The 2018 All-Star Game is less than a month away. Arguably the most popular spectacle in the festivities is the Home Run Derby. The derby showcases the most dominant batters in all of baseball. It may seem to be every batter’s dream to partake in the contest. But among other things, the effects the derby has on their swings have several big names becoming hesitant to accept the invitation.
Defending champion Aaron Judge proclaimed that he may not defend his title in Washington D.C. There are also chances that players like Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez of the Boston Red Sox may not participate either. But there is still a significant amount of time between now and the derby on July 16. Plus, players can still change their minds at any time.
Regardless, here are just some players showing why they are good candidates to be one of the eight competitors at this year’s Home Run Derby.
Home Run Derby contenders: American League
1. Manny Machado, Shortstop, Baltimore Orioles
Manny Machado has no doubt returned to his All-Star strides and then some in 2018. So far, Machado has belted 18 home runs and 53 RBIs this season. His .310 batting average is nothing to sneeze at either, and could potentially end up being a career high.
Besides being the only bright spot in Baltimore’s otherwise dreary season, the 25-year-old can further add to his batting prowess with a Home Run Derby title to his name.
2. Jose Ramirez, Third baseman, Cleveland Indians
Jose Ramirez has taken no prisoners from the batter’s box this season. Ramirez has tallied 21 home runs and 47 RBIs in his sixth season in the big leagues. By the end of the season, Ramirez will easily record career bests in both categories.
But for the All-Star festivities in Washington D.C., Ramirez is not a name to be taken lightly. Fans and experts should also watch out for him as the derby draws closer.
3. Eddie Rosario, Left fielder, Minnesota Twins
Eddie Rosario has not garnered as much attention as other sluggers have this season despite his great numbers. Rosario has gone yard 16 times and driven in 46 so far in 2018. Not to mention he has a .321 batting average, plus a .345 average in his last seven games.
The 26-year-old is eyeing his first career All-Star selection, and should also appear in the conversation of the upcoming Home Run Derby participants.
Home Run Derby contenders: National League
1. Freddie Freeman, First baseman, Atlanta Braves
Freddie Freeman has been a huge part of Atlanta’s success this season. His batting has made him a Silver-Slugger favorite and a name to watch out for come July 16.
Freeman currently boasts a .337 batting average, along 15 home runs and 49 RBIs. Not to mention he has hit four homers in his last seven games. Hopefully he can remain this hot for Atlanta as they look to take the National League East for themselves.
2. Trevor Story: Shortstop, Colorado Rockies
Elsewhere, Trevor Story is presenting his case to make the All-Star roster. This season, Story has tallied 15 home run and 54 RBIs.
Though his .270 batting average may not sit well with the hardcore stats enthusiasts, he has been improving in recent outings. In his last 15 games, Story has hit .390. Don’t be surprised if you see Story out on the field in Washington D.C.
3. Eugenio Suarez: Third baseman, Cincinnati Reds
When you think of the Reds, the first thing that comes to mind is their miserable 2018 season. Not everyone recognizes the season Eugenio Suarez is having from the batter’s box.
Suarez stands has a .297 batting average with 14 home runs and 52 RBIs. He has belted three of those home runs in his last seven games. Suarez will need to keep cooking if he wants to be one of the eight contenders in the derby.
Hitting a hot streak is one thing. Staying on that streak is another. Of course, there are more players deserving to be mentioned in this conversation. Plus, as the case of the Home Run Derby, many players who partake in it do not replicate the same numbers as they did before the All-Star Break.
But this does not take away from the fun of it. Bragging rights and a chance to catch one the many balls belted into the stands just adds to what makes the Home Run Derby so enjoyable to both players and fans.
Featured image from Getty Images
“From Our Haus to Yours”