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2012 Home Run Derby Contestants: Players Who Won't Validate Their Selection

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 21:  Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers on the disable list, sits and looks on from the dugout in the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics in t at O.co Coliseum on June 21, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2012

The 2012 Home Run Derby features eight long-ball specialists, but every competitor won't live up to their billing. By the end of the night, Matt Kemp and Robinson Cano will be questioning the selection of a few of their teammates.

The Derby doesn't just require power. Hitters must be able to repeat their swing multiple times at a marathon pace rather than one violent swing at a time. It's an adjustment some hitters have a tough time making.

Let's see which hitters will fail to validate their Home Run Derby selection.

 

Carlos Gonzalez

Gonzalez is going to be a threat to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases for many years to come. He's one of baseball's best five-tool players, but he isn't cut out for the Home Run Derby's style.

He's more of a gap-to-gap hitter whose power comes through in flashes. He isn't an all-or-nothing swing type of guy. In the regular season that's a good thing, but it will hurt him under Kaufmann Stadium's bright lights.

He isn't going to win this contest despite being arguably the second-best all-around competitor in the competition.

I don't expect a huge performance from Gonzalez. He's a great hitter, but he isn't the type of player who just swings for power.

 

Carlos Beltran

Beltran is a great all-around hitter, but he isn't going to perform up to the standards of the other competitors. Being a switch hitter during the regular season is a benefit, but it won't be on Monday night.

Beltran is an excellent candidate to hit 30-40 home runs through the course of a season, but he doesn't have explosive power. He's enjoying an MVP-caliber season this year, but he will have to pick a side in this year's Derby.

Switch hitters don't necessarily perform well in Home Run Derbies, and Beltran will be no different.

 

Matt Kemp

I'll stick with the National League to make it obvious that I believe the American League will claim the crown Monday night.

Kemp is the best overall hitter in this competition, but his time off will take a toll. He's only played in 36 games this year. He hasn't played since May 30.

I'm surprised the Dodgers are even allowing him to participate. He obviously has a chance to win the competition, but he will fail because of the lack of rhythm. His time off will hurt the timing of his swing, and he won't be able to find the consistency in his stroke.

The Derby is all about finding a swing you can mimic time after time. Normally Kemp would be able to do that, but he hasn't played for too long entering competition.

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