The rosters were unveiled for the 2012 Home Run Derby on Monday, with captains Robinson Cano and Matt Kemp selecting three teammates for their respective sides.
For the AL, Cano went with Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo, while Kemp selected Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez and Giancarlo Stanton for the NL.
With only eight spots to fill and so many quality sluggers to choose from, there was, predictably, a number of qualified power hitters left off the team. And while all eight contestants have easy home run power, it's hard to justify leaving these three guys off the list:
1B Adam Dunn—Chicago White Sox (AL)
2012 Stats: .210/.359/.507, 24 HR, 58 RBI
The MLB's ultimate two-outcome slugger, Dunn is a lock to lead the league in strikeouts but also a threat to lead the league in homers.
His .210 average is nothing to write home about, but he counteracts it with his high walk rate and effortless power stroke. He honestly looks like he can bunt the ball out of the park if he wants to.
His power numbers have bounced back admirably after his historically bad 2011 campaign (maybe the worst in MLB history), where he slugged a nonplussing .277.
His 24 homers make him worthy of inclusion on this team over Mark Trumbo, who has hit four fewer homers than Dunn in only 10 fewer at-bats.
His exclusion also deprived us all from seeing how many times Dunn would swing and miss against a pitching coach, a spectacle that could have easily been the highlight of All-Star weekend. Robinson Cano will never be forgiven.
LF Ryan Braun—Milwaukee Brewers (NL)
2012 Stats: .309/.390/.599, 22 HR, 55 RBI
Eager eyes were turned upon Ryan Braun this season, as a positive PED test almost cost him the first 50 games. Although Braun won the appeal, his public image would have been forever scarred had he suddenly lost his power in 2012.
But Braun has proven that his slugging bravura is innate, and he ostensibly proved that he did not, does not and never will need performance enhancers to succeed in the MLB.
His 22 homers are good for sole possession of the NL lead, and he boasts a higher slugging percentage than Kemp and Beltran, to boot.
Where Beltran's impressive homer total is the result of meticulous plate discipline and the ability to work a pitcher, Braun's slugging ability is organic and natural, making him a better derby prospect.
RF Jay Bruce—Cincinnati Reds (NL)
2012 Stats: .262/.333/.524, 17 HR, 54 RBI
Jay Bruce is "Adam Dunn Lite"—a powerful lefty bat who doesn't really hit for average but belts home runs at an alarming rate.
This makes him a perfect complement for Joey Votto in the middle of the Reds' order as well as a tailor-made specimen for the Home Run Derby.
Again, it's hard to argue with Carlos Beltran's inclusion on the roster given the power numbers he's posted this season, but he isn't made for this type of competition. He hits his homers as a result of perfect contact, not a power swing.
Bruce, on the other hand, plays the real game as if it's the Derby, swinging for the fences with reckless abandon. He would have made an interesting dark horse had he have been given the opportunity.
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