SAN DIEGO — Warming up in the indoor batting cage for Monday’s Home Run Derby final, Todd Frazier looked up at a television to see Giancarlo Stanton homering again and said, “Damn.”
In order to repeat as Derby champion, the White Sox third baseman knew he’d have to chase down an “epic” performance by the Miami Marlins outfielder at Petco Park.
Even though he finished with three more homers in 2016 than he did when he won a year earlier, Frazier couldn’t keep pace with Stanton and lost, 20-13, in the final round. Stanton — who hit two 497-foot blasts — hit a Home Run Derby record 61 home runs in three rounds Monday. Frazier finished with 42 overall after blasting 39 in Cincinnati last July.
“(Stanton) was hitting the moonshots,” Frazier said. “I felt like I was a high school hitter compared to him the way he was hitting 'em that far. It was impressive.”
On Friday, Frazier said he wanted to hit second whenever he could. A finalist for a third straight year, Frazier prefers to know what kind of total he needs to win a round. As the No. 2 seed in the eight-man field, Frazier would have hit second against everyone but top-seeded Mark Trumbo, whom Staton eliminated in the semifinals.
Frazier — whose 25 homers are the most ever by a White Sox third baseman at the All-Star break — elected to go second again and then watched as Stanton began another round of dominance.
After hitting 24 in the first round and 17 in the semifinals, Stanton started slow in the finals, hitting only six in the first 95 seconds. He hit nine in the next 1:39 and took a timeout before blasting six more in his final 46 seconds.
“There’s a TV in there and I was watching a little bit and just getting loose again and, ‘Here he goes again,’” Frazier said. “But they were epic home runs. He was hitting epic home runs. I was just trying to get to 440 (feet), and he was hitting almost 500. Fun to watch.”
Stanton also hit one homer in his bonus round to finish with 20. Of the 61 he finished with, five were at least 490 feet, with two topping out at 497.
“Sometimes it feels like there’s more pressure (going second),” said Charlie Frazier, Todd’s older brother and Derby pitcher. “But you want to see the number you need to beat, like the first two rounds where we didn’t have to go to the bonus.”
Frazier took the first of two timeouts after he hit three homers in the first 69 seconds of the final round. He blasted another seven in the next 1:27 and still trailed 20-10 when he took his final timeout. Frazier wound up with three more and didn’t earn a bonus round, which players received for hitting two homers of 440 feet or more.
But he was still pleased with the overall effort.
Frazier knew exactly what he needed in the semifinals against Cincinnati’s Adam Duvall, who hit 15 round-trippers. Midway through the round, Frazier hit four home runs in a row to reach 12 and called a timeout with 90 seconds left. A burst of three straight tied him with Duvall, and Frazier reached the final with a liner into the left-field corner with 20 seconds left.
He also began the night with a 13-12 victory over Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez in the first round.
“It was impressive,” Frazier said. “I said it was going to be one of the most epic home run battles, and it ended up going down nice.
“Twenty home runs is a lot.
“He was hitting some moonshots. I’m happy for him. He’s a good guy, and these things are great. They’re fun.”