Home Run Derby 2012: How Every Contestant Matches Up with Kauffman Stadium
The Home Run Derby is arguably the most exciting part of the All-Star festivities. There are eight players participating in the derby this year, which pits Team Kemp against Team Cano. 2011 Home Run Derby champion Robinson Cano will be looking to repeat this season.
Each of the players participating in the Home Run Derby have shown off their power stroke this season, but not all of them have gotten a chance to play a game at Kauffman Stadium this year.
All of the players have their own strengths and power alleys that have worked for them this season, but that might just lead to some long outs in the Home Run Derby. Each graph of home runs hit by this year's Home Run Derby participants will also display an overlay of Kauffman Stadium to show if the ball would have left the park there as well.
There is no denying that Robinson Cano has outstanding power for a second baseman. As last year's Home Run Derby winner, Cano is also a favorite to win the title again this season.
Cano has 20 home runs on the year, but four of those balls would not have left the park at Kauffman Stadium, according to the ESPN Home Run Tracker. Additionally, there are two home runs that he hit this season that would have just cleared the Kauffman Stadium fences.
The majority of Cano's home runs have gone to right field this year, which is a good sign for his chances in the Home Run Derby.
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Jose Bautista has led the major leagues in home runs over the past two years, and with 27 home runs so far this season, he is in position to do it once again.
So far this season, all but one of Bautista's home runs have gone to left field, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker. While Bautista has hit a number of unquestionable home runs this season, showing off his incredible power, five of his home runs would have stayed in Kauffman Stadium and another three would have been close calls.
Bautista will be an interesting participant in this year's derby. He certainly has the power to win it all, but his swing will need to be on all night for him to take home the award.
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Prince Fielder may only have 15 home runs this season, but when he hits a long ball, it is almost always a moonshot. He has averaged over 410 feet on his home runs this season, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker.
Fielder's stroke has resulted in almost all of his home runs going to right field this season. If he can continually hit the ball to right field during the Home Run Derby, he should have no problem knocking balls out of the park at Kauffman Stadium, since the walls are 330 feet away from home plate in right and 387 feet away in right center.
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Power is what helped Mark Trumbo finish second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2011, when he slugged 29 home runs. Trumbo is on pace to blow by that total this season, as he has already hit 22 home runs on the season.
Trumbo has hit the majority of his home runs to left field this season, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, but he has also poked a number of balls over the center-field wall. Most of Trumbo's home runs would have left Kauffman Stadium, but three would have stayed in the park and another two would have been very close calls.
If Trumbo can avoid hitting the ball to center, he has a good chance to be one of the last competitors standing in this year's Home Run Derby.
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Team captain Matt Kemp is hoping that he can win the Home Run Derby title and take the crown back for the National League this season. Kemp has only hit 12 home runs this year, but the number is much more impressive when you consider that he has done that in 36 games.
Things do not look good for Kemp's chances in the Home Run Derby based on the information from ESPN's Home Run Tracker. Six of Kemp's home runs this year would not have left Kauffman Stadium and another two would have barely made it out of the park.
While Kemp was last year's National League home-run leader, he likely will not end up being the home run-leader at this year's derby.
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One of the most impressive things about Carlos Gonzalez's power is that he has hit a large number of his home runs out to center field this year. A number of Gonzalez's home runs have traveled over 400 feet in 2012, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker.
This will obviously serve as a disadvantage for Gonzalez during the Home Run Derby. If he can start knocking balls to the corners during the Derby, then he could be a big threat. However, based on his performance, it seems unlikely since Gonzalez will potentially end up hitting a number of long fly balls to center.
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Carlos Beltran is on pace to have his best season since 2008 and he could end up challenging his career high of 41 home runs this year. Beltran has already hit 20 homers this season and looked outstanding for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Beltran has hit most of his home runs to right field this season, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, but he also has sprayed a fair number of balls over the left-field wall.
As a switch-hitter, Beltran has a decision to make about what side he wants to bat from. According to Baseball-Reference, Beltran has hit 227 home runs in 5,190 at-bats (one home run per 22.9 at-bats) as a left-handed hitter and 95 home runs in 2,114 at-bats (one home run per 22.25 at-bats) as a right-handed hitter.
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Giancarlo Stanton was supposed to be in the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby, but a knee injury will keep him from participating, and Stanton will be replaced by Andrew McCutchen, according to an MLB press release (h/t Quinn Roberts, MLB.com).
McCutchen does not have the same amount of power that Stanton does, but he has already hit 18 home runs on the year. He will be a fairly good replacement option.
Based on ESPN's Home Run Tracker, two of McCutchen's long balls this year would not have left Kauffman Stadium and another two would have barely cleared the fence.
So far this season, McCutchen has hit the majority of his home runs to left field, and he has been able to hit the ball further when he swats it out to left.