Brewers' Christian Yelich 'Not Worried' About MLB HR Derby Ruining His Swing

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2019

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 01: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a two-run home run to extend his team's lead in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 1, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Brewers won 8-6. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

While some players refrain from participating in the Home Run Derby out of fear the contest will affect their swing, Milwaukee Brewers star Christian Yelich has no such concerns.

"Basically, Home Run Derby is batting practice," Yelich told reporters Thursday. "It's just trying to hit home runs with every swing. I'm not worried in the slightest about a swing change or it ruining my swing. Anybody that is like educated in the matter, knows about baseball or has played the game, would really understand it's going to be just fine."

"How much damage can you do to your swing in four minutes of batting practice?" Yelich added, noting each round is four minutes long.

Milwaukee is hoping the answer is "none," given how vital the 2018 National League MVP is to his team's success.

Yelich is having another superb season, hitting .328/.425/.712 with a 1.138 OPS. His 31 home runs lead the majors.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Yelich's 31 homers are the most hit prior to the All-Star break in franchise history, and he is the eighth reigning MVP to reach the 30-mark prior to the Midsummer Classic.

His historic start has helped the Brewers (46-42) keep pace in the ultra-competitive NL Central, as they are tied for first with the Chicago Cubs. All five teams in the division are within 3.5 games of each other.

Those who believe the Derby ruins swings need only look back to last year to find evidence to the contrary. Bryce Harper entered the 2018 All-Star break hitting just .214 for the season. After winning the slugfest in front of the hometown crowd, the then-Washington Nationals star went on to hit .300 following the break.

"Whether the second half goes good or bad for me, [participating in the Home Run Derby] will have no bearing on it," Yelich said. "If this was such a dangerous thing to do for your performance, guys wouldn't do it."

Yelich enters the 2019 Home Run Derby as the top seed, setting up a showdown with Toronto Blue Jays phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

If Yelich can come out victorious at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Monday, he would join Prince Fielder (2009) as the only players in Brewers history to win the derby. 

The winner of the Home Run Derby will receive a $1 million prize, with the runner-up receiving $500,000. The other participants will take home $150,000 apiece.   

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