Every fan in baseball loves the long ball and the Home Run Derby is a perfect place to see mammoth home runs hit by the best power hitters in baseball. Eight players from both the American and National League will compete against each other to bring home the Home Run Derby trophy. Last year they put a new bracket system into play to make the Derby more intense. Players have 4 minutes to hit as many home runs as they can and if they hit at least two home runs over 440 feet, they get an extra 30 seconds added to their time.
Last season, Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton took home the trophy after dominating his competition. He was the 5th seed in the tournament and faced Seattle Mariners Robinson Cano in the first round. Cano had the disadvantage because of how long and sweet his swing is. Stanton beat Cano by a score of 24-7.
He just flew by the second round, beating Baltimore Orioles Mark Trumbo 17-14. In the final round, Stanton faced off against defending champ Chicago White Sox Todd Fraizer and beat him 20-13 to be crowned the Home Run Derby Champion.
This year, Stanton will be defending his title at his home turf in Miami. He has his hands full with young sluggers like New York Yankees Aaron Judge and Los Angeles Dodgers Cody Bellinger.
The contestants are some of the most proven power hitters this year and are seeded base on the number of home runs that they have hit this season besides the defending champ, Giancarlo Stanton, who will have the first seed.
First Seed: Giancarlo Stanton
First Round Opponent: Gary Sanchez
Giancarlo Stanton is arguably the best power hitter in the game. Already having 24 home runs this season, three less than he had all of the previous season, his power has shown in a way that we haven’t seen since he hit 37 home runs in 2014. His home runs aren’t mammoth homers like many power hitters, his home runs go out in a hurry, averaging an exit velocity of 91.8 MPH on all balls in play via Statcast. Stanton is the favorite this season because of how many home runs he can hit and how fast they get out of the ballpark.
Second Seed: Aaron Judge
First Round Opponent: Justin Bour
Aaron Judge has surpassed all expectations in his rookie year. The 6’7 beast as already broken the New York Yankee rookie home run record of 29, held by the great Joe Dimaggio and it only half way through the season. He has already hit 30 home runs before the All-Star break, which leads the MLB. Aaron Judge is a big force that could take down the defending champ.
Third Seed: Cody Bellinger
First Round Opponent: Charlie Blackmon
Another young stud from the west coast will be in the Home Run Derby but Cody Bellinger has made a name for himself around the MLB. He already has 25 home runs in 69 games thus far this season and has already been thought of as one of the most feared hitters in the MLB. He has launched home runs farther than anyone in the MLB and he will for sure do that in Miami.
Fourth Seed: Mike Moustakas
First Round Opponent: Miguel Sano
Mike “Moose” Moustakas has been on fire this season, after missing all of last season due to a torn ACL and hasn’t missed a beat this season. Moose has already hit a career-high 25 home runs and has been the leading force in the Kanas City Royals lineup. When he hits them, he hits them just as hard as Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, so look out for a “Moose Crossing” in Miami!
Fifth Seed: Miguel Sano
First Round Opponent: Mike Moustakas
After a year down in Triple-A, Minnesota Twins 3B Miguel Sano has come back with vengeance and has absolutely destroyed pitching so far this season. He has hit some of the hardest and longest home runs at a pitching friendly park in Minnesota. Already having 20 home runs this season, no one swings harder than Miguel so Miami better be ready for this Dominican slugger!
Sixth Seed: Charlie Blackmon
First Round Opponent: Cody Bellinger
Charlie Blackmon has had a monster season for the Colorado Rockies this year. Hitting in the leadoff spot and playing center field, he has hit 18 home runs which is unusual for most leadoff hitters. The Georgia native is coming back down to the south looking to upset the young rookie sensation.
Seventh Seed: Justin Bour
First Round Opponent: Aaron Judge
Justin Bour is another slugger from South Beach and has mastered the long ball. When he hits a home run, they aren’t small. His home runs are the definition of a mammoth home run, leading the league in home run height. Bour already has 18 home runs this season and wants to take down the Baby Bomber in the first round.
Eight Seed: Gary Sanchez
First Round Opponent: Giancarlo Stanton
Nobody thought that the New York Yankees would have two contestants in the Home Run Derby, but Aaron Judge will be joined by catcher Gary Sanchez. Last season, Gary proved that he can hit them out of any ballpark with 20 home runs in 53 games. This season he has not done as well as last, only hitting 13 home runs this season, the lowest amount in the derby. His first round opponent won’t be easy to beat especially in his home ballpark.
This derby should be full of excitement with the young power hitters in Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger as they try and take down the defending champ, Giancarlo Stanton. Make sure to tune in on Monday, July 10th, 2017 at 8 PM eastern time on ESPN. After the Home Run Derby, enjoy the celebrity softball game, which will be airing right after the home run derby.