Pitching has taken over the MLB with no-hitters and complete-game shutouts becoming the norm, but there's still nothing quite like the long ball. The 2014 Home Run Derby will take place Monday in Minneapolis, with 10 of the top sluggers in the majors going at it for the trophy.
Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays and Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies have captained the AL and NL sides, respectively. After selecting three players apiece for their teams, one final player was announced for each side to round out the full list of 10 competitors.
The Home Run Derby has become a staple of All-Star week, but 2014 will feature never-before-seen rule changes as told by MLB.com's Mark Newman.
Let's break down everything you need to know about the Home Run Derby.
2014 MLB Home Run Derby
When: Monday, July 14
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minn.
TV: ESPN (Live stream: WatchESPN)
|2014 MLB Home Run Derby Contenders + Odds|
|Odds via OddsShark.com|
Note: Odds courtesy of Odds Shark, as of July 11
It's been a long time coming, but Giancarlo Stanton is getting his shot to dominate the Home Run Derby like so many had hoped.
The Miami Marlins outfielder has posted dominant power numbers ever since coming onto the scene in 2010, as a 20-year-old. After smashing 22 home runs in 100 rookie games, he hit 34 in 2011 and 37 a year later before cooling off a bit with 24 last season.
It won't hurt that Stanton will have a familiar face pitching to him on Monday, per USA Today's Bob Nightengale:
A player like Stanton is tailor-made for this event. With the sheer power numbers you would covet from a dominant home run hitter, he makes good contact on every pitch he connects with and can send it out of the park in any direction.
It's not surprising to see Odds Shark currently pegging him as a huge favorite, with 2-1 odds.
Stanton is just 24 years of age, but he has emerged as one of many elite young sluggers in the majors. He should have made the list a few years back, but there's no shame in him making 2014 his coming-out party in the Home Run Derby.
There might be contenders in Monday's event that are safer picks to win it, but everyone around the MLB will be all eyes and ears for Yasiel Puig's appearance in the Home Run Derby.
The polarizing Dodgers outfielder barely missed out on the All-Star Game last season after just a month in the majors. But in 2014, with his power numbers continuing to climb and his home run hitting prowess never on better display, he's a shoe-in for both events.
In just 104 games last season, Puig belted 19 homers along with 21 doubles. He's on pace to crush those numbers this season, already with 12 home runs and 25 doubles in 87 games thus far.
Along with Stanton, Puig's inclusion in the NL team makes them the favorites for Bleacher Report's Zachary D. Rymer:
Puig has his fans and his critics, largely due to his flashy play and on-field antics that make him a polarizing figure. But when it comes to standing in the batter's box and smashing home runs, there are few better in the entire MLB.
In just over one full season in the majors, Puig has proven to be much, much more than solely a home run hitter. But on Monday night, he'll be showing off perhaps his best skill.
Cincinnati Reds players haven't been included in the Home Run Derby for quite some time, but Todd Frazier has changed that in 2014.
The 26-year-old became the first Reds player selected for the event since Ken Griffey Jr., per the Cincinnati Enquirer:
All it takes is a look at Frazier's resume and his elite numbers to validate his inclusion on the NL team.
With more than 100 hits in each of the last two seasons, Frazier has already reached that plateau in 2014 with a whopping 101 hits through 91 games. His home run numbers from the last two seasons total 19 apiece.
His home run hitting ability has been on display more-so than ever this year, as he's already cranked 17 out of the park—tied for fifth in the NL. He has incredible pop off his bat.
Frazier isn't the most well-known player in the Home Run Derby, but don't overlook him—he may end up winning it all.