MLB Home Run Derby 2012: Participants Who Will Struggle in the 2nd Half
The 2012 Home Run Derby will take place on Monday at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium, and while it should be an exciting show, some participants should be wary of the consequence it could have on the rest of their season.
For the National League team, captain Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers has selected the Colorado Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez, the St. Louis Cardinals' Carlos Beltran and the Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen, who replaced injured Florida Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
For the American League team, defending champion Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees has selected the Los Angeles Angels' Mark Trumbo, previous champion Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers and the Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista.
The poster boy for the struggles after participating in the Home Run Derby is 2005 champion Bobby Abreu.
At Comerica Park in Detroit, Abreu hit a record 24 home runs in the first round and a record 41 overall on his way to winning the 2005 Home Run Derby.
Before the All-Star break, Abreu was hitting .307/.428/.526 with 18 home runs for the Philadelphia Phillies.
After winning the Home Run Derby, Abreu batted just .260/.376/.411 while hitting only six home runs over the entire second half.
As far as the 2012 participants go, there are several clear candidates for players who could struggle in the second half after trying to crush the ball on Monday.
The Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez and the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen are two well-rounded players who are putting together phenomenal seasons for their respective teams.
While not necessarily considered power hitters, Gonzalez and McCutchen bring a variety of skills to the table, which make them very valuable players on their teams.
Gonzalez has hit 17 home runs on the season for a Rockies team that has struggled all season, and the lefty is a trendy surprise pick to win the Home Run Derby.
While there aren't many experts who think McCutchen will win, there are many who consider him the NL MVP of the first half after hitting 18 home runs and leading the league in average.
Not to mention that he has also carried the Pirates to first place in the NL Central and their best record in 20 years.
The problem with Gonzalez and McCutchen is that they are not primarily home run hitters, but they will have to try to be on Monday.
After an event like this, it could be very easy for these players to try to hit the ball out of the ballpark during every at-bat. This could lead to some struggles at the plate and disappointing second halves for the young superstars.
Bobby Abreu was a similar player in 2005, and it wouldn't surprise me if Carlos Gonzalez and Andrew McCutchen have similar results here in 2012.
On the American League side, Mark Trumbo is primarily a home run hitter, and he is very deserving of being in the Home Run Derby.
After mashing 22 home runs over the first half of the season, Trumbo is beginning to make a name for himself after being overshadowed on a star-studded Angels roster.
You can bet he will have that same mindset as he swings for the fences on Monday, and Trumbo could very easily bring the Derby trophy home.
However, Angels fans might want to root for him to not win the Home Run Derby, as it could mean less home runs for them in the second half.
If Trumbo were to win the Derby, he would undoubtedly want to prove to everyone that it was no fluke and try to crush the ball every time up at the plate.
Trying to duplicate any Home Run Derby success in regular season games is never a good idea, and pitchers would feast on Trumbo's long-ball mentality if he were to take that approach.
The Home Run Derby is always an exciting part of the All-Star break, but some participants should take caution when swinging for the fences on Monday.
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