With the 2014 Home Run Derby coming Monday, July 14—that's less than a week away!—and most of the players participating having just been picked, it's time to evaluate and grade the jobs done by Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Bautista, the captains who did said picking for the National and American Leagues, respectively, on Tuesday evening.
Before that, though, here's a quick reminder that there are a few noteworthy changes this year: The field is expanding to 10 sluggers, the number of outs per hitter has been reduced from 10 to seven, and the competition will play out in a bracket format.
Oh, and the final two participants will be announced Thursday to round out each side with five hitters.
While it would have made all our dreams come true to get to see the likes of Jose Abreu, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Nelson Cruz and Edwin Encarnacion, among others, swing (and swing and swing) for the fences, invitations were declined and injuries were suffered.
That can't be held against the captains too much, however—in particular Bautista, as that lot hails from the AL.
There are two quirky aspects of this derby field as it's currently constituted. First, all eight contestants, including Tulowitzki and Bautista, hit from the right side. And second, aside from Bautista, only one other has any previous derby experience, but at least it's the winner of the event last year at Citi Field in New York.
Rather than evaluating Tulowitzki and Bautista as hitters themselves—it's safe to say they pass with flying colors anyway—this is all about grading their abilities to coax intriguing and exciting names into the act of hitting as many balls out of Target Field as humanly possible next week.
The grades are based on factors both objective (number of career home runs, average distance of home runs hit this year) and subjective (Q rating).
Here are the grades of the six selections so far, listed in the order Bautista and Tulowitzki announced them on SportsCenter on Tuesday evening.