Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Stanton Dominates Derby

GAME RECAP: Stanton Tops Frazier 20-13

Giancarlo Stanton turned the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Petco Park into a contest of "Can you top this?" For most of the night, the Miami Marlins right fielder found himself trying to outdistance himself, and in the process, he stole the show. In the finals, the fifth-seeded Stanton blasted 20 home runs -- giving him 61 total in three rounds -- as he topped defending champion Todd Frazier of the White Sox, 20-13. Not only did Stanton bring the crowd to its feet with his massive home runs, he also reset Statcast™ home run highs for distance (497 feet) and exit velocity (120.4 mph). In front of an energized crowd and a worldwide audience on ESPN and MLB.com, Stanton showcased his remarkable strength in all three rounds. In the finals, he went first and put the third-seeded Frazier on the defensive. Of Stanton's 20 homers, 11 went 440 feet or more. He became the first Marlins player to win the Home Run Derby. "I grew up watching this," Stanton said. "That's where you built it up, childhood memories; now I will have kids saying the same thing. They watched me do this. I like to return the favor. Can't speak for anyone else." Stanton added a home run with a launch angle of 12.3 degrees, lower than any regular-season home run tracked by Statcast™. The previous lowest also is by Stanton, who hit one at a 13.5-degree angle on April 23, 2015, off Justin DeFratus of the Phillies. "He was hitting moonshots," marveled Frazier afterward. "I thought I was a high school hitter compared to him hitting them that far. I said it was going to be one of the most epic home run battles, and I think it really stepped up to the name." A native of Sherman Oaks, Calif., Stanton relished the opportunity to take part in his second Home Run Derby in his home state. "For sure, being on the West Coast and taking the flight out here just for this, you know," Stanton said. "I figure it's a waste if I don't bring this bad boy home." In the first round, Stanton was matched against the Mariners' Robinson Cano, the fourth seed. It became a mismatch as Stanton racked up 24 homers to Cano's seven. In the semifinals, Stanton toppled Baltimore's Mark Trumbo, the No. 1 overall seed, 17-14. In a meeting of arguably the two strongest in the event, 14 of Stanton's homers traveled 440 feet or farther, matching Trumbo's entire total for the round. As advertised, Stanton was a show stopper whose first round will go down in Home Run Derby lore. His 497-foot drive is the longest home run ever projected by Statcast™. The farthest regular-season homer is by Kris Bryant of the Cubs, who connected on a 495-foot shot on Sept. 6, 2015, off Arizona's Rubby De La Rosa. Also in his first four minutes, Stanton blistered another laser that had an exit velocity of 120.4 mph, the hardest-hit homer Statcast™ has ever tracked. The previous high on a homer by Stanton is 119.2 mph on June 23, 2015, against St. Louis' Carlos Martinez. With four Marlins players in tonight's All-Star Game presented by MasterCard (7:30 p.m. ET on FOX), Stanton also had time in the first round to take a timeout, catch his breath and pose for a selfie with his Miami teammates -- Jose Fernandez, Marcell Ozuna and A.J. Ramos. "That's great. That's what it's about," Stanton said. "Having them, and on the flight over, they were like, 'This is what we're going to do, this and that.' So we had a plan going, and I'm glad it worked out." At the conclusion of Stanton's round, all the All-Stars showed their appreciation, with David Ortiz giving some Big Papi praise by bowing to the Miami slugger. Over the course of the night, Stanton decisively established power readings at a historic rate: Stanton had the 20 hardest-hit home runs of the night; He had the 10 longest home runs; Stanton's average home run distance was 446 feet. The next highest was Trumbo at 432.8 feet. The other seven hitters combined for an average home run distance of 412 feet; His average exit velocity on home runs was 111.9 mph. The next highest was Trumbo at 108.5 mph. The other seven hitters had an average exit velocity of 105.4 mph on their homers; Stanton's home runs traveled a total projected distance of 27,187 feet, which is 5.15 miles and 9,918 feet more than any other competitor. Frazier was second with a total distance of 17,269 feet. "I didn't hit one over 440," said Adam Duvall, who lost out to Frazier in the semifinals. "He hit most of his over 440. That's just unreal, man. The power that he has is unreal." Stanton picked Pat Shine, the Marlins' Major League administrative coach, as his designated pitcher. Many Miami players praise Shine's tosses, because they are right down the middle. "No-brainer," Stanton said of going with Shine. "I don't think I took more than five balls, so he is just as important to this as I was." Stanton, like Frazier, was selected to the Derby without being picked for the All-Star Game. With a single-minded focus on one event, Stanton was locked in to bringing the Derby trophy to South Florida. "I have been around him for three years, so I am just really happy for him," Shine said. "He's one of the most intense competitors that anybody has ever been around. So I knew he wanted to win it." Stanton actually is a three-time All-Star, but he was able to only take part in 2014, missing in '12 and '15 due to injuries. Despite posting a .233/.328/.495 slash line in the first half, Stanton heated up in Miami's last five games, belting five home runs while driving in 10 runs. The slugger entered the break with 20 homers and 50 RBIs. "I'm so proud of him," Ozuna said. "He was struggling a little, and then they invited him to the Home Run Derby, and he wins it. That's beautiful."

