Bowie's Caleb Joseph wins AA HR Derby, Portland's Almanzar finishes sixth
RedSoxLife Contributing Writer
New Britain, CT- New Britain Stadium was the site of the annual Minor League Homerun Derby, and Portland Sea Dog's own Michael Almanzar took place in the hackfest. The Minor League Derby has different rules than your traditional MLB Homerun Derby, as the distance you hit the ball gives you points; the farther it goes, the more points you score. Over 18 players participated in the event, from Minor Leaguers from the East and West Division and assorted ESPN personalities. There was even a high schooler from New Britain High and a policeman, Matt Marrino, who took some swings. When it was all over, Bowie's Caleb Joseph scored 310 points to take the trophy. But it didn't happen without any drama. Harrisburg's Steven Souza, Jr hit four homeruns and needed one more dinger on his last pitch to get the win. He reached back and gave it a drive, but the ball dropped just short of the wall, sealing the victory for Joseph.
Plenty of fans were in attendance, as the Rock Cats held an autograph signing by all participating players before the festivities. Some of the more fun moments were watching the Met's Caesar Puello remove and throw his hat halfway through his at-bat, Akron's Carlos Moncrief completely missing a pitch, Caleb Joseph going back to back with pulled left field jacks, Richmond's Mark Minicozzi sporting sunglasses while ripping one over the fence, and the Red Sox's Michael Almanzar being joined by other Portland stars Matt Spring and Christian Vazquez at the plate to give him water and tar up his bat.
After the Derby victory, Joseph said he tried a different approach than the last time he participated in the Derby, which was 2008.
Last time I tried swinging really hard and do too much, and I couldn't get a ball out of the infield. With the point system, I just tried to get it to the wall, and if I miss the ball low, maybe it will go over the wall. I tried to stay with [the ball] and it worked.
Asked where he would put his new trophy, he mentioned a room in his parent's house that he and his brother (Yankees prospect Corban Joseph) put all of their hardware in.
We have a shrine and all our awards will be in the bedroom in my parents house until we move out. These kind of things are cool because you can prove to your kid that you were there.
Joseph was all smiles when asked if he had enoyed his night.
New Britain has put on a first class production. Its my fourth [All Star Game], and it's been run perfectly. They have taken very good care of us.
As a reward, Joseph added that he was going to be the starting catching in Wednesday's All Star Showcase.
I am going to try to hit a homerun before I get blown up by a 100 mile fastball that some of these guys can throw.
With Joseph showing his power in the Derby, he may just do that.