Home Run Derby 2021: Participants, Breakdown of New Rules for All-Star ShowcaseJuly 10, 2021
The 2021 MLB Home Run Derby is one of the most anticipated events in the history of the exhibition.
The combination of the altitude at Coors Field in Denver and a handful of the game's best home-run hitters produce the potential for a jaw-dropping display of long balls on Monday.
Shohei Ohtani should be the favorite to win the event since he has hit the largest volume of home runs in the regular season.
The Japanese superstar blasted his 33rd home run on Friday night and could hit a handful of moon shots on Monday that are similar to his 463-blast at T-Mobile Park.
The other seven participants should not be discounted in their respective chases of the Home Run Derby crown, but most of the talk in the buildup to the event will involve Ohtani.
Home Run Derby Bracket
The eight participants were seeded by their regular-season home run totals. That is why Ohtani got stuck in a difficult matchup with Juan Soto in the first round.
In the first two rounds, each hitter will have three minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The timer gets cut to two minutes for the final round.
There will be four first-round matchups in the bracketed format. The winner of the Ohtani-Soto battle will face either Salvador Perez or Pete Alonso. Joey Gallo, Trevor Story, Trey Mancini and Matt Olson are aligned on the other side of the bracket.
Thirty seconds of bonus time will be added on to the end of each round. Batters can earn 30 extra seconds if they hit a home run of 475 feet or longer.
If a tie occurs, the two participants will take part in a swing off that lasts 60 seconds. If they are still tied after that, they will have three swings each to gain an advantage.
Ohtani has to be viewed as the favorite because of the consistent nature of his home-run hitting.
The Los Angeles Angels designated hitter has 33 home runs. He earned the top seed with his league-leading total. The seeds were based off home run total by the end of Wednesday.
However, being the top seed does not guarantee Ohtani a place in the championship round.
Since the Home Run Derby adopted its current format in 2015, no No. 1 seeds have moved on to the final.
Todd Frazier (2015), Aaron Judge (2017), Bryce Harper (2018) and Pete Alonso (2019) all won the exhibition as the No. 2 seed.
Alonso is back to defend his title that he earned two years ago at Progressive Field in Cleveland. He beat Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 23-22 in the final round.
Alonso is vying to become the first back-to-back winner of the Home Run Derby since Yoenis Cespedes in 2013 and 2014.
The New York Mets slugger has a difficult path in front of him on Ohtani's side of the bracket. He faces a potentially tricky first-round showdown with Perez.
The Kansas City Royals catcher has 20 home runs, and he is an underrated pick to capture the title because of who resides on his side of the bracket.
There will be less pressure on the players on the right side of the bracket since the home run leader and the reigning champion are on the left side.
Trevor Story has a slight advantage because he will be hitting inside his home stadium. Three players won the Home Run Derby in their home stadiums. Harper was the last to do so with the Washington Nationals in 2018.
Gallo and Olson could have the edge in their first-round matchups because they are left-handed pull hitters.
The right-center fence in Denver is 15 feet shorter than the one in left-center, so that could lead to a left-handed slugger winning the derby.
No matter who wins, Monday's exhibition is expected to be one of the best spectacles in the history of the event given the participants and the stadium they will be hitting in.