For the third time in the history of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the American and National Leagues will square off behind two different captains in the Home Run Derby.
On Tuesday, New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano (AL) and New York Mets third baseman David Wright (NL) were reportedly named as the captains for their respective leagues and now have the task of picking a group of sluggers to wow fans at Citi Field in New York.
ESPN's Adam Rubin had the news on Twitter:
David Wright and Robinson Cano will be the Home Run Derby captains.— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) June 11, 2013
MLB.com's Paul Casella also had a report following the news, noting that the New York fans in attendance at the 2013 MLB All-Star Game are going to love the fact that both teams in the state are being well-represented.
Here's an excerpt from Casella's report:
Each captain will be tasked with selecting three other hitters from his own league to complete his respective Home Run Derby team. Though the Home Run Derby remains an individual competition, the leagues will once again be pitted against each other in teams of four.
Wright will be looking to form a team that can slug its way to some revenge after the AL dominated the 2012 Home Run Derby. The four Junior Circuit representatives combined to hit 61 home runs last season whereas their Senior Circuit counterparts tallied just 21 long balls.
Former captains include David Ortiz, Prince Fielder, Matt Kemp and Cano. Cano is making his second straight appearance as the AL captain. He won the event in 2011, but was bested last year by Fielder in another Derby classic.
The American League is riding a three-game winning streak in the Home Run Derby and also has won five out of the last six contests.
The Yankees tweeted their support for the slugger with this message following the announcement:
Cano is fifth in the AL with 15 home runs, while Wright is considerably further down the board in the NL, having only totaled eight bombs in just 58 games. This will be Wright's first appearance in the Home Run Derby since 2006.
SportsNet New York posted this tweet with both stars pictured as the debate over the other six participants begins:
Conversation about who should be participating will start with the American side, where Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles leads the league in long balls with 20. Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera isn't far behind with 18, while Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Dunn and Mark Trumbo/Nelson Cruz/Cano round out the top five.
Cabrera's teammate, Tigers ace Justin Verlander, even wants to get in on the action this year, campaigning for fans to vote him into the event to add a new element to the slugger-only contest (via MLB on Twitter):
On the National League side, youngsters lead the conversation.
Philadelphia Phillies star-in-the-making Domonic Brown leads the NL in home runs with 19, while Colorado Rockies teammates Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki lead the rest of the pack that includes Paul Goldschmidt, Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and Carlos Beltran.
Another hot name that will likely grab headlines is Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig, who already has four home runs in eight games while completely captivating L.A. faithful over his first week in the bigs.
Others to consider include fellow Cuban Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics and Texas Ranger Adrian Beltre.
Which captain has a better crop of talent to pick from?
For now, the focus will remain on both Cano and Wright, two of the sport's biggest stars who will appeal to the New York crowd that will gravitate to Queens for the Midsummer Classic.
The pair battled for the United States and Dominican Republic at the 2013 World Baseball Classic, with Cano's nation emerging victorious and proving the Americans still have a long way to go before claiming baseball world dominance.
Wright and Cano have accounted for over 400 home runs between them during their time in the majors, and the hometown flavor of New York undoubtedly influenced the selection of the Derby captains.
Expect speculation about the other six participants to start running rampant—every baseball fan has a different set of stars they'd like to see in baseball's moon-shot competition each summer.