The MLB All-Star break is right around the corner, and that also means the Home Run Derby is close as well. While the contestants have yet to be announced, here are some names worthy of that designation.
There is no specific criteria for who competes in the Home Run Derby, but home runs being hit is a good place to start from. Based off of this simple formula, who deserves to represent the American and National League?
Aaron Judge – New York Yankees
Judge is tearing the cover off the ball at this point, and leads the MLB in home runs with 23. His bat is a main reason the Yankees are in first place in the AL East. The youth movement in baseball is strong, and Judge is another name that will be spoken in households around the world, sooner than later.
Albert Pujols – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Angels’ name is long and so is Pujols major league career, so his invite is based on a milestone made this season. Baseball tends to honor players that have had an impact on the game late in their careers as well. Pujols only has 10 home runs in 2017, but he hit No. 600 recently, so give him a pass and make him a contestant–for history’s sake.
Logan Morrison – Tampa Bay Rays
Another AL East stud, Morrison has tallied 19 home runs and is in second place in baseball . He is four home runs shy of his career high 23 (2011), and is a bat that would offer plenty of pop in the Home Run Derby. Miami is hosting the All-Star game, so there will be plenty of flair in South Beach. Give the fellow Floridian a shot!
Justin Smoak – Toronto Blue Jays
The AL East is attempting to turn this into an East versus the National League event, but who can blame them? The power is cracking off the bats of hitters in the division, and Smoak is no different. He has shown power in the past, but was consistently unreliable. In 2017, he is likely destined for an All-Star start at first base.
Eric Thames – Milwaukee Brewers
Thames blasted his way to double-digit home runs in April, but has cooled off the past two months. His bat leads the NL in home runs, and he hit his 19th on Saturday against the San Diego Padres. He should easily eclipse 30 home runs in 2017, but needs to pick up the pace to help the Brewers out.
Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
Votto has been a consistent home run hitter throughout his career, and is on pace to break his career high of 37 (2010). He has 240 career home runs and would be an ideal candidate to represent the NL in this season’s Home Run Derby. Another big bat that could light up Marlins Park in July.
Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals have a three-headed monster in Zimmerman, Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy. And Zimmerman deserves the nod out of the three of them. The amount of offense that the Nats have displayed is a product of three talented players, and Zimmerman is also hitting .361 AVG. While average does not matter in the contest, he puts balls in play and hits for power.
Cody Bellinger – Los Angeles Dodgers
Another young player that can rake with the best of them, Bellinger is another guy that leads in talks of who will compete in the Home Run Derby. His 18 home runs put him in the top-tier of power hitters in the NL, and his youthful stamina could lead him to a title.
Joey Gallo (AL) – Texas Rangers
He has 18 home runs in 2017, but doesn’t do much else. He is the new Adam Dunn–power or nothing.
Scooter Gennett (NL) – Cincinnati Reds
Gennett only has seven home runs, but he hit four of them in one game. Give the guy a chance, maybe?
Giancarlo Stanton (NL) – Miami Marlins
Double-digit home runs…check. Perennial power hitter…check. Plays for the host team, Miami Marlins…check.
There is no guarantee these players will make the 2017 Home Run Derby, but it would be a great list in the name of competition.