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2019 Home Run Derby Preview and Participants

Home Run Derby

Major League Baseball’s annual T-Mobile Home Run Derby is happening on Monday night. Eight of the leagues’ sluggers will go head-to-head for a $1 million dollar prize. This year can be very exciting, as each of the participants have the ability to put on a show.

Preview

This year’s derby will take place at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio home of the Indians. The event can be watched live on Monday night at 8 PM EST on ESPN. Stay tuned afterward for the 2019 Celebrity Softball game.

Participants

No. 1: Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers (31 Home Runs)
Christian Yelich
Image Courtesy of chron.com

Last year’s NL MVP has the first seed in the Home Run Derby. He currently leads the league in long balls with 31. Not surprisingly, Yelich has one of the highest exit velocities in baseball, hitting the ball 95.1 mph on average. The Brewers’ outfielder even had the cops called to PNC field a few days ago when he hit a ball through a boat’s window in the Allegheny River. He has a tough first-round match-up in Vlad Guerrero Jr.

No. 2: Pete Alonso, New York Mets (28 Home Runs)
Pete Alonso
Image Courtesy of thetelegraph.com

Pete Alonso can flat out rake. Alonso currently has 28 long balls, and he’s broken multiple Mets records already. This guy has the strength to miss hit a fly ball and still put it out of the yard. 20 of his home runs have gone for over 400 feet per ESPN’s David Schoenfield. His high fly ball rate gives him a great opportunity to perform well in the Derby. “Polar bear Pete” is one of two rookies in this years’ bracket, and is a clear frontrunner for 2019 NL Rookie of the Year.

No. 3: Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates (26 Home Runs)
Josh Bell
Image Courtesy of dkpittsburghsports.com

After just missing the starting first basemen spot for the National League, Josh Bell will have a chance in the spotlight on Monday night. Josh Bell has an advantage in that he is a switch hitter, so he can choose which side of the plate he wants to hit from. Bell is capable of hitting the furthest homer of the night with his raw power and size.

No. 4: Alex Bregman, Houston Astros (23 Home Runs)
Alex Bregman
Image Courtesy of upi.com

Alex Bregman is known for his determination to win, and that stays true in the Home Run Derby. The 25-year-old would also like to make it further than he did in last year’s Derby. He lost in the first round in a thrilling performance to Kyle Schwarber, who won 16-15. A line-drive approach is likely what Bregman will take being that he doesn’t have the size of some of the other contestants. Bregman is going to try and represent the Astros well with a memorable outing in this years’ event. Bregman has 23 home runs as of July 6.

No. 5: Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers (20 Home Runs)
Home Run Derby
Image Courtesy of dodgerblue.com

Joc Pederson is another contestant that has been in the Derby before. He participated in his rookie year in 2015 and put on a great performance. He made the finals before he came up one dinger short as Todd Frazier out-hit the rookie 15-14. The experience and natural talent set up Pederson for a great run. He’s also on the Dodgers, and they don’t seem to lose too often, so maybe that can carry over for Pederson on Monday night.

No. 6: Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves (20 Home Runs)
Ronald Acuna Jr.
Image Courtesy of Flipboard

Ronald Acuna Jr. is one of baseball’s most exciting players, and he’s only 21 years old. The Braves’ outfielder is facing off with Josh Bell in the first round, so he has a tough task ahead of him. However, he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to let the pressure get to him, which can be a huge help in an event where basically all eyes are on you. With a teammate like Freddie Freeman who performed last year, we can see Acuna take a batting practice approach into the Derby.

No. 7: Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians (19 Home Runs)
Carlos Santana
Image Courtesy of Flipboard

Carlos Santana is going to have a chip on his shoulder Monday night, as he’ll be performing at his home park. This has seemed to help in recent years, as Todd Frazier won in Cincinnati in 2015 while Bryce Harper took home the hardware last year in Washington. The switch-hitter will also be fun to watch just because of his smooth swing. Santana is facing rookie Pete Alonso in the first round.

No. 8: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays (Eight Home Runs)
Vlad Guerrero Jr.
Image Courtesy of azdailysun.com

Vladimir Guerreo Jr. will likely hit more homers on Monday night than he has in his big league career. This guy has so much power, there’s even a video of him hitting a home run to the opposite field…off of a tee. He has the advantage of learning from his father Vladimir Guerrero, who is being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame very soon. Guerrero is taking on the reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich in his first Home Run Derby.

 

Feature Image Courtesy of scoopnest.com

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