Predicting the 2013 MLB Home Run Derby Participants
It's a tradition that has been around since 1985 and continues to be a "big hit" in the baseball world: The MLB All-Star Game Home Run Derby is a fan-favorite competition that pits some of the game's best sluggers against each other for long-ball bragging rights.
The competition has undergone a few procedural changes over the years, but the key components have remained the same—the slugger that is still standing after three rounds is named the champion.
In 2012, the Detroit Tigers' Prince Fielder was the cream of the crop in Kansas City. Fielder topped Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays 12-11 in the final round, giving him a total of 32 long balls. The American League out slugged the National League, 61-21.
Starting in 2011, MLB implemented team captains from each league to select the derby competitors. The 2013 captains have already been named.
Fittingly, as the All-Star Game will be played in New York at Citi Field, the home of the Mets, the Derby captains will be the Mets' David Wright for the National League and the Yankees' Robinson Cano—who won the competition in '11—for the American League for his second consecutive year.
Of course, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox will not be taking part in this year's competition, recently saying that he is "done with the Derby."
So who will be slugging away with these crosstown rivals in July? The actual participants won't be revealed for a few weeks yet, but here are some distinct possibilities.
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Chris Davis has been assaulting baseballs all season long. The Baltimore Orioles' slugger currently leads all of baseball with 27 home runs and even sports a nice .336 batting average, making him an early favorite for MVP consideration.
Playing in the same division as team captain Robinson Cano, Davis and his mashing ways are almost a certainty to participate in the Home Run Derby in July. Davis has never participated in the competition before.
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While battling a myriad of injuries in 2013, Carlos Gonzalez has managed to pace the National League with his 21 home runs. The Rockies' left fielder has been a key cog to the team's success in 2013 and should make a serious run for league MVP, if his body can hold up.
CarGo has some experience in the Home Run Derby, as he took part in his first-ever competition last year in Kansas City. Gonzalez was knocked out in the first round, collecting four home runs in 2012.
There aren't many players who wish to participate in multiple Home Run Derbies during their career, but CarGo may be looking for some retribution for his less-than-stellar performance a year ago.
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Compared to 2012, Jose Bautista is having a down year. Although, anytime you have 27 home runs by the All-Star break, it's easy to have a "down" year the subsequent season.
That being said, Joey Bats has 16 home runs so far in 2013 and is on pace to hit 35 for the year—not too shabby. Bautista has appeared in each of the last two derbies, finishing as the runner-up last year to Prince Fielder. The third time could be the charm for the Blue Jays' right fielder (he hit a total of four in 2011 and followed that up with 20 in 2012).
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In 2012, Pedro Alvarez mashed a career-high 30 home runs for the Pittsburgh Pirates. So far in 2013, he's already on pace to surpass that total—he has 19 through his first 68 games. The slugging third baseman has turned up the heat in the month of June, crushing nine home runs for the month entering play on Monday.
Alvarez has never been in a Home Run Derby, but as he's matured into a true power threat, David Wright should definitely take a long look at his defensive counter part for his squad.
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Ever since he debuted with the Oakland A's in 2012, Yoenis Cespedes has been a power threat, wreaking havoc on the American League pitchers.
The Cuban import doesn't hit for a high average—he's only hitting .224 so far in 2013. But he has tremendous power, as evidenced by his 15 home runs over 245 at-bats. Not to mention, the 23 he hit as the Rookie of the Year runner-up last year.
And when Cespedes hits them out, they go far. He hast he kind of home run swing that could put on a very good show for the crowd. Now that he has his rookie season out of the way, Cespedes could be an intriguing option for Robinson Cano to consider.
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At 36 years of age, Carlos Beltran is no longer a spring chicken. Yet, despite battling several nagging injuries through the latter part of his career, Beltran has found a way to remain one of the most offensively productive outfielders of this generation.
In 2012, Beltran launched 32 home runs, his highest total since 2007. So far, over 284 at-bats in 2013, Beltran has 17 home runs, good for sixth best in the league.
Beltran took part in last year's competition, the first of his career. He made it to the second round in Kansas City, totaling 12 home runs. A good friend of David Wright, and a former Mets slugger, Beltran could find himself in his second consecutive Home Run Derby in 2013.