2012 Home Run Derby Contestants: Why American League Is Going to Dominate
When the Home Run Derby kicks off tonight, captains Robinson Cano and Matt Kemp will lead the American and National league contestants into battle to see who will be crowned this year's Home Run Derby champion.
However, both teams are not equal. Expect the American League contestants to dominate the show tonight.
Here is a breakdown of the contest and why the American League will come away with a win.
Robinson Cano, Captain
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The defending champion has a great chance to come away with the crown again. Cano has been red hot as of late and comes in with 20 home runs so far this season.
Compare that with last season when he finished with 28 and the fact that Cano has one of the purest swings around, he has a great chance to finish on top again this year.
Matt Kemp, Captain
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When Matt Kemp is healthy, I firmly believe that he is a top-five player in the league.
The problem is that he hasn't been healthy for a while now. He suffered a pretty serious strain of his hamstring, and then came back from it too fast which hurt it even worse.
That's a problem as power hitting relies heavily on the legs. While the hamstring isn't as integral a part of the power swing as other muscles, he hasn't been healthy for a while now.
He's played in only 36 games so far this season. The good news is that in those 36 games he has 12 home runs.
I just don't know if he can come right back into the swing of things (pun intended) and contribute right now.
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Trumbo comes in with 22 homers in 77 games so far this season. He has been a huge part in the Los Angeles Angels' turnaround from their early season swoon.
While he's only hitting .268 on the season, singles and doubles won't do anyone any good tonight. Look for him to show why with an impressive number tonight.
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Gonzalez is having an amazing season so far as he's hitting .330 with 17 homers. When you think about it though, 17 homers for a guy who plays half his games at Coors Field is not anything to write home about so far.
I do expect him to put up some numbers tonight, but don't expect to see him knocking the ball around the park the way he does at home.
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Fielder has appeared in 86 games to this point in the season and only has 15 homers. While that is certainly the least impressive number of any contestant, we all know what Fielder can do.
If you don't believe me, go on YouTube and check out some videos. Fielder can absolutely demolish the ball, and in the Home Run Derby that's all that really matters.
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This one is probably making New York Mets fans sick to their stomachs (if the R.A. Dickey snub wasn't doing it already).
Beltran has 20 dingers so far this season and has rediscovered the stroke that helped him land the huge contract the Mets signed him to.
Beltran has the ability to do some impressive things with the bat and he seems to be on top of his game, so look out tonight.
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Jose Bautista is an interesting story. He bounced around the league for a few years between five different teams before working out his swing with the Blue Jays.
He changed his approach and his timing, and the results have been ridiculous. Before 2010, he had never hit more than 16 home runs in a season. He hit 54 in 2010, 43 in 2011 and has 27 so far this season.
Look for Bautista to be the ringer for the American League.
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McCutchen is having a scary good season so far this year for the newly competitive Pittsburgh Pirates. He's hitting .362 with 18 homers so far and is the catalyst for an offense that has powered a Pirates team that is now sitting atop the NL Central.
Much like his teammates on the squad, however, McCutchen's true talent is in his overall ability as a hitter, not necessarily his power.
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If you look just at the numbers, the American League has 84 home runs as a team, whereas the National League has only 67. But that doesn't tell the entire story.
One of the NL's players has only played in 36 games this season and is coming back from a leg injury, and two of them aren't true power hitters.
Look for the AL to dominate tonight's matchup.