2011 MLB Home Run Derby: Who Prince Fielder and David Ortiz Should Select
While the format that determines the Home Run Derby champion has stayed intact, MLB has decided for the first time to have league captains in 2011.
The defending champion of last year's edition in Anaheim, David Ortiz of the Red Sox, is captain of the American League squad, while champion of the 2009 edition in St. Louis, Prince Fielder, is captain for the National League squad.
The pair will pick any three players of their choice to participate in the derby, and they don't have to be All-Stars by nature.
That said, here is who Ortiz and Fielder should have their eyes on to participate in the 2011 Home Run Derby in Arizona (just in case you ask, I did not put Ryan Braun or Adrian Gonzalez in this slideshow, as I don't foresee two teammates participating in the Derby).
NL: Justin Upton
2011 Statistics: .304 AVG, 13 HR, 43 RBI .518 SLG
The hometown choice, Justin Upton is the ideal candidate to participate in his first Home Run Derby.
According to hittrackeronline.com, Upton hit the second-longest home run this season, measured at 478 feet and trailing only Prince Fielder at 486 feet.
In addition to the showcase of power, Upton has shown the consistent ability to have "no-doubters." He has seven of them, which leads the National League.
AL: Curtis Granderson
2011 Statistics: .276 AVG, 21 HR, 56 RBI, .575 SLG
Granderson is having quite the break-out year in the power department, and showcasing him the Derby will further bring out his true ability to hit the long ball.
Hit Tracker has measured six "no-doubters" by Granderson this season, and it would be interesting to see if he can do it in Arizona away from Yankee Stadium.
Besides the numbers, you know you just want to have a potential Yankee-Red Sox showdown brewing anyhow.
NL: Mike Stanton
2011 Statistics: .253 AVG, 16 HR, 44 RBI, .517 SLG
Mike Stanton is perhaps the sleeper of the names mentioned on this list, but he possesses great power, which he showcased in batting practice at AT&T Park in May when he hit a home run that just missed the giant glove out in left center field.
Stanton has also hit a 465-foot home run this season (dead center home run at Citi Field) and has hit the second-most "no-doubters" at six, only behind Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks.
AL: Jose Bautista
2011 Statistics: .329 AVG, 24 HR, 52 RBI, .667 SLG
The 2010 leader in home runs with 54, Jose Bautista is an obvious choice. Everyone wants to see his home run hitting ability live, and the Home Run Derby is the perfect fit.
Bautista leads the American League in "no-doubters" with seven, and did I mention everyone is just dying to see what he can do in front of a national audience?
Need I say more?
NL: Matt Kemp
2011 Statistics: .331 AVG, 22 HR, 63 RBI, .628 SLG
Matt Kemp is currently a triple crown threat in the National League, so the choice is warranted for the Dodgers centerfielder.
Furthermore, a champion performance here would provide a bright spot for the Dodgers in a season that has had serious blemishes. From low attendance to the ownership and financial issues, it's something they need.
AL: Miguel Cabrera
2011 Statistics: .332 AVG, 17 HR, 56 RBI, .586 SLG
Miguel Cabrera is one of the pure sluggers in the game, a veteran of the Home Run Derby (played in 2006 and 2010) and he wants to be crowned Derby champion.
Cabrera has hit four "no-doubters" this season for the Tigers, including a pair of 425-foot taters against the New York Mets a few days ago.