The MLB All-Star Game may be a showcase of the best players in baseball, but the Home Run Derby truly allows them to show off their raw talent. The Derby obviously isn't for everyone, but many of the biggest power hitters in the sport today will launch an aerial assault on Citi Field Monday night.
Fans have been infatuated with the long ball for a very long time, and the Home Run Derby certainly feeds the beast. There is nothing quite like watching an MLB player launch a majestic shot into the night sky, and that is precisely what the Home Run Derby allows fans to witness time and time again.
Here are three most impressive players in this year's Derby that are most likely to put on shows with barrages of mammoth home runs.
No player in Major League Baseball has improved more from last season to this season than Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, and no player in the league has more home runs this year either.
Davis has launched 36 jacks this year to go along with 89 RBI and a .313 average, which is well above his career mark. He is very much on the AL MVP radar, and he has a chance to make an even bigger name for himself on Monday.
At 6'3" and 230 pounds, Davis is an absolute monster, with arms like the Incredible Hulk. He is made for the Home Run Derby because he is able to hit balls out of the park without even getting all of them. In a recent game against the New York Yankees, Davis appeared to hit a fly ball to center field, and his reaction made it seem as though he figured it would be caught. The ball continued to sail, though, and it cleared the center-field wall at Yankee Stadium.
Citi Field certainly isn't as good of a ballpark for hitters as Yankee Stadium, but Davis has a way of making every stadium seem small.
Even though in-game home run power doesn't always translate to the Home Run Derby, it would be pretty surprising if Davis doesn't at least put up one huge round.
It can be argued that Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper doesn't deserve to be a National League starter because he has missed some time due to injury this season and only boasts a .269 average with 13 home runs and 29 RBI.
But the Home Run Derby is a different story.
Harper may have more pure talent than anyone in the league, and he'll have a chance to show it off at Citi Field.
He may only be 20 years old, but he already has the body of a power hitter, at 6'2" and 230 pounds. Hitting home runs appears to be effortless for him at times, which will come in handy during the Derby.
Baseball players setting goals for themselves is nothing new, but it's funny to hear that competing in the Home Run Derby is something that Harper can now cross off his bucket list, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:
Bryce Harper is excited for the Home Run Derby: “This is one of the things that was on the bucket list." http://t.co/LJZ85dg4w9— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) July 10, 2013
Harper has a lot to accomplish before the proverbial bucket is kicked, but it sounds like he is extremely excited about being part of the Home Run Derby. That excitement should lead to a great performance, especially since Harper is the type of player who likes to show off a little bit.
That isn't always acceptable during game situations, but it is encouraged in the Home Run Derby.
Former Seattle Mariners star Ken Griffey Jr. is often named as the player who possessed the sweetest swing in MLB history, but second baseman Robinson Cano may very well hold that distinction in the present day. Cano's swing is easy, level and fluid, which is why he has hit .300 or better in four straight seasons and has also hit 25 or more home runs in each of those years.
Which player are you most excited to watch compete in the Home Run Derby?
Griffey won the Home Run Derby an unprecedented three times with his swing, and while Cano has some work to do in order to reach that level, he did win the Derby two years ago.
Cano wasn't considered a major threat to win by most due to the fact that he has a line-drive swing, but he seemed to have an advantage over the other competitors because he didn't have to alter his swing in order to launch balls out of the park.
The Yankee didn't do nearly as well last year, as he hit a grand total of zero home runs and was booed out of the ballpark after declining to choose Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler for his Home Run Derby squad.
That is all behind Cano now, and he happens to be swinging a very hot bat, so he'll definitely be in contention. Even if he doesn't win, watching his swing will be worth the price of admission.
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