Home Run Derby 2013: Breaking Down Each Contender's Powerful Swing

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVJuly 12, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 9: Chris Davis #19 of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after taking a strike in the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 9, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Texas Rangers won, 8-4. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The world's best sluggers from both the American League and National League will take the stage for the 2013 MLB Home Run Derby on July 15, and it's sure to be filled with fireworks and excitement at Citi Field. 

Each of these eight batters brings his own signature style to the plate, and whoever can utilize his talents as well as delegate enough energy to the latter rounds will come out victorious.

Let's take a look at each contender's swing in the upcoming Home Run Derby.

American League

Robinson Cano, New York Yankees

Only two players—Ken Griffey, Jr. and Prince Fielder—have won the Home Run Derby multiple times. Robinson Cano would join them with a win in this year's competition.

Cano has emerged as the Bronx's top bomber with a powerful swing that utilizes all of his 210-pound frame. He uses his big arms to swing through the ball. This helps him with high pitches, which he can make contact with at a higher point, and this helps him sail balls over the fence.

If Cano can catch lightning in a bottle with his father potentially pitching to him like he did in 2011, the Yankee could run away with this competition like he did two years prior. 

Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers

There simply aren't that many specimens in the history of baseball who have simply used their size to their advantage like Prince Fielder.

Despite standing below six feet, the Detroit Tigers slugger assumes all of 275 pounds. No, that's not a typo, and no, we're not talking about an NFL defensive linemen.

When Fielder can use his massive momentum to make contact with the ball, his opponents have no chance. That was the case in 2009, as well as last year.

In a stacked field, it's tough to bet on Fielder to win three times—which nobody has ever done. But don't discount what he brings to the table and how rare his kind of power is.

Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles

If Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis has anything to say about it, the American League won't be dominated by guys who have won this event before. Instead, it may be about the batter with 34 homers already this season.

Davis has the prototypical power-hitter frame, at 6'3" and 230 pounds. Despite his ideal frame, it's his torque and bat speed that sets him apart, as he has the ability to drive pitches out of the park before pitchers know what happened.

If Davis has any amount of energy left in the tank from his near historic first half of the 2013 season, he should show up well in the Home Run Derby.

Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland Athletics

The American League hopes it caught lightning in a bottle with the selection of A's left fielder Yoenis Cespedes.

The 27-year-old hasn't had his most productive year at the plate, batting just .221. But he's found a tough for the long ball, with 15 homers and 42 RBI. 

Don't let Cespedes' 5'10", 210-pound frame fool you—he's built like a tank. With an upper body that gives him enough power to send balls deep into the stands and tree-trunk legs, it's no secret where all of the Cuban's power comes from.

National League

David Wright, New York Mets

A Home Run Derby simply isn't the same without its hometown hero. 

David Wright assumes that position in 2013, and it's well deserved. The 6'0", 210-pounder has knocked out 13 homers on the season to go along with 43 RBI, seemingly keeping his 40-48 Mets somewhat relevant. 

Wright's power is a product of his ideal size—his average height shortens the strike zone but he has a stronger swing than he lets on—and his sound baseball I.Q., as he has learned through his 10th year in the majors how to make the most out of at-bats and improving his decision making.

Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies

At 34 years of age, Michael Cuddyer's best days of baseball are supposed to be behind him. In a game that is now dominated by prospects and up-and-comers, the aged veteran picked up his first two All-Star selections in 2011 and 2013. 

Although not a household name, Cuddyer's presence in the Home Run Derby is anything but a fluke. At 6'2", 220 pounds, he has the size, and 15 homers on the season doesn't hurt either. But it'll be all about how much age will catch up to his swing if he makes it past the first round.

Don't count on Cuddyer to make a big impact on the event, but at the same time, don't discount what he's able to do at the plate. 

Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

A 20-year-old franchise player who is just coming off an injury doesn't really equate to a Home Run Derby appearance, but nobody can stop Bryce Harper from making a splash at this year's event.

And rightly so. The youngster has already emerged as one of baseball's power sluggers, with the ability to send one deep at any time. He may be hardly out of his teenage years, but hardly any hitters are as dangerous to go deep on any given at-bat.

The 6'2", 230-pound specimen is tailor-made for crushing the stitching out of baseballs, as he possesses a breed of power and quick-hitting that we haven't seen in some time.

It may be a risky move for the Nats to feature their prized outfielder in the event, but we'll all be glad they allowed it to happen.

Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates

Colorado cleaned up in this year's Home Run Derby with two contestants, as Carlos Gonzalez initially made the field. But an injury has allowed Alvarez to make a much-anticipated appearance, according to Matthew Pouliot of NBC's Hard Ball Talk

The 26-year-old Vanderbilt product is an absolute tank, pushing 235 pounds at the towering height of 6'3". This size has allowed Alvarez to knock out 22 homers and 60 RBI this season, numbers that would look much more incredible if it weren't for the years Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera are having.

Alvarez struggles with efficiency at just a .253 batting average, but that shouldn't hurt him in the Home Run Derby due to the unlimited pitches they can face. 


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