Home Run Derby 2014: Last-Minute Info and Prediction for MLB Contest

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Home Run Derby 2014: Last-Minute Info and Prediction for MLB Contest
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

The MLB season is a 162-game grind for players and fans alike. But for one night in July, everyone gets to stop worrying about the pennant race, the disabled list and trying to figure out Clayton Kershaw’s breaking ball and focus on the home run.

The 2014 Home Run Derby takes place Monday night, and here is the last-minute information you need to be ready for the event.

 

2014 Home Run Derby

Date: Monday, July 14, 2014

Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Location: Target Field (Home of the Minnesota Twins) 

Contestants:

2014 Home Run Derby Contestants
Name Team League Home Runs
Jose Bautista Toronto Blue Jays American League 17
Yoenis Cespedes Oakland Athletics American League 14
Josh Donaldson Oakland Athletics American League 20
Brian Dozier Minnesota Twins American League 18
Adam Jones Baltimore Orioles American League 16
Troy Tulowitzki Colorado Rockies National League 21
Todd Frazier Cincinnati Reds National League 19
Justin Morneau Colorado Rockies National League 13
Yasiel Puig Los Angeles Dodgers National League 12
Giancarlo Stanton Miami Marlins National League 21

ESPN.com

Interestingly enough, the Home Run Derby features some new rules this year (courtesy of ESPN.com). All 10 players bat in the opening round and get seven outs each (instead of the usual 10), and the player with the most homers from each league receives a bye into the third round.

Nick Wass/Associated Press

After that, the two players with the next-most home runs compete in head-to-head fashion in the second round and those winners face their league’s top seed in the third round. The winners from each league then go against each other in the last round.

Dayn Perry of CBS Sports pointed out just how difficult it is to hit home runs in Target Field:

As you're likely aware, Target Field is a tough environment for hitters. In fact, just five parks -- AT&T, Marlins, PNC, Busch and O.co -- have suppressed home run rates to a greater extent than Target has throughout recent history. As for specifics, Target is a bit easier on right-handed batters.

The thought here is that Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays takes home the trophy.

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

He has tormented the Twins with an incredible 11 home runs in 59 plate appearances there and was the runner-up in the 2012 event to Prince Fielder. That means Bautista has experience at Target Field and in the actual Home Run Derby, so he will understand how to conserve energy and approach the event.

He discussed his dominance at Target Field, via John Shipley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

I can't really point to one reason why. I know I've experienced success against this team even away from this park. They throw a lot of strikes. I know their pitching philosophy is based on the fastball, and I've managed to get to some good hitting counts and take advantage of some pitches when I've played against them.

Who wins?

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Between the experience competing in something like this, and the fact that Target Field boasts a short power-alley in left-center field (377 feet), the right-handed hitting Bautista is in a favorable position entering the event. 

He will take advantage.

 

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