Kyle Schwarber has spent the last three weeks turning the Nationals’ schedule into his own personal home run derby, collecting 16 homers in 18 games to tie an MLB record and helping vault Washington back into the race for the NL East title.
As for the real Home Run Derby, Schwarber said after his latest long ball Tuesday that he’d most likely decline an invitation to participate this year if MLB extends an offer to him. The former Chicago Cub participated in the Derby three years ago when it was hosted at Nationals Park and the competition took a toll on his body.
“It was definitely a moment that you’re not gonna forget and you kinda check that off your bucket list,” Schwarber said of making it to the final round before losing to Bryce Harper. “If I was approached, I’d probably not do it just in terms of — you get a little sore afterwards. It’s four minutes of just straight hacking as hard as you can.
“I think it’s such a great experience and the people that are gonna be in it and especially in it for the first time, they’re gonna love it and it’s gonna be something that they’re never gonna forget. I just think that the best thing to do is probably let it pass and rest up and look forward to the second half.”
Schwarber put on a strong showing at the Derby in 2018, hitting more home runs than anyone else in the competition with 55 total. He beat both Alex Bregman and Rhys Hoskins before facing Harper in the final round. Schwarber went first and hit 18 homers, a staggering number that Harper needed bonus time to beat.
With his 24th home run of the season Tuesday, Schwarber remained tied with Fernando Tatís Jr. for the NL lead. The pair trails only Shohei Ohtani (28) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (26).