It takes a special kind of talent to win the Home Run Derby.
Sure you need to have plenty of strength, but more importantly you need to have consistency and endurance.
It’s a marathon not a sprint.
So while sluggers like Jose Bautista, Carlos Beltran and Prince Fielder are some of the favorites to take home the crown tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. EDT (ESPN), the following three players have almost no shot of hoisting the trophy.
Matt Kemp - Los Angeles Dodgers
There was no question Kemp was the MVP for the first six weeks this season in the National League.
Kemp hit .355 with 12 home runs in only 121 ABs before enduring two stints on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. He has played a grand total of two games since May 14 and enters Monday’s contest incredibly rusty. Nobody is quite sure how strong his hamstring is, and if he’ll be able to generate the typical power he displayed back in April.
On top of this, Kemp was horrific last year in his first appearance in the derby. He hit a contest-low two home runs and was promptly bounced in the first round.
All things considered, the odds are not stacked in Kemp’s favor.
Andrew McCutchen - Pittsburgh Pirates
Filling in for the injured Giancarlo Stanton, there is a reason why the 5’10’’, 185-pound McCutchen was the last player to get the invite.
His 18 home runs are only good enough for 16th in baseball, and he has never hit more than 23 in a season. With such a thin frame, it’s hard to imagine McCutchen having the endurance to keep slugging deep fly’s well into the night.
I see McCutchen hitting a few early, but quickly fizzling out.
Mark Trumbo - Los Angeles Angels
One of the biggest surprises of the first half, the 26-year-old Trumbo already has socked 22 dingers—good enough for the seventh-best mark in baseball.
He is the biggest power hitter in the game right now, leading the majors in the average distance of his home runs (419.5 feet) according to ESPN Stats and Info.
There is no question Trumbo is the favorite to launch the longest homer tonight, but that means little in this competition.
Nobody has fewer career home runs than Trumbo. Nerves are going to be an issue, and if there was a candidate who could mess up his swing in an exhibition like this, it’s Trumbo.
I doubt this will be the last time he participates in this contest, but his first appearance will be a disappointment.