Deivi Grullon may be sixth in the Eastern League in home runs but he was first in home runs in the annual Home Run Derby Tuesday night as part of the All-Star Game festivities in Trenton, New Jersey.
Grullon smacked 24 home runs, including 14 in the opening round of the contest. Rockies prospect Sam Hilliard hit 13 first round home runs and Will Craig (Pirates) and Trey Amburgey (Yankees) each hit 12. Hilliard and Grullon squared off in the final round with Grullon edging Hilliard 10 to nine.
The rules call for each hitter to have four minutes to hit as many home runs as they can. Batters are allowed a water break during the four minute intervals. Grullon went on a late run to best Hilliard, who batted first in the final round.
The 22-year old catching prospect repeatedly pointed to the sky and credited his father, who passed away in 2012, with giving him the motivation to win the contest.
“My energy is in my father; this is for my father,” Grullon told MiLB.com following his home run derby win. “I just thought of my father and put some balls in the air and that was it.”
Grullon has 12 home runs with Reading this season which ties his career-high that he set last season when he played at both Clearwater and Reading. His 12 home runs came in 94 games last season and he’s played in 54 games this season. Prior to last season he hadn’t hit more than eight home runs in a season.
Lead photo of Deivi Grullon with HR Derby Championship belt by Danny Wild / MiLB.com.