When Chris Berman starts squawking, "Back, back, back, back, back...Gone!" at this year's Home Run Derby like some combination of the Cadbury Bunny and a baseball announcer, the only question will be who earns the most utterances of the traditional call from the famous commentator.
Will it be Giancarlo Stanton with his violently powerful swing? Yasiel Puig, the consummate entertainer? Or perhaps a Minnesota favorite?
It's hard to say for sure. But below, we'll attempt to rank each contestant in this year's Derby by his likelihood to win. Enjoy the dingers, folks.
10. Brian Dozier
Not only will Minnesota Twins stud Brian Dozier be the favorite in front of his hometown fans, he also has the pop to win this thing. With 16 home runs this season, Dozier isn't just some homer selection.
Still, with a field far more experienced and perhaps with more raw power, Dozier is the ultimate underdog here. Just don't underestimate the power of the home crowd at his back.
9. Justin Morneau
Justin Morneau is capable of winning the Home Run Derby, but one wonders if his inclusion was as much about him getting to perform in front of the Twins fans who watched him play for much of his career. After all, Morneau hasn't hit 20 or more home runs in a season since 2009.
Is he only a symbolic addition to the competition? Of course not. The man can still put the ball in the stands. But he seems like a long shot to come away as a winner.
8. Todd Frazier
Fans outside Cincinnati may not be terribly familiar with Todd Frazier, but he's a player who very quietly has a lot of pop in his bat. And he's also a player fans should quickly come to like, if the following tweet from Buster Olney of ESPN is any indication:
No, he probably won't win. But if he puts on a show, who really cares?
7. Adam Jones
There is a difference between good hitters and power hitters. Generally, good hitters can smack home runs but aren't necessarily doing so purposefully. Rather, they're just trying to make quality contact. While that is preferable in an actual game, it often doesn't play well at the Home Run Derby.
The above could plague Adam Jones. There's no doubt he has plenty of power—he hit 30 or more home runs in 2012 and 2013—but he's a well-rounded player, not a player who always swings for the fences. He has the power to win this thing, but the change in mentality might be jarring enough to hurt him against some of the competition's more traditional power hitters.
6. Josh Donaldson
In the past two seasons, Josh Donaldson has shown some real pop, exceeding 20 home runs in each campaign. Now, the star for the Oakland Athletics will get the chance to show off his power as well at the Home Run Derby.
He seems pretty excited by the prospect.
"It's definitely pretty neat," he told ESPN. "It will be one of those things that adds icing to the cake. Hopefully I'll be able to put on a show."
And winning the Derby? Well, one would guess that would be the scoop of ice cream on the side.
5. Troy Tulowitzki
Shortstops don't generally win Home Run Derbies. But Troy Tulowitzki is not your run-of-the-mill shortstop.
He's hit 20 or more home runs in six of his last eight seasons, and were it not for injuries, he might be 8-for-8. Heck, he's already accomplished the feat this year. The NL captain will be one of the favorites for sure.
4. Yasiel Puig
Yasiel Puig is a showman. He enjoys the spotlight. He likes having fun. Not only will all of those factors make him a fan favorite during the competition, but they also indicate he'll likely put on a show for the fans in Minnesota.
What else do you need to know?
3. Jose Bautista
Jose Bautista is a serious contender. Not only has he had success in this competition before, finishing as runner-up in the 2012 Derby, but he also has quite the history at Target Field, as Jerry Crasnick of ESPN noted:
Not too shabby, eh? Don't be surprised if the AL captain makes a real run at winning this thing.
2. Yoenis Cespedes
Hey, you have to respect the defending champion. And if he is able to repeat, he'll be in some elite company, as SportsCenter on Twitter notes:
Cespedes has yet to hit 30 home runs in a season—he set his MLB career high with 26 last year—but there's no doubt that he brings serious pop to the competition. The format has changed this year, however, and there is one man with even more pop than he possesses.
Those two factors will keep him from repeating as champion.
1. Giancarlo Stanton
Few players have the natural power that Giancarlo Stanton possesses. Don't believe that? Check out this tweet from ESPN Stats & Information on Thursday:
Stanton is a natural home run hitter, and players with raw power generally fare better in the Derby than players who are simply really good hitters but don't necessarily bring the muscle to their swing every time. Stanton, no doubt, brings the muscle.
He'll be this year's Home Run Derby champion.
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