The 2013 Home Run Derby participants have been set, and it's obvious the American League has the edge on paper. David Wright might have the home-field advantage at Citi Field and Bryce Harper on his roster, but it's not going to be enough on July 15.
Wright and Harper will be joined by the Pittsburgh Pirates' Pedro Alvarez and the Colorado Rockies' Michael Cuddyer.
Meanwhile, the American League boasts captain Robinson Cano, MLB's season home run leader Chris Davis, Prince Fielder and Yoenis Cespedes. Fielder won the 2012 Derby for the American League, while Cespedes will compete in his first in his young career.
While Wright will be playing the role of the hometown captain in this event, he's not exactly Barry Bonds when it comes to belting homers. The Mets third baseman has 13 long balls this year so far, which is one short of his 2011 total. Wright's career high for homers in a season is 33, two less than Davis has already tallied this season.
Cuddyer falls under the same category as Wright. He hasn't hit more than 20 home runs in a season since 2009.
Alvarez knows a thing or two about belting home runs, but he's also quite familiar with striking out. Carlos Gonzalez's Derby replacement has already gone down on strikes 108 times this season.
While he can't strike out on July 15, Alvarez could miss contact with a few of the lobs thrown down the middle of the plate. Even if he doesn't, he will have a tough time keeping pace with Cano and Fielder, let alone Davis.
Harper is the National League's only true threat to oppose Davis, Fielder and company in this event. The Nationals' star outfielder hit 12 of his 13 home runs before the end of May.
Even figuring in Harper's early hot streak, Davis is the favorite to win this event and Fielder is the defending Derby champion. Davis hit 22 homers between May and June alone.
Obviously, the Derby is different than hitting a home run in a regular-season game, but the statistics point toward the AL having the better bats. Cano's team has some of the MLB's most impressive power hitters on its roster. The NL has batters who see the ball well, but it only has two true power hitters.
Ultimately, this is an event the American League should win easily. The only question is which AL batter will edge out the victory.
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