This year's Home Run Derby features an exciting blend of veteran stars and up-and-coming players, but who will raise the trophy at the end?
It is often hard to predict who will do well in this event. However, we know that it requires a great swing and the confidence to perform in front of a crowd. Also, the last five champions have been lefties.
While regular-season results do not directly play a factor in the competition, it is also important not to ignore how players have performed to this point of the year.
Keeping all of this in mind, here is how the derby should finish during All-Star week.
8. Michael Cuddyer
Although Michael Cuddyer is having one of the best seasons of his career, he is still not much of a power hitter. His 15 home runs are mostly a product of playing in the hitter-friendly environment in Colorado, with only six of them coming on the road.
Cuddyer has never been a superstar, and he is unlikely to embrace the role over the next week to do well in this competition.
7. David Wright
Playing in front of his home fans, David Wright will do his best to make sure he gets at least a few homers on the board. However, he might not want to be too aggressive in this contest.
After competing at the derby in 2006, he only hit six home runs for the rest of the year. Prior to the All-Star break he had 20 long balls.
This time around, Wright will make sure not to adjust his swing at all so he can do well in the games that matter.
6. Yoenis Cespedes
When Yoenis Cespedes makes contact with the ball, it goes a long way. Unfortunately, he has not been doing that too consistently this season.
Not only is he batting .224, but he has only gone deep in one game over the past month. While the raw power could take him far, he is simply not seeing the ball well enough at this point to succeed.
5. Carlos Gonzalez
Unlike Cuddyer, Carlos Gonzalez actually has more home runs on the road (13) than he does at Coors Field (11). This will give him a strong advantage over his teammate while playing in the cavernous Citi Field.
However, he suffered a recent finger injury, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post:
This could hinder his ability to perform at a high level in this competition.
4. Prince Fielder
The two-time champion of this competition is certainly a favorite to win it all again. Of course, it is important to note that he has also had some bad showings in 2007 and 2011.
Prince Fielder does know how to put on a show for the crowd, but he is too inconsistent of a hitter to expect a strong performance two years in a row. He should do well enough to reach the semifinals, but he will fall from there.
3. Bryce Harper
In his young career, Bryce Harper has shown the ability to dazzle with his play. Knowing that this is an opportunity for him to shine on a big stage, he will come through with a great showing at the derby.
It is also important to note that he has been hitting home runs at an incredible rate this year. He has 13 home runs even though he missed over a month with an injury, and is hitting one out every 13.9 at-bats.
If he had enough at-bats to qualify, Harper would rank second in the National League in this category. This ability, plus the confidence to do well in front of a crowd, will give him a good chance of winning.
2. Robinson Cano
After hitting zero home runs in last year's event, Robinson Cano is ready to turn things around in his home city. He is fully capable of doing well in the competition, which he proved by winning it all in 2011.
Of course, the second baseman is known as a streaky hitter. Fortunately, he is on the upswing at the moment. After hitting .275 with three home runs in June, he already has three long balls in July to go with a .367 batting average.
He has a great swing that will play well in any ballpark, and he should contend for another title in this one.
1. Chris Davis
One of the biggest storylines of the entire MLB season has been the breakout performance of Chris Davis. He has already matched his career high with 33 home runs and does not appear to be slowing down at any point.
Most impressively, he is hitting the ball out to all fields while averaging 405.9 feet per home run, according to Hittrackeronline.com.
Although this is his first appearance at the All-Star Game, he is hitting too well to be nervous in the spotlight. He will continue to knock the balls out of the park and prove that he is one of the best power hitters in the game.
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