Over the last few years, MLB has relied on a format in which team
captains have been responsible for picking their roster. This year
players, like Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista, David Ortiz, Giancarlo
Stanton, etc, will be among the favorites to be asked. Let’s keep it
real, though; as each year passes, more and more players say no. These
captains need back-up plans; they need guys that aren’t the first
choice but could still put on a show.
National League Sluggers
This seems like an obvious choice, but somehow I feel he will be
overlooked because he is a rookie. A rookie that some are bothered by
(ask Cole Hamels). Let’s not forget that at the tender age of 16,
Harper hit a 502-foot home run at Tropicana Field. Outside his bat
speed, his power was a key component in what made him a highly touted
prospect. Harper has charisma too. Power and charisma equals the type
of a performer this competition needs.
Last month, Bruce hit 12 home runs that totaled the most distance
(4,776) in Major League Baseball. He bested last month’s winner, Ryan
Braun, by 700 feet. When he hits his home runs, they go a long way.
Surprise, Surprise! Let’s have a pitcher in this competition! Zambrano
could be a DH if he weren’t a pitcher. Big Z is one of the best
hitting pitchers ever. He has hit 24 home runs in his career with more
to come. And you know what, who’s to say he couldn’t win this thing.
Surprisingly, he hasn’t participated in this contest. He wouldn’t win
simply because this is not his style of play. But he reminds me of
Pujols. He just hits and home runs come with it. So since Pujols has
performed solidly in the derby, may be Votto could as well.
American League Boppers
Trumbo, ironically, hit one of the longest home runs of the season -
472 feet – at Kauffman Stadium. I’d bet Trumbo wants to be a part of
this. Besides, fans come to the derby see mammoth home runs hit.
When he doesn’t walk or strikeout, Dunn hits the long ball easier than
anyone. It’s like he doesn’t break a sweat. But here is a
mind-boggling fact: Dunnhas never participated in the Home Run Derby.
Seems to be the appropriate time to break that trend.
Reynolds has quietly begun to make himself known as a slugger. He has
hit 35+ home runs in two of the last three years. He might not be the
sexiest pick because he plays for Baltimore. Not to mention, he’s just
Mark Reynolds. He doesn’t hit for average and strikeouts a ton. That
tells me he’s swinging for the fences often. If he was chosen, he’d
now have a reason to take that approach.
No, Ichiro has not hit more than 15 home runs in a season, but the
word is out that he puts on a hell of batting practice display.
Technically, that is what the competition is.
It has already been said by Kemp that he has asked Andre Either to
partake, and knowing they are teammates, he will say yes. Same goes
for Cano as it pertains to Curtis Granderson. I’ve already made one
guarantee: Stanton will be in the derby.
Regardless of the competitors chosen, here’s to hoping for a derby to remember.
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