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2012 Home Run Derby Contestants: MLB Stars Who Will Shine on Big Stage

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 14: Prince Fielder #28 of the Detroit Tigers hits against the Chicago Cubs during the MLB interleague game at Wrigley field on June 14, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Tigers won the game 5-3. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
John Gress/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2012

Ever since Major League Baseball decided to make the All-Star Game count for home-field advantage in the World Series, the Home Run Derby has become the only event where players can sit back and have some fun instead of having their game face on.

That's what makes it great to watch. It also provides an opportunity for players to enjoy the spotlight by going off on a home-run bonanza.

Let's take a look at three who have a great chance to do exactly that on Monday night. For a full list of competitors, click here.

 

Mark Trumbo

Before the season started, most people would have predicted Albert Pujols would lead the Los Angeles Angels in home runs at the break. But while Pujols struggled out of the gate, Trumbo has been crushing pitches, totaling 20 home runs so far.

For whatever reason, whether it be an east-coast bias or Pujols' shadow, Trumbo still isn't getting much nationwide attention. He's one of the best young power hitters in the game, so perhaps the Home Run Derby will finally earn him some more notoriety.

It's his first time taking part in the contest, but I doubt it will be his last. Experience does play a role in pacing yourself, so he may not win, but he should still have a strong performance.

 

Prince Fielder

Fielder hasn't gotten off to the start he was hoping for in Detroit. With the season just passing the halfway point, he has hit just 12 home runs and the Tigers are in third place in the AL Central. The derby might be just what he needs to get things back on track.

The powerful first baseman won the event back in 2009 and is making his fourth appearance overall. He has all the tools to be successful, from a laid-back attitude to plenty of pop, making it no surprise he's always in consideration to take part.

Getting away from the big-contract pressure should allow him to loosen up and launch plenty of souvenirs into the bleachers. He would be my pick to win it all and claim his second Derby trophy.

 

Carlos Gonzalez

The Oakland Athletics have to be disappointed for letting Gonzalez get away after a shaky first season. He's steadily developed into a dominant force since joining the Colorado Rockies and is now one of the game's best all-around hitters.

He has 17 home runs, putting him on pace to challenge his career high of 34. What makes him dangerous in the derby is his consistent swing. Instead of changing to an uppercut approach like other players, he should have no problem putting up big numbers with his normal HR stroke.

Even though he's having a terrific season, he isn't getting much attention leading up to the event, so he would be a perfect sleeper pick. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him win it all in his first try.

 

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