Home Run Derby 2011: Who Makes the Anti-Home Run Derby Team?
First off, let me state that I am not trying to poke fun at the players mentioned in the following slides.
These guys have a career in Major League Baseball, and I don't. Each is making more money than I could ever imagine. And the majority have hit far more home runs in their lifetime than I ever will.
But would you not love to see some of baseball's pure average/speed guys compete in a test of power? Would it not be entertaining to watch a Derby between guys who are more likely to hit an inside-the-park home run than in conventional fashion?
It would give the little guy a chance to shine, and some players may even hold some surprise power.
Without further ado, here is the 2011 Anti-Home Run Derby Team.
Jamey Carroll, 2B/SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Carroll is the first of several middle infielders to grace this prestigious team. He's having a solid year average-wise, batting an impressive .297 through the All-Star Break.
However, in 276 at-bats, Carroll has zero big flies. Plus, the 37-year-old veteran has just 12 career home runs in nine MLB seasons. He is the definition of a contact hitter.
But the Anti-Derby may just give him a chance to feel the power.
Brendan Ryan, SS, Seattle Mariners
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The first American League representative is also a middle infielder with zero home runs in 2011.
Unfortunately for Ryan, he plays 81 games in the pitcher-friendly confines of Safeco Field, which is likely not going to help is home run totals.
Ryan Theriot, 2B/SS, St. Louis Cardinals
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
The second National League representative may have the best overall shot to pull out a victory in the Anti-Derby. Although Theriot has just one home run this season in 323 at-bats, he has 17 career bombs over a span of six seasons. He also is batting a solid .285 with 32 RBI on the year.
In fact the Cardinal middle infielder had a career high of seven in a single season in 2009. At the age of 31, Theriot may have a few more years of solid service left in him.
Alcides Escobar, SS, Kansas City Royals
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Escobar may have the most potential among the Anti-Derby participants. However, this bright future is mainly in the contact, speed and fielding areas.
Just like the other participants to this point, the second AL representative is also a middle infielder.
In 2011, the 24-year-old Royal has just one home run in 326 at-bats, but also accumulated four in his first full MLB season in 2010. His youth and potential may be just what is needed to win this Derby.
Darwin Barney, 2B/SS, Chicago Cubs
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Another middle infielder. Shocker.
Barney has the least MLB experience among the Anti-Derby participants, with just 108 career games played. In those games, the Cubs infielder has a single career home run. However, Barney also holds a .300 average on the season, along with 32 runs batted in.
Despite having potential and youth, Barney doesn't appear to be an ideal choice to win the Anti-Derby. But he does have a very catchy name.
Chris Getz, 2B, Kansas City Royals
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Chris Getz becomes the second Royal and sixth middle infielder to grace the Anti-Derby lineup. I'm not sure what exactly this says about baseball in Kansas City.
However, Getz is actually a member of my fantasy baseball team and has been quite productive. Although he has no home runs in 287 at-bats in 2011, Getz is batting a respectable .258 and has stolen 17 bases, which can sometimes be a rare commodity.
Despite his speed, Getz appears to have the least power in the Anti-Derby. He has just two career big flies in nearly 900 Major League at-bats. Unfortunately, his 58 career stolen bases cannot count toward his total.
Emilio Bonifacio, OF/3B/SS, Florida Marlins
J. Meric/Getty Images
Finally, we have our first outfielder in the Anti-Derby. Yes, I know that he is also listed as a shortstop, but he is grouped on the Marlins' roster as an outfielder.
Bonifacio has actually made a bit of a splash on the MLB stage, starting off 2009 red-hot. He followed that up with a weak 2010 campaign but has bounced back in 2011, putting up excellent numbers.
Just not power numbers.
Bonifacio has just two career home runs, with one being inside the park. Although he is currently batting .288 with 16 stolen bases, Emilio has little chance of leaving the yard anytime soon.
Juan Pierre, OF, Chicago White Sox
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Rounding out the Anti-Derby field is Juan Pierre, a prototypical average/speed combination. In 358 at-bats in 2011, the White Sox speedster has just one home run. Plus, he only has 15 career home runs in 11 MLB seasons.
However, Pierre's 540 career steals certainly make up for his lack of power. His career high was set last season, as Pierre swiped 68 bases for the Sox, proving that he was not quite over the hill.
The speedy Pierre could be a threat to win the Anti-Derby, based on his .296 career average and veteran instincts.
2011 Anti-Home Run Derby: First Round
Harry How/Getty Images
Jamey Carroll gets the competition started from Coors Field in Denver but is only able to muster one home run. Seattle's Brendan Ryan follows but can only put up two dingers.
After the first two hitters go down quickly, Ryan Theriot puts up a total of six, giving him a commanding lead early. Alcides Escobar proceeds to hit five out of the yard, tying his career home run total.
After those two solid performances, young Darwin Barney is unable to find a groove, putting up a goose egg in the home run column. Chris Getz then surprises many by finding a few pitches to his liking, getting three balls over the right-field wall. In the process, he surpassed his career home run total of two.
Unfortunately for Getz, hot-hitting Emilio Bonifacio manages to knock four out of the park, putting the Royals second baseman on the bubble with Juan Pierre on deck.
Pierre finds a groove early and strokes five line drives that find the seats, giving him a spot in the second round along with Theriot, Escobar and Bonifacio.
2011 Anti-Home Run Derby: Second Round
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Emilio Bonifacio leads off the second round with a fairly weak total of two, exactly half his first-round number. Alcides Escobar then follows with an exact match of his first-round total (five).
Juan Pierre then steps in and starts stroking the ball to all fields, picking up a Derby-leading seven home runs. First-round leader Ryan Theriot heads to the box, needing four to tie Escobar and five to advance to the final round.
After recording six straight outs, the Cardinal middle infielder finds his rhythm, hitting three in his next four swings over the fence. Theriot only needs one home run to tie, and he has three outs to do it. However, he falls short, unable to muster another homer and leaving his total at nine.
Juan Pierre leads the way into the final round with 12. Accompanying him is Alcides Escobar, who knocked 10 out in rounds one and two.
And the Winner Is...
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Esobar leads off the final round and quickly puts pressure on Pierre, knocking out five balls, just as in the previous two rounds. Pierre hits two home runs right off the bat (pardon the pun). However, fatigue begins to play a factor.
The 33-year-old begins to force his swing, ultimately yielding no more big flies, making Alcides Escobar the 2011 Anti-Home Run Derby champion.
As the ESPN3 webcast of the Anti-Derby ends, viewers are reminded to check the exciting sport of drag racing, currently airing on the real ESPN. The kind that is actually on television.