2011 MLB All-Star Game logo2011 MLB All-Star Game

MLB Home Run Derby: Breaking Down the Field

James BrownSenior Analyst IJuly 10, 2011

MLB Home Run Derby: Breaking Down the Field

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    The Home Run Derby is one of the most exciting events during the All-Star festivities.

    This year, there is a twist to the time honored event. Two captains were named to represent each league and hand-pick the players that would participate in the challenge.

    Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was awarded the American League captaincy and Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers nabbed National League honors.

    Here is a look at the participants for this year’s State Farm All-Star Home Run Derby, with odds and a selection on who will be crowned champion.

David Ortiz (Captain)

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    American League

    David Ortiz (Captain)

    David Ortiz is affectionately known as “Big Papi,” and he has won this event before. As captain of the American League, he selected the team to show up to Arizona and try and hit the most home runs.

    Although he brings a talented team with him to the desert, Papi is a genuine threat to win in back-to-back years. He has 19 home runs heading into Sunday’s action and his left handed swing will do well at Chase Field.

    Some questioned the selections that Ortiz made since all of the participants come from the American League East, and his first pick was from his very own team.

Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox

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    Adrian Gonzalez is putting up MVP like numbers in his first year in Boston. He is batting a robust .352 and leads all of baseball with 77 RBI.

    Gonzalez is also a threat to hit the long-ball, with 17 home runs so far on the year. While his left-handed swing should do well on this field, Gonzalez seems like he is more of a pure hitter and not a power hitter.

    It will be interesting to see how he performs in the derby.

Robinson Cano, New York Yankees

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    Robinson Cano is another interesting pick by David Ortiz. Picking a member of the New York Yankees is not a problem, but it’s the player he chose.

    Ortiz went with Cano over Alex Rodriguez or Curtis Granderson, who has recently found his power stroke. Instead, Cano will join the team and bring his 15 home runs to the event.

    Cano is a long-shot to win the event but does bring some pop into the derby. Cano may not be favored to win the event, but the next member of Ortiz’s team is getting plenty of attention.

Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Jose Bautista rounds out the team, and he is an obvious pick as the league leader in home runs on the season. Joey Bats is on pace to hit 60 home runs this year and is arguably the most prolific home run hitter in the derby.

    With a monster power stroke and a knack for hitting the long ball, Bautista is the favorite to bring home the trophy on derby night.

Prince Fielder (Captain)

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    National League

    Prince Fielder (Captain)

    Prince Fielder was selected as the captain for the National League because he is the last NL player to win the home run derby.

    It didn’t hurt that Fielder is off to a great year as well. He has 22 long balls on the season and is in the top of the National League in many of the key statistical categories. He bats from the left side of the plate, which will come in handy on this field, and he has a good of a chance as anyone to win this event.

    Like Ortiz, Fielder did not have to go far to find his first selection, as he nabbed a player from his own team.

Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Some fans were scratching their heads with this selection. Rickie Weeks is a talented player and does have some pop. He has launched 17 homers so far on the year, but he does not seem like he is a threat to win the derby.  

Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Fielder stayed in his division for his next selection and grabbed Matt Holliday from the St. Louis Cardinals.

    Holliday has just 14 home runs on the season, but is known for his power swing. He is heating up right before the All-Star break and is a welcome addition to this team.

    His sweet stroke and his ability to go deep will make him a threat to go deep (pun intended) in this derby.

Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Matt Kemp makes the team and has the ability to do well in the derby. If not for the black cloud looming over the organization, Kemp would get some serious consideration as a potential candidate for MVP.

    He has 22 dingers on the season, proving that he deserved a spot in the derby. Kemp is not favored to win this tournament, but don’t be surprised if he walks away with the hardware.

Selection

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    Jose Bautista is the obvious favorite to win the derby, but that selection is just too easy.

    While everyone likes to root for an underdog, Rickie Weeks and Robinson Cano are not going to win. Adrian Gonzalez will not win it either, further narrowing down the field.

    The odds on Kemp (7 to 1) and Holliday (3 to 1) are quite tempting, but I'm taking David Ortiz. He is experienced in the event and his left handed swing will be perfect for this park.  

    When the Derby is over, it will be Ortiz who will be smiling once again.

    James Brown is a B/R Featured Columnist. Feel free to contact James at jtsneaks@gmail.com.

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