The 2015 Home Run Derby kicked off MLB‘s All-Star break in earnest, and thanks to the new format, it did not disappoint.

After finishing in second place last year, Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier returned this year to win in front of his hometown fans at Great American Ball Park. Frazier edged out Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the finals to get the victory. Pederson hit 14 homers in the finals, and Frazier needed just one pitch in his bonus time to knock out his 15th.

As ESPN Stats & Info points out, it was a historic performance:

This year’s Derby, in its 30th year, boasted a brand-new format with a completely different set of rules. Instead of getting a number of outs, each player had a set amount of time to hit as many bombs as he could. There was also an opportunity for bonus time if a player hit two homers that traveled at least 425 feet. 

The rules had to be changed slightly at the last minute due to weather concerns. Players were originally scheduled to get five minutes per round, but MLB shortened it to four to try to beat the rain. Additionally, instead of a possible 60 seconds of bonus time, each player maxed out at 30.

In one man’s opinion, MLB—dare I say—knocked it out of the park with the new format. Will Brinson and Jason La Canfora, both of CBS Sports, were just two of many to agree:

The goal, of course, is to hit as many home runs as possible. As the folks at ESPN Stats & Info point out, this year’s Derby was successful in that regard:

The single-elimination format immediately made the Derby more exciting. When you add the timed rounds and the fact that the second hitter each round knew how many he needed, it made for a dramatic night in Cincinnati.

The bonus time was also an interesting wrinkle, and it came into play when Frazier hit his walk-off in extra time.

One of the few downsides to the new style was allowing each hitter a 45-second timeout. While it did give players a chance to regroup, it sometimes made the event drag, as ESPN occasionally cut to commercials during the timeouts.

But that’s just nitpicking. Most of the time, the batter stepped into the box after his timeout and promptly put one in the seats. The delays were minor, but perhaps MLB could tweak the timeout rule in the future to speed up the action a bit.

Overall, kudos to MLB for bringing some excitement back to the Home Run Derby. If Tuesday’s main event is even half as exciting as the long-ball contest, it will make for a wildly successful All-Star showcase.

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