derby, and when Stanton was knocked out in round one by an excellent Gary Sanchez performance, Judge was suddenly all alone with all the expectations in the world.
Those expectations didn’t appear to impact him negatively at all, as Judge hit 23 homers in his first round to eliminate Justin Bour, who had been the leader of the Derby to that point with 22. Judge then finished round two early, sending Cody Bellinger packing in a battle of Rookie of the Year candidates with 13 longballs with about a minute left on the clock.
Judge then was in total control in the finals, where Miguel Sano seemed to struggle to get to 10, while Judge notched dinger number 11 with 1:53 left in the round — and 2:23 if you want to count the 30 seconds of bonus time he left on the table. Let’s not forget, too, that Judge also hit the ball the farthest: he had multiple blasts over 500 feet, including a dizzying 513 footer that still doesn’t sound real.
That’s 47 homers in three rounds en route to the 2017 Derby title, which, given Judge is just 25 years old, might not be his only one. Of course, there’s always some other young slugger ready to dethrone the king — Judge, at 25, was actually the oldest player left by the time the semis rolled around. Bellinger, Sano, and others will have other chances in the future, too.