Derby champ Fielder goes the distance

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
12:58
AM ET

John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty ImagesPrince Fielder hit the four longest homers of the night to capture his second HR Derby crown.
After hitting just five home runs in the first round of Monday’s Home Run Derby, Prince Fielder looked like he might not even advance to the next round. Fast forward to night’s end and he was the one holding his second derby title.

In his fourth appearance at the event, Fielder bested Jose Bautista 12-7 in the finals to become just the second player to ever win multiple derbies. Ken Griffey Jr. was a three-time champion.

For the Detroit Tigers first baseman, it was more than merely putting the ball in the stands. Fielder put on a show for the Kansas City crowd, blasting one towering drive after another with his uppercut swing. Not surprisingly, those massive cuts resulted in some eye-popping distances.

Fielder hit the four longest shots of the 82 hit in the evening, crushing two balls that traveled 476 feet and also hitting home runs of 464 and 461 feet. In total, Fielder smashed 28 homers with 10 measuring at least 440 feet. On the night, his home runs had an average distance of 432.3 feet “actual” feet.

The slugger’s early struggles did not prevent him from catching fire in the second round, when his 11 blasts outpaced competitors Carlos Beltran, Mark Trumbo and Bautista. He then went on to clobber 12 home runs in the finals, tied for the most ever in the closing round with Robinson Cano, who did so last year.

Seven of the last eight winners have been left-handed batters, including the last 5 champions: Cano, David Ortiz, Justin Morneau and Fielder’s pair.

CANO’S TOUGH NIGHT
Cano’s attempt to defend his title Monday night did not go well. The New York Yankees second baseman and captain of the AL squad failed to hit a home run, joining Brandon Inge, Jason Bay, Bret Boone and Troy Glaus as the only players in the last 15 years to go homerless in the derby. In doing so, Cano became the first defending champion to come up with no home runs.

While Cano received plenty of negative reaction from the fans in K.C. for not choosing any Royals to participate in the derby, the crowd was fully behind Fielder, who has just 15 home runs in his first season with the Tigers. The lefty moved into fifth place all-time in derby homers with 63.

AMERICAN WAY
Matt Kemp’s NL squad did not have a chance of hanging with Fielder; his 28 homers were more than the four National Leaguers combined. The AL has won the event the last five years that the two leagues have competed head-to-head (1992, 1993, 1994, 2011, 2012).

In quality and quantity, Fielder owned the night.

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