Aside from Yoenis Cespedes, the 2013 Home Run Derby left a lot to be desired. While seeing two young stars in Cespedes and Bryce Harper battle it out at the plate like that was fun, the contest could have been handled better. Players like Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder, Michael Cuddyer, and David Wright failed to impress.
My Home Run Derby selections will be based on a variety of factors. I’ll be looking at average home run distance, number of home runs, and park factors of the player’s home park. In my selection, I’ll be removing restrictions, such as that only All Stars can be selected (this isn’t necessarily a rule, but it’s rare for a non-All Star to make the team), the captain system, injuries, media hype, etc.
National League Roster:
1. Justin Upton- .255/.353/.462, 15 homers (20 park-adjusted), 428′ average distance.
My easy choice for the leader of the NL Roster is Justin Upton. Although his first season in Atlanta isn’t exactly going great, he can still hit the ball far. His 428′ average home run distance is easily the best in baseball, and he has a solid 16 homers playing half of his games in a noted pitcher’s park.
2. Carlos Gonzalez- .302/.370/.610, 25 homers (21 park-adjusted), 407.5′ average distance.
Carlos Gonzalez, who was originally set to hit in the derby but was sidelined with an injury, is also an easy choice. He leads the NL in homers, and has been doing just as well on the road as in hitter-friendly Coors field.
3. Jay Bruce- .277/.325/.507, 19 homers (15 park-adjusted), 410.7′ average distance.
Due to a slow start to the season (1 home run in April), Bruce’s power numbers don’t accurately reflect his home run power. He plays in one of the smallest parks in baseball, but as his 410.7′ average home run distance would indicate (4th best in the NL) he doesn’t need the cheap power boost. When he hits a ball well, it goes far.
4. Pedro Alvarez- .250/.311/.516, 24 homers (43 park-adjusted), 407.1′ average distance.
Like Bruce, when Alvarez hits the ball- it goes far. His 24 homers come from playing half of his games in the most pitcher-friendly park in baseball.
American League Roster:
1. Mark Trumbo- .245/.312/.474, 21 homers (27 park-adjusted), 412.8′ average distance.
Trumbo’s massive average distance speaks for itself. He clobbers the ball when he gets ahold of hit. His 21 homers in a pitcher’s park is also great. He would be a huge benefit to the AL team, as he’s been one of the premier power hitters in baseball over the past few years.
2. Mike Napoli- .259/.343/.448, 11 homers (14 park-adjusted), 421′ average distance.
While Napoli hasn’t hit as many homers as his counterparts, he has hit them far. He can crush the ball, and taking the eye element out of the game would make him a dark horse favorite.
3. Chris Davis- .315/.392/.717, 37 homers (32 park-adjusted), 403.9′ average distance.
While Davis’ average distance isn’t quite up to snuff, the sheer number of homers he has hit, as well as the vast spread of landing spots, makes him an easy selection.
4. Adam Dunn- .213/.317/.474, 24 homers (23 park-adjusted), 407.1′ average distance
Adam Dunn isn’t much of a contact hitter anymore, but nobody can deny his massive power output. It seems Dunn either walks, strikes out, or homers when he comes to the plate. Since it’s pretty hard to strikeout in the derby and you can’t walk, he’d probably do well due to his massive strength.