Each year, the Home Run Derby is one of the most highly anticipated events leading up to the MLB All-Star Game.
With a great deal of hitting prowess on display from both the NL and AL, the 2014 edition on Monday, July 14 promises to be very enjoyable. However, this year's version of the spectacle will feature some significant changes.
Before the sluggers of the Midsummer Classic take the field, let's review the Home Run Derby's participants and preview what's different this time around.
List of Participants
|AL Hitter||Team||2014 Home Run Tally|
|Jose Bautista||Toronto Blue Jays||17|
|Yoenis Cespedes||Oakland Athletics||14|
|Adam Jones||Baltimore Orioles||16|
|Brian Dozier||Minnesota Twins||16|
|Josh Donaldson||Oakland Athletics||20|
|NL Hitter||Team||2014 Home Run Tally|
|Troy Tulowitzki||Colorado Rockies||20|
|Yasiel Puig||Los Angeles Dodgers||12|
|Giancarlo Stanton||Miami Marlins||21|
|Todd Frazier||Cincinnati Reds||17|
|Justin Morneau||Colorado Rockies||13|
Some significant rule changes will be featured during this year's Home Run Derby.
As the league attempts to increase the event's pace and further tantalize viewers, participants will only be given seven outs per round rather than the previous 10. This will help move the Derby along, but it could hinder the amount of deep shots we see over its duration.
Aside from the decrease of outs per round, the event is also undergoing a bracket-style format.
Five players from each league will get a chance at the plate during the first round with the top hitters from each side receiving a bye to the third round. The next two players from both sides with face off in the second round with the winners advancing to face the top seeds.
Finally, the winners of the third round—one from the AL and one from the NL—will face off in the finals to determine a champion.
So, with this format in mind, which sluggers have the best shots of advancing through the duration of the 2014 Home Run Derby?
Well, a strong case can be made for Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins.
For one, his 21 home runs this season lead all Derby participants. He's also averaging an improbable 423.76 feet per home run. ESPN Stats and Info tweeted a rather telling statistic regarding his power:
Giancarlo Stanton has actually hit more 450+ foot HRs than any TEAM in MLB this season. pic.twitter.com/MS5nXi4kU4— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 10, 2014
Certainly, NL captain Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies can't be counted out either.
He's not quite matching Stanton's power, but he's been very consistent, boasting a league-best .350 batting average while sending 20 balls out of the park.
Here's a great look at Tulowitzki's versatility at the plate:
Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki now has 6 seasons with 20 or more HR & he hits them when thrown inside/outside/down middle pic.twitter.com/9AuBi1XyUC— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 10, 2014
We're also about to see this swing in action during the Home Run Derby, courtesy of the Los Angeles Dodgers official Twitter account:
It appears as though we may be in store for some patented Yasiel Puig bat flips.
All 10 competitors this year are more than capable of coming away with the title of Home Run Derby champion. That's what makes this event so compelling.
Expect to see some major fireworks at Target Field on Monday.