Despite falling to Randy Arozarena in the semifinals of the 2023 Home Run Derby, Luis Robert Jr. put on a show in Seattle that could make White Sox fans proud, smashing 50 total home runs and recording the longest home run of the night at 484 feet.
That wasn’t his only accomplishment, either. Incredibly, Robert record the six farthest home runs of the entire derby, ranging from 458 feet all the way up to that 484-foot mark. Also incredibly, it somehow still wasn’t the longest home run he’s ever hit, falling three feet short of the quasi-legendary (by the skimpy standards of White Sox playoff history) 487-foot blast he deposited in the outfield upper deck of the Oakland Coliseum in the 2020 Wild Card series.
No other hitter in the Derby managed to break 460 feet; Robert did so five times, seemingly with ease. His average exit velocity of 107.9 mph was second only to Pete Alonso, who barely cleared him at 108.1 mph. Needless to say, Robert did more favors to the Seattleites in the cheap seats than anyone else tonight, leading the pack with an average of 421 feet per homer, clearing the other three hitters who played multiple rounds by more than 20 feet.
Though he fell short in the second round, clearly losing steam and resigning himself to the near-impossibility of clearing Randy Arozarena’s absurd 35-homer performance, Robert left little doubt that he’d be a welcome participant in future Derbies, and perhaps even a likely winner with a year of experience under his belt — and perhaps a new pitcher, as the locations he was swinging at forced him to go up the middle and the other way considerably more than his opponents.
Robert is the sixth White Sox player to compete in the Home Run Derby, joining Carlton Fisk (1985), Frank Thomas (1994, ’95), Paul Konerko (2002), Jermaine Dye (2006), and Todd Frazier (2016). He’s the fourth of them to move past the first round, while Thomas remains the only Chicago player to win a Derby and Frazier the only other to make the final round.
Robert will be the only South Sider represented at tomorrow’s All-Star Game. The rest of the White Sox are back in action on Friday in Atlanta to face the NL East-leading Braves, who entered the All-Star Break having homered in 26 consecutive games. We’ll see you there.