The Home Run Derby is one of the most exciting spectacles of the Major League Baseball season, and this year, it’s time to give the fans exactly what they want.
The fans want to see the biggest superstars in the game hit baseball after baseball into the stands at Citi Field in New York. They want to see the guys who have crushed plenty of home runs this season and make it look easy while doing so. They want to see the players who are capable of breaking previous Derby records. They want the best of the best.
Which players do fans want to see on July 15 the most? The entire weekend is meant for the fans, so here’s a look at three candidates who will all be in Queens for the All-Star Game but should also be participating in the Home Run Derby the night before.
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Ever since Bryce Harper was a legitimate prospect, we’ve dreamed of the day he’d be on the field at the Home Run Derby. We may finally get our wish this year, as Harper may be on captain David Wright’s squad. Wright has asked Harper to participate, according to James Wagner of the Washington Post.
Wagner writes that there has never been a Nationals player to compete in the Home Run Derby. Harper would be a fantastic slugger to be the first, as he has remarkable bat speed and swings just about as hard as anyone else in the game. Remember back in 2009 when he hit a ball 502 feet at Tropicana Field?
Yeah, Harper definitely has the potential to shine when he’s just focused on hitting balls out of the park. The 2012 NL Rookie of the Year hit 22 bombs a year ago and already has 13 through 51 games this season. That total would likely be even higher if he didn’t miss some time with some bumps and bruises.
Harper has three home runs in nine career games at Citi Field. Earlier this season, he hit a pair in the same game against the Mets. The first was a two-run shot in the third inning, and the second was a solo homer in the eighth.
Everyone would drool over the show he’d put on if he competes on July 15.
Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
Chris Davis has had an insane first half of the season. Last year, he was one of the top sluggers in the game, hitting 33 home runs in 139 games. Through 88 games this year, he has tied last year’s home-run total.
Yes, Davis has already launched a league-leading 33 balls out of the park in 2013.
Davis has told captain Robinson Cano that he’d be interested in participating in this year’s Home Run Derby, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. He also said that he isn’t worried that the Derby could ruin his swing, stating, “I play Home Run Derby every day in batting practice.”
Davis has basically been playing Home Run Derby during games too. He’s hit eight no-doubt home runs this year—one behind Pedro Alvarez—according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker. His average true home-run distance is 405.9 feet, and he has hit five home runs 430 feet or further, per the site.
Isolated power is a term used to measure a player’s raw power at the plate. While ISO varies from year to year, FanGraphs says that anything .250 or higher is great. Davis’ ISO is at .392 this year, which is by far the highest in the game. Carlos Gonzalez is in second at .315.
Sign Davis up, Cano.
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Miguel Cabrera had one of the best years we’ve ever seen in 2012, but even after the season ended, he wasn’t done. Over the winter, Cabrera won the Home Run Derby in his home country of Venezuela, according to Mark Townsend of Yahoo! Sports. The slugger smashed 13 home runs throughout the competition, per the report.
It wasn’t the first time that the Venezuelan has participated in a Home Run Derby, though. Cabrera hit 15 home runs at the 2006 Home Run Derby, finishing in third place behind Ryan Howard and Wright. In 2010, Cabrera was back at the competition, but he only managed to hit 12 homers, finishing in fourth place.
Will the third time be the charm for Cabrera? We’ll have to wait a little while to see if he’s even going to participate, but one would assume he’d be a strong candidate to take home the trophy if he does. He’s second in the league in home runs this season, only behind Davis. Through 86 games, the third baseman has 28 long balls.
Cabrera will surely hit two more home runs this season to reach the 30-mark for the ninth time in 11 big league seasons. He has a smooth swing, and it’s crazy to watch how far the ball flies off his bat. This is a guy who literally crushes baseballs, per David Brown of Yahoo! Sports. He must give the Derby another go this year.