Last night’s Home Run Derby had a lot of people wondering: How is this going to go? There was a new format — timed rounds, not ones based on outs — plus a seeded bracket that pit some of baseball’s heaviest hitters in a March Madness-like elimination contest.
Turned out, it went great. And that was thanks in no small part to the winner, Cincinnati Reds slugger Todd Frazier, who dazzled the hometown crowd.
The Home Run Derby is one of baseball’s most popular events. Showcasing the game’s finest power hitters, the Derby has been held every year except one since 1985, when it showcased Hall of Famers such as Carlton Fisk, Ryne Sandberg, and Cal Ripken Jr. For many years, the format was simple: hit the most home runs before recording 10 outs and you were the winner.
This year, however, the game has changed.
Instead of 10 outs, there’s now a time limit on each hitter. Each player will have five minutes to swat as many big flies as possible. Additionally, the Derby will have a bracket format, as players are seeded and will try to hit more homers than their opponent. (Kid Reporter Max Surprenant has more on the new Home Run Derby format.)
This year’s Derby features its fair share of big names: Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, to be specific. But it also has a slew of young stars, like National League rookies Kris Bryant and Joc Pederson, the first rookies to compete in the Derby since Evan Longoria in 2008.
Here’s a look at the matchups in the Home Run Derby, along with predictions as to how they will play out:
Jose Bautista takes a cut in the 2014 Home Run Derby
Major League Baseball’s best players are in Cincinnati this week for the 2015 All-Star Game. The Midsummer Classic will be held Tuesday at Great American Ballpark, the home of the Reds. But the festivities begin tonight at 8 p.m. with the 30th anniversary of the Home Run Derby. And if you’re planning on tuning in (or maybe even watching it in person), there are some changes to the format you need to know about.
In the past, batters would get 10 outs to hit as many home runs as possible. Anything that was out of the park in fair territory was considered a homer. Anything other than a home run was called an out. This year, that all changes.
Jose Altuve, the Houston Astros’ 25-year-old second baseman, is coming off one of the best seasons in franchise history. He became the first Astros player to win a batting title, with an average of .341. He set a club record with 225 hits, which broke Hall of Famer Craig Biggio’s record of 210. Altuve also led the Majors in multi-hit games, three-hit games, and led the American League with 56 stolen bases.
On and off the field, Altuve has become a role model for young baseball players. Kids are frequently discouraged from playing certain sports because of their size. Despite being 5’6”, Altuve never doubted his talents. It’s his mentality of working hard that has gotten him to where he is today.
The hot corner is arguably the hardest position to play on the baseball diamond. Whether you’re fielding screaming line drives hit down the line, charging soft bunts and throwing on the run, or making the longest throw to first in the infield, a third baseman needs a very unique and complete set of skills. Add in the expectation of being one of the best hitters on the team, and very few can do this job better than Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager.
Despite being selected for his first All-Star Game and winning the American League Gold Glove Award at third last year, Seager is not a household name. He is often overshadowed even on the Mariners by second baseman Robinson Cano, rightfielder and designated hitter Nelson Cruz, and starting pitcher Felix Hernandez.
Baseball’s best players will descend on Cincinnati next week for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game. And last night, the league revealed who will be starting the Midsummer Classic.
Thanks to a record-breaking 620 million fan votes (cast entirely online), these are the players who will first to hit the field on Tuesday, July 14:
Calvin Coolidge was the only American president (so far) born on the Fourth of July. So what better time to bring some attention to Silent Cal?
Earlier this week, the Washington Nationals announced that the nation's 30th president has been added to the lineup as the sixth Racing President. His first race will be Friday night. He joins a roster that already includes George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft, who took the field for the first time in 2013.