In the Home Run Derby, the favorite rarely wins. For all the hype that accompanied Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton heading into Monday's derby, I understood that it would be no shock to see an overlooked player such as Miguel Sano or Justin Bour come away with the win. With that being said, I won't be feeling the same way a year from now.
Aaron Judge has been on a different level throughout the first half of the season, and the Home Run Derby proved no different.
Judge faced a massive uphill battle from the start, needing 23 home runs to take down Marlins slugger Justin Bour. In a four-minute round, Judge took his timeout with 2:16 remaining and seven home runs on the board. It would take a superhuman effort to catch up to Bour, but that's what the world saw from Judge, who hit 15 home runs in the remaining time before knocking one out in his bonus time to advance.
After that, it was over. Judge's semifinal challenger, Cody Bellinger, didn't look like he belonged on the same field, and Judge beat Miguel Sano's total in the finals with two minutes remaining.
This was dominance previously unseen in the Home Run Derby, with the exception of Josh Hamilton's first round performance in 2008. Judge did not only crush the competition, but he hit destroyed the baseball, and did so in all three rounds without looking even the slightest bit tired.
Judge hit four 500+ foot home runs, including one that went an estimated 513 feet, while the rest of the competition in total hit none in that category. The regular season has been no different for Judge in terms of his power - he is responsible for each of the four hardest-hit home runs this year.
Major League Baseball and its fans will beg Judge to enter the Home Run Derby next summer if he's not immediately willing, and he will be the overwhelming favorite.
This has the feeling of the start of something special. Only one player has ever won the derby more than two times, and only two have won it back-to-back. Both of those numbers seem poised to change in the coming years.
Aaron Judge and the Home Run Derby could turn into Joey Chestnut and the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, or LeBron James and the Eastern Conference. For Major League Baseball, that is a dream scenario. The presence of Judge already helped this Home Run Derby become the most-watched since 2008, and the 'Can anyone dethrone Judge?' storyline could keep those ratings soaring for a number of years.
The venues will change, and the competition will vary, but this will be far from the last time you'll hear of Aaron Judge and Home Run Derby.