  • Left-hander Daniel Stumpf returned to the Phillies July 10 after serving an 80-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs. Philadelphia acquired Stumpf from Kansas City last December in the Rule 5 Draft. He pitched in three games before being suspended.
  • Active members of the Mets have hit a combined .307 against Hellickson, with Jose Reyes having recorded a .381 batting average to go along with one homer and four RBIs.
  • Mets manager Terry Collins has expressed hope that Yoenis Cespedes would be ready to play by the end of the All-Star break. Cespedes, who sustained a right quad strain July 8, leads the Mets with 21 homers and 52 RBIs. In 26 at-bats against the Phillies in the first half of the year, Cespedes hit .269 with three homers and six RBIs.

After limping into the All-Star break with a slew of injuries to key players, the Mets turn to Jacob deGrom (5-4, 2.61 ERA) to set the tone for the second half of the season July 15 against the Phillies, who counter with Jeremy Hellickson (6-6, 3.92 ERA). deGrom and Bartolo Colon have been the only regular members of the Mets' starting rotation to avoid injury issues in recent weeks. Matt Harvey opted for season-ending surgery to repair his thoracic outlet syndrome, while Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard have both been pitching through bone spurs; Syndergaard left his start July 8 with a "dead arm." Hellickson has provided a veteran presence in a young Phillies pitching staff, but his name has floated around in trade rumors. The Mets could be in the market for a starter given all their issues, but there's been no indication Hellickson could be an option for them.


From Rule 5 To All Star – Tonight, Odubel Herrera will suit up in yet another All-Star Game. This one, however, will be in a league of its own. Just two years ago, Herrera was a little-known player in a prospect-rich Rangers organization, performing well enough to earn Texas League (Double-A) All-Star honors for a second straight season but going unprotected in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft. That allowed the Phillies to add him that December, and since then he's risen at a rapid pace. On Monday he appeared at media day in advance of the Midsummer Classic (7:30 tonight on FOX), and he was joined by his proud parents, Odubel Sr. and Nerida, who flew to San Diego to share in this special day. But for as much as Herrera is a prominent part of the Phillies' future, the 24-year-old leadoff hitter carries great appeal in the way he reminds folks of the last Phillies powerhouse. With a style resembling that of Shane Victorino -- the club's other golden Rule 5 ticket (from 2004) -- the native Venezuelan brings a great deal of passion to the ballpark each day. A bat-flipper following homers and sac flies alike -- and a clapper after taking his walks -- Herrera has made major contributions in multiple categories this year. Entering the Midsummer Classic, he ranks fourth among National League outfielders in on-base percentage (.378), fifth in hits (96) and 10th in batting average (.294). He's also chipped in 12 steals. Much of Herrera's success can be ascribed to his improved plate discipline, as he's walked at an impressive 11.6 percent clip following a meager 5.2 rate as a rookie. "Last year, I was striking out a lot. During the offseason, it was a goal that I put to myself to improve [my plate discipline]. And I think that's what we've seen," he said. "He's a special guy," said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin. "I call him a hit collector. I don't know how he does it sometimes." Odubel Sr. agreed with the skipper's sentiments. "Basically, [when he reached] the age of 12, I started to realize he could be a great player, possibly a professional player," Herrera's father said at MLB's media day on Monday. Both of Herrera's parents are visiting the United States, carefully following Phillies games. Despite a few bumps in the road along the way, the sophomore Major Leaguer has accomplished something rare in earning All-Star accolades just 19 months after his Rule 5 selection. Players picked in the December Draft are essentially viewed as lottery tickets, with only a select few making it big. While the 42-48 Phillies have room to improve during the season's second half, core pieces are already in place in Herrera, slugging third baseman Maikel Franco and several promising starters. "It makes me feel really good to be on a team with so much young talent -- talent that can evolve," Herrera said. But with multiple promising prospects in Philadelphia's pipeline, including several young outfielders, some have speculated that Herrera could one day revive his work as an infielder. "I came up as a second baseman, but now I am playing outfield. I am feeling good in the outfield and will continue to work hard [out there]," he said. Regardless of where he plays, Herrera will almost certainly continue to contribute a keen eye at the plate, enviable athleticism and an unbridled love for the game.

Today In Phils History – Cincinnati’s Noodles Hahn starts this day as he no hit the Phillies in 1900. 6 years later, Sherry Magee set a team record by stealing 4 bases in a single game include three in the 9th when, after being hit by a pitch, he stole 2nd, 3rd, and home in the loss. Unbeknownst to many phans Hall of Famer Johnny Evers briefly played for the Phillies after the team claimed him off waivers from the Braves on this day in 1917. 40 years later, Robin Roberts set a dubious MLB record when he surrendered his record setting 280th homerun, a record he would hold for more than 50 years until it was surpassed by another Phillie, Jamie Moyer. And, finally, Phillies closer Doug Jones earned the win for the NL in the 1994 All Star Game in Pittsburgh.  

The Phillies are currently 42-48 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 36-52-0 on this day. I expect the Phillies to finish in the bottom half of the division but not last in the NL East by finishing the season with a 77-85 record.

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