Washington Nationals’ superstar, Bryce Harper, won the 2018 T-Mobile Home Run Derby in front of his hometown fans. Harper won the title in comeback fashion, defeating Cubs slugger, Kyle Schwarber in the final round. This is the first Home Run Derby title for Bryce Harper, after finishing in second place in 2013. Harper came into the event as the number 2 seed, but finished the night as the top slugger in baseball.
Harper was never really challenged in his first two rounds of the competition. The Washington slugger knocked out 7 seed and division rival, Freddie Freeman, in the first round of the competition. Harper needed just over 3 minutes in the first round to hit his 13 home runs which was one more than Freeman’s twelve.
In the semifinal round, Harper was able to hit his way past Dodgers rising star, Max Muncy, to advance to the finals. Again, Harper did not need his allotted 4 minutes to dispatch Muncy with 13 home runs. Muncy had advanced to the semifinal round with a tremendous opening round of 17 home runs. Muncy defeated Cubs superstar, Javier Baez, in the opening round of the competition.
On the other side of the bracket, it was another Cubs’ player that was wreaking havoc in the competition. Kyle Schwarber put on an epic opening round performance with 17 mammoth blasts to just edge out Astros star, Alex Bregman in the first round of the competition. Bregman just missed a tying home run as time expired as his final blast hit off the left-center field wall.
Schwarber advanced to the semifinal round where he took on Philadelphia Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins came into the contest as the number 8 seed, but blew past top seed, Jesus Aguilar, in the opening round with 17 home runs. Hoskins led off the semifinal matchup by hitting 20 bombs and looked to be in great shape to reach the final. Schwarber proved to have too much power for Hoskins, and advanced to the final round by hitting his 21st home run as time expired in his round, setting up what would be one of the greatest final rounds in Derby history.
Kyle Schwarber led off the final round in the 2018 T-Mobile Home Run Derby, knowing that he would have to post a high score if he was going to hold off Harper. Schwarber blasted 18 home runs in the final round, including a few mammoth blasts that reached the upper deck at Nationals Park. Schwarber admitted that he was, “running out of gas,” as the final round came to a close.
Harper then stepped to the plate and delivered a memorable and historic performance in front of his beloved fans. Harper appeared to be struggling through the first 3 minutes of his final round but belted nine home runs in the final minute to tie the 18 home runs hit by Schwarber. Harper then hit the second pitch in the extra time over the centerfield fence for the victory.