Vlad Guerrero Jr. Takes Home the 2023 Home Run Derby
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. emerged as the victor in a thrilling showdown at the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby, held at T-Mobile Park which sure had exciting MLB Lines. The event showcased remarkable performances from rising stars Julio Rodriguez and Adley Rutschman.
The anticipation peaked in the first round when local hero Julio Rodriguez faced off against the reigning Derby champion, Pete Alonso. Rodriguez did not disappoint, captivating the home crowd with a mesmerizing display of power, smashing a record-breaking 41 home runs in a single round.
The opening round also saw Randy Arozarena launch an impressive 24 homers, securing a win against Adolis Garcia. Adley Rutschman showcased his switch-hitting prowess, blasting 27 longballs, only to be narrowly surpassed by Luis Robert Jr., who clinched victory with a walk-off.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. delivered a composed performance, effortlessly hitting 26 home runs to eliminate Mookie Betts. The much-anticipated battle between Rodriguez and Alonso ensued, with Rodriguez accumulating 20 homers in his second appearance of the night. However, Guerrero matched his tally even before entering the bonus time and ultimately dramatically sealed the victory.
In the finals, Guerrero continued his impressive streak, launching an additional 25 long balls. Randy Arozarena put up a valiant effort in the bonus round but fell short of matching Guerrero’s tally.
How did it do with the audience?
The Home Run Derby garnered significant attention from the audience, despite experiencing a double-digit decline and reaching a five-year low in viewership. The event maintained its status as one of the summer’s most-watched sporting events, recording a combined 3.1 rating and attracting 6.11 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN2.
Although viewership dipped by 14% compared to the previous year, the Home Run Derby still dominated primetime television, securing the largest audience across all networks in almost a month. Notably, it outperformed all of this year’s NBA and NHL All-Star festivities, including the actual All-Star games, and came close to matching the viewership of the NFL Pro Bowl Games on ESPN and ABC in January.
Despite the decline, Derby’s popularity remained evident as it swept the key young adult demographics and emerged as the top program of the night. Even the highest-rated broadcast television show of the evening, “The Price is Right at Night” on CBS, couldn’t surpass Derby’s viewership.
In summary, the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby showcased thrilling performances by Vlad Guerrero Jr., Julio Rodriguez, and Adley Rutschman. Despite a decline in viewership, the event maintained its position as a highly anticipated and widely watched sporting spectacle, captivating fans across the nation.
What’s next for Vlad Guerrero Jr. and the Blue Jays?
The Derby Champ is in a middle of a battle of his own the always competitive and crowded AL East. The Toronto Blue Jays are in third place and 7 games behind the leader Tampa Bay Rays in the standings and 5 behind the second-place Baltimore Orioles but are holding dear to the third wild card spot with the Yankees just one game behind them. Due to its competitiveness, the AL East will always have a hard to predict MLB Odds.
It seems the Canadian team will keep pace with an insanely talented roster that has an offense led by Bo Bichette, Matt Chapman, and veteran George Springer.
While Vlad Guerrero Jr. may possess All-Star talent, his performance throughout the year has fallen well below expectations. His on-base mark of .344 is the lowest he has recorded since 2020, and his slugging percentage of .443 is his worst since 2019. One glaring issue has been his lack of plate discipline, as he has been chasing pitches outside the strike zone at a career-high rate of 30.7 percent, compared to 24.5 percent when he was in second place in the AL MVP race of 2021. Additionally, his ground-ball percentage has increased to 47.2 percent, up from 44.8 percent in 2021.
However, there were glimpses of improvement from Guerrero leading up to the break. In his last 15 games, he displayed some positive signs, hitting four home runs and four doubles, while maintaining a batting average of .271 and an impressive on-base plus slugging percentage of .881. The Toronto Blue Jays are undoubtedly relying on Guerrero to break out in the second half of the season if they hope to make a significant impact down the stretch.
We predict the Blue Jays will eventually take over the Orioles and join the New York Yankees as two wild-card teams in the next MLB postseason.