The Home Run Derby is tweaking its format this year when five players from the National and five from the American Leagues participate in the 20th edition of the event on the eve of the All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but the objective remains the same. Hit the ball over the wall.
Jose Bautista (17 HR) of the Toronto Blue Jays was the leading vote-getter for the Midsummer Classic and also the captain for the American League team, but two of his first choices, Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera turned down the offer, and his teammate, Edwin Encarnacion, likely would have been a pick, but he’s on the 15-day disabled list.
Bautista did have some attractive options for the derby and selected defending champion Yoenis Cespedes (14 HR) of the Oakland Athletics, Brain Dozier (16 HR) of the hometown Minnesota Twins and Adam Jones (16 HR) of the Baltimore Orioles.
The fifth player will be revealed on Thursday as MLB strings this along, but who do you think should get the nod?
Orioles slugger and the MLB leader in home runs, Nelson Cruz,was somehow not picked by Bautista, so he would make for a logical pick for the derby. Although, his past use for performance-enhancing drugs could bring on the boo birds at Target Field, so perhaps Cruz will not be the final pick, which would open it up for my pick, Jose Abreu.
The Chicago White Sox rookie import from Cubs has been nothing short of spectacular for the White Sox, smacking home runs at a record pace in the first half of the season. He has 27 home runs in 76 games and would be a great pick for the fifth spot.