Tonight's Home Run Derby in Miami is shaping up to be quite a spectacle, with a potential Aaron Judge-Giancarlo Stanton showdown in the final round standing out as a highlight. Judge leads the Majors with 30 home runs and Stanton is right behind with 26. Also, they are both hulking athletic marvels who will be swinging at 60 MPH meatballs. It will be good, but how good? Basically, what we want to know is: how many home runs will Aaron Judge hit? 15? 25? 40? A million? Probably a million, right?
To answer, we first need to know a little bit about the format. The Derby is set up as a single elimination bracket, like the NCAA tournament, and higher seeds bat second in the round. Stanton got the top seed by virtue of his win in last year's contest, and then the rest of the seeding is based on home run totals. So, Judge is the No. 2.
The top seed in each round bats second, and each player has four minutes to mash as many taters as he can. So Judge will watch Justin Bour hit for four minutes and then get to work on besting his total. Here is where a total of one million home runs might become untenable: since Judge would hit second in each round, he only has to beat his opponent's total by one home run, and then the round is over, no matter how much time he has left. There is also a 30 second bonus awarded based on the distance of home runs hit, which Judge will surely get, but again, it might not matter because he can't pad his stats.
But, should he make it to the final against Stanton, Judge would then bat first and could go hog wild with taters and get to that 1,000,000 mark, which in all likelihood would be an MLB record. Say he hits 25 in each of his first two rounds; that means he's got four minutes and a likely 30 seconds of bonus time to hit 999,950 home runs in the final round. It won't be the easiest thing in the world to do, but I feel very comfortable saying that Aaron Judge will hit a million homers tonight.