As is tradition, a member of the Atlanta Braves went home early in Monday night’s Home Run Derby at Nationals Park in Washington D.C., as Freddie Freeman was eliminated by Bryce Harper of the hometown Washington Nationals in the first round.
Freeman’s appearance in the Derby was the 11th by an Atlanta Brave since 1985, but the first since Andruw Jones competed in 2005. Nine different players have represented the Braves in the Derby, with eight of those players appearing once and Chipper Jones competing in three different years.
Despite the 11 appearances, no member of the Atlanta Braves has won the Home Run Derby, and they’re one of 12 teams in Major League Baseball that have never had a player win the contest.
Freeman mustered just 12 home runs during his turn in the first round, tying No. 1 seed Jesus Aguilar for the fewest homers in the opening round. Harper eliminated Freeman with plenty of time left on the clock when the No. 2 seed took his turn immediately after Freeman.
The Braves’ first baseman didn’t appear to settle into a comfort zone during his time at the plate. Freeman struggled to put the ball in the stands, and in the days leading up to the Derby, he told reporters that he hasn’t hit a batting-practice home run in years, opting instead to use his practice time to work on opposite-field line drives.
That can certainly make it more difficult for a player to suddenly transform himself into a home-run hitter in a very similar layout.
Freeman was the elder statesman in the contest, and took some time to poke fun at himself before his turn in the first round.
Freeman will start at first base for the National League in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.Follow @Sean_Breslin