Our ultimate $1 million Home Run Derby field

In case you haven’t heard: The stakes of MLB’s annual Home Run Derby just got raised with a $1 million bonus going to the champion, starting this year. With big bucks now on the line, you can expect some big names to come out to compete on July 8 in Cleveland, so we asked our writers to draft one player they would want with all the marbles at stake, make the case for their guy and let everyone know why their pick was better than the one directly before them.

Click here to vote for your favorite from our ultimate $1 million HR Derby field.

1. Mike Trout (Bradford Doolittle)

Why he’s my pick: Trout is the best at just about everything, so if he decided he wanted to win the Home Run Derby, he would win it. Might not hit the longest homers, but he’d just keep putting the same swing on the ball all through the competition. He would not tire out.

Why he’s my pick: Please, I don’t have to defend Giancarlo Stanton. We’ve all seen him dominate the Home Run Derby in the past and nobody hits more awe-inspiring monster blasts than Stanton.

Why he’s more likely to win than Mike Trout: This isn’t a WAR contest. Trout has never participated in a derby. We don’t actually know if he’d be any good at it

Why he’s my pick: He already won one Home Run Derby, and although he declined to participate last year, you’d have to think a $1 million prize will make him reconsider in 2019. The guy has power to all fields and has been peppering the right-field bleachers all spring. That just means Progressive Field’s mini-monster in left shouldn’t be an obstacle for the righty in this year’s derby.

Why he’s more likely to win than Giancarlo Stanton: OK, if we’re being perfectly frank, the difference between Judge and Stanton in a home run-hitting contest is virtually nil. The two hulking outfielders both hit multiple 440-foot moonshots last season. Still, Judge has this relaxed, fluid, easily repeatable swing that would be the difference-maker over his teammate. Stanton’s shorter, more explosion-based swing can seemingly get out of rhythm easier (the Yankees were quick in 2018 to attribute many of his career-high 211 strikeouts to a matter of timing). And in the derby, good rhythm is just as important as power.

Why he’s my pick: I’ll take the reigning champ, who put on a show in his home turf to win the 2018 derby. Harper has the perfect Home Run Derby swing — loopy, with a high finish and produced by lots of torque. It might lead to highs and lows throughout the regular season, but it is perfect in this setting.

Why he’s more likely to win than Aaron Judge: Judge has about 4 inches and 60 pounds on Harper, but they were basically even in isolated power last season. Judge’s power comes much easier, of course, but Harper thrives in settings like these and might have the edge in endurance during the final round.

Why he’s my pick: Since the start of 2016, nobody in baseball has hit more bombs than Davis, whose 133 homers over the last three years are nine more than the closest guy (Stanton). Even more impressive, the A’s slugger has done it while playing half his games in a cavernous park that’s one of the least homer-friendly stadiums around. At a perfectly ripe 31 years old, Davis has an edge on other contenders because he’s neither past his prime (see: Cruz, Nelson) nor still growing into his power (see: Acuna, Ronald). Most importantly, the Oakland DH fits the prototype: He’s not one of those well-rounded hitters who tend to flame out in derby competition. He’s a masher and he knows it.

Source link