Next Monday evening, Major League Baseball will crown its 2012 Home Run Derby Champion. In addition to last night, American League captain Robinson Cano announced the three other participants that will join him in Kansas City as they go against National League captain Matt Kemp’s team.
Kemp has invited the Cardinals’ Carlos Beltran, Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez and Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton. Prince Fielder of the Tigers, the Angels’ Mark Trumbo and Toronto’s Jose Bautista will join Cano for the slugfest.
Based on names alone and home run totals through the first half of the season, Kemp’s lineup is put together very well in comparison to Cano’s.
Kemp has the top four NL home run leaders and he himself would be near the top had he not suffered two hamstring injuries, the latter keeping him out for most the first half.
Beltran is a great pick not only because of the season he is having this year, which is a career year, but he is second in the NL with 20 home runs, just two behind Ryan Braun. Also, it will be a nice homecoming for Beltran, who made his major league debut with the Kansas City Royals.
Stanton is exactly who the fans – and other All-Stars on hand – want to see after the bomb he had earlier in the season that broke a section of the jumbotron in left-field at Marlins Park. He is only 22 and is one of the rising stars in the game and deserves the attention he’ll get Monday as it’s difficult to get any home runs playing in the NL East.
Gonzalez is having a career season of his own too with 17 home runs, a batting average just under .340 and has finally been rewarded with his first trip the All-Star Game.
Cano’s lineup is not nearly as impressive as Kemp’s with only one deserving participant—Jose Bautista.
Bautista is the lone MLB-leader in home runs with 27 and, like Stanton, is someone the players and fans want to see participate and hit a lot out of the park for souvenirs.
Another batter the fans wanted was Josh Hamilton, who hasn’t participated since his unforgettable performance at the old Yankee Stadium where he hit 28 home runs in the first round. However, he will not participate for personal reasons and is a disappointment for the fans wanting to see the lefty leave the park numerous times. His participation alone would drive up the TV ratings for the Derby.
Fielder is a household name after his previous success with the Milwaukee Brewers, but has struggled since joining the Detroit Tigers this past offseason. He only has 12 home runs through the first half and is a surprise considering the other guys at the top of the leader board that deserved consideration.
Adam Dunn of the White Sox, Curtis Granderson of the Yankees and the Blue Jays’ Edwin Encarnacion all have 22 or more home runs and would have been a much better selection than Fielder.
The surprise choice of the Derby was the Angels’ Mark Trumbo, who very few have heard of. Playing on the west coast has done him a disservice as most of the world goes to sleep when he and the Angels start their games. So very few have had a chance to see him, but everyone well get a look at the slugger Monday night.
So, with the lineups all set in stone, let’s pick the championship round and eventual champion.
I believe the AL will dominate this one again with Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo going up against one another in the final round and Trumbo taking home the hardware when all is said and done.
What do you think? Who do you think will win the 2012 Home Run Derby?
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