Eight years ago, Bobby Abreu put on quite the show at Comerica Park.
Abreu stepped into the box at the 2005 Home Run Derby and no one knew what was going to happen next. The Phillies outfielder had 18 home runs at the All-Star break, but he wasn’t really considered one of the favorites to take home the title. Well, that changed in the blink of an eye.
The Venezuelan hit 24 home runs in the first round to take a commanding lead. David Ortiz hit the second-most to start the night, but he still sat seven homers behind Abreu. The outfielder only hit six in the second round, but still had 30 entering the final round of the All-Star competition.
Abreu had already broken Miguel Tejada’s record for most single derby home runs by three bombs, and he still had the final round to go. It was a long night for the slugger, but he still had plenty of gas left in the tank. He hit 11 home runs into the stands in the final round to win the title. He finished the night with 41 long balls.
Since that magical night in Detroit, few have come close to breaking Abreu’s record. Josh Hamilton hit 35 homers back in 2008. Ortiz and Robinson Cano sit in third place on the all-time list with 32 bombs each. It will be incredibly difficult to tie or even break the record, but there are two guys who have a shot at it on Monday.
Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
Davis was a no-brainer to compete in this year’s Home Run Derby.
The Orioles first baseman will be starting for the AL on Tuesday, but on Monday, he’ll be attempting to make some history. Davis has already hit 36 home runs this season, which are the most in baseball. He definitely has the power to hit 41 or more in the batting-practice-like competition.
The key to breaking the record will be getting a great start. Abreu hit 24 homers in the first round and Davis will likely need to hit around the same amount as well. Luckily for him, he’s been great at hitting home runs early in games this season. Half of his home runs this year have come in the first three innings.
If Davis can hit around 20 homers in the first round, he’ll be in good shape heading into the next two rounds. In 2013, he’s hit 10 home runs in the fourth through six innings and eight in the seventh through ninth innings. That means that he probably won’t be having a better final round than his second round.
Davis must follow up his big first round with a strong second round. He’ll need to hit at least 14 home runs to even have a chance at breaking the record. At around 34 home runs, everyone will be watching to see if he can hit eight more. It will definitely be close, and endurance will play a big role in how many he finishes with.
Will Davis Break the Record: Close, But No Cigar
Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
Cano enters this year’s Home Run Derby looking to make up for a poor 2012.
The Yankees second baseman won the title in 2011, hitting 32 home runs—just one more than Adrian Gonzalez. There, he hit eight homers in the first round, 12 in the second and then another 12 in the finals. He really benefited from having his father pitching to him. The duo wasn’t successful at all this past year.
Cano entered the 2012 Home Run Derby as one of the favorites after he showed he could hit with the best of him in this style of competition. The star, however, fell flat on his face while trying to defend his title. He didn’t hit one home run. It was the first time since Brandon Inge in 2009 that someone didn’t hit at least one homer.
Cano has gotten off to a good start this season, as he’s hit 21 home runs through 94 games. He’s played 14 games at Citi Field throughout his career, but only has two home runs at the park. Even though he hasn’t had a ton of success hitting bombs there in the past, look for him to make people forget about last season.
In order to break the record, Cano will likely try to go with a balanced approach. He’ll look to hit around the same number of home runs in each round. This season, he’s hit 11 in the first three innings and nine in the next three. He’s only hit one homer in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Don’t expect a late surge.
Will Cano Break the Record: Not Even Close