Next Monday, July 11, some of Major League Baseball’s finest hitters will take center stage in Petco Park. The San Diego Padres’ home field will play host to this year’s summer baseball fun, hosting the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game.
Petco Park is known to be an extreme pitchers’ park, so hitting home runs will not be an easy task. Therefore, baseball better have some real thumpers on hand to participate in this year’s event. The participants should be announced any day now.
So who will those participants be? Well, there will be eight players chosen from the 30 clubs that make up the MLB. So with out further ado, here are my predictions for this year’s Home Run Derby contestants.
Todd Frazier – 3B Chicago White Sox (21 home runs)
The Todd Father is the defending champ of the event. It would be a real shame if he did not get to defend his title. The White Sox’s third baseman has been slugging the home runs again this year, tied for third in the Majors at the end of June. A ballpark like Petco is going to require some real power, and that is what this Jersey native will provide.
Mark Trumbo – 1B/OF Baltimore Orioles (23 home runs)
Trumbo is the leader among all Major League players when it comes to home runs. He has been putting on an absolute show in his first season in Baltimore. So why not give him a crack at the Derby? We have always known his power to be extraordinary. He does have some experience in the event, but he disappointed a few years back. This year he is riding a home run wave of momentum and should be given the chance to redeem himself.
Kris Bryant – 3B Chicago Cubs (21 home runs)
Bryant, like Frazier, is tied for third in home runs this year. He also is a slugging third baseman who participated in last year’s event. So he has the experience, he has the talent and he definitely has the power. So why not give the up and coming star another go at it? After getting a taste last year and failing to beat Frazier, he surely has to want another shot against his former division rival, now cross-town counterpart.
Trevor Story – SS Colorado Rockies (19 home runs)
Story got off to an absolute torrid start to the year, slugging home run after home run to start the season and his career. The rookie shortstop has not been able to keep that pace up, but he still sits tied for eighth in homers this season. He showed us he can hit them in bunches, and there is no better place to do just that than in the Derby. Every year the field features a few young guys who the crowd will absolutely love to see, and this year Story is the perfect option to fill that role.
Nelson Cruz – OF Seattle Mariners (20 home runs)
The field needs a savvy veteran presence, and Cruz would provide just that. He would also provide moonshot power, as he is known as one of the best power hitters in baseball. You do not earn the nickname “Boomstick” without being able to hit the ball a long way. So let him break out the lumber and provide some thunder with that Boomstick of his. Cruz is one of the few guys who could make Petco Park look like Coors Field.
Nolan Arenado – 3B Colorado Rockies (21 home runs)
Speaking of Coors Field, why not get a second Rockie in the mix? Colorado’s star third baseman is a pleasure to watch and would be a fun addition to the field. While I wanted to give this spot to Madison Bumgarner, I just do not see the Giants letting that happen. Plus, having the first round see Rockies teammates square off against each other would certainly be a fun and different approach to the event. Arenado can rake with the best of them, and could certainly win the whole thing if given the chance.
George Springer – OF Houston Astros (17 home runs)
The former top prospect is having his breakout season in regards to power. He has become one of the Astros’ more feared hitters, which says something considering the lineup also features Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve. But make no mistake – Springer can slug just as well as anyone. He may not be your prototypical power slugger, but he still certainly has the power. He would be a dark horse candidate in the Derby, so why not let him show what he can do?
Corey Seager – SS Los Angeles Dodgers (16 home runs)
Similar to what I said with Story, every year needs some young guys the fans will want to get behind, So while Seager and Story are division rivals to the Padres, the fans in San Diego know these two are some of the best young players in the game. Giving Seager a chance in the Derby would be a fun watch for sure. He can hit the long ball, and given he is in the same division as the Padres, maybe he has learned a trick or two about hitting the ball out of Petco.
And my predicted champ of this field is… Kris Bryant. He has done this before, and will have learned from last year’s experience. His power potential is unlimited, and he will put on a show at Petco. It will not be easy, as this field is loaded with sluggers, but Bryant will come out victorious.
So there you have it, a predicted look at this year’s Home Run Derby field. Who do you want to see participate? Tell us in the comments!
Article originally published on The Odyssey Online.