How rookies have fared in Home Run Derby

Rookies Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger are among the participants in this year’s Home Run Derby. And they clearly have strong credentials.

Judge has hit the most home runs in the majors as well as this season’s longest and the fastest off the bat. Bellinger didn’t make his debut until April 25, but in the time he has been in the major leagues, no one has hit more home runs than he has.

Still, it’s been rare for a rookie to perform well in the derby. We take a look through the years:

1986: In the second version of the Home Run Derby, two rookies participated. Jose Canseco of the Oakland Athletics hit one homer, and Wally Joyner of the California Angels hit four — tied with the National League’s Darryl Strawberry for the most in the derby. The NL beat Joyner, Canseco and Jesse Barfield’s American League team 8-7.

1987: Mark McGwire made it two Athletics rookies in as many seasons to participate in the Home Run Derby. He hit one, as did his American League derby teammate George Bell, as they were outhomered 6-2 by the National League.

1993: Mike Piazza, who made his major league debut in September 1992, retained his rookie status in 1993. He entered the All-Star break with 18 home runs but hit zero in the derby. He was the only competitor among the eight that year to not hit at least one.

1997: Nomar Garciaparra became the first right-handed Red Sox hitter to participate in the Home Run Derby since Jim Rice in 1985, the first year it was held. Garciaparra hit zero home runs and didn’t advance out of the first round. Of possible consolation to Garciaparra: Jim Thome, who finished his career with 612 home runs, didn’t hit any in the 1997 derby, either.

2008: Evan Longoria was the first rookie since Garciaparra to make the derby. Longoria’s three home runs were the fewest anyone hit in the first round in 2008, and he was eliminated.

2015: For the first time since 1986, two rookies — Kris Bryant and Joc Pederson — participated in the Home Run Derby, which featured a bracketed, seeded field of eight.

Matched against top-seeded Albert Pujols, Bryant didn’t make it out of the first round, hitting nine to Pujols’ 10. Pederson eliminated Manny Machado, 13-12, in the first round and Pujols, 12-11, in the second round before losing in the final, 15-14, to Todd Frazier.

2016: Corey Seager, who had 17 home runs at the All-Star break, was matched against top-seeded Mark Trumbo (who had hit 28) in the first round and lost 16-15. Both of them had stretches when they were on: Seager hit nine home runs in the space of 10 swings, and Trumbo hit a home run on his last 11 swings.


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