The first half of the 2017 MLB season is approaching. All teams have played over 70 games to this point in the year, meaning they have just over 80 games left before we reach the postseason. That also means we are quickly approaching the Mid-Summer Classic, better known as the MLB All-Star Game! And if the All-Star Game is fast approaching, that also means the Home Run Derby is as well!
This season’s Derby will take place on Monday, July 10th at Marlins Park down in Miami. And we now know our first entrant in this year’s slugfest! The first player to toss his name in the ring is none other than last year’s winner and this season’s hometown favorite, Giancarlo Stanton.
Last season, Stanton took on Petco Park to claim his first Derby victory in his second try. He would defeat the 2015 champ, Todd Frazier, in the finals of the event. Some other names Stanton took out during the event include Robinson Cano and Mark Trumbo.
Now with Stanton officially in the mix in 2017, the question becomes, who will be gunning for his title this year? Well, we have a few ideas! Below are five names fans would like to see take a run at the 2017 crown!
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
Ok this is an easy one. To put things simply, Judge has been absolutely raking this season. Not only is he hitting well above .300, but he is also leading the league in home runs, with his 26th coming yesterday. In addition to the fact that he has four homers more than anyone else in the league, he also has the longest homer of the season.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, the shot came back on June 11th and it traveled 496 feet. Please watch that moonshot that came against the Baltimore Orioles below and tell me if you want to see the Judge in this year’s Home Run Derby.
Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
If it weren’t for Judge, Cody Bellinger would be the most talked about rookie this season. While his overall numbers are not at Judge level, his power has been just as impressive. It feels like every day I check the boxscore, Bellinger has another dinger.
He is currently tied for second in the league with Logan Morrison and George Springer with 22 longballs. To date, three of his 22 homers have traveled at least 230 feet. It would not be out of the realm of possibility to see the Dodger rookie partake in this year’s event, as the team had a rookie compete last season in Corey Seager.
Eric Thames, Milwaukee Brewers
It is always nice to have a feel-good story. This season, Eric Thames and the Milwaukee Brewers would fit that bill. After spending the last few seasons in the KBO over in South Korea, Thames made his return to Major League Baseball this Winter when he signed with Milwaukee.
And he has come back showing the power potential in his bat. He currently has 20 homers on the season, one of 10 players to reach that mark so far this year. While he has been in a slump as of late, going the last week with only three hits and no homers, we know what his power potential is. His longest on the season has traveled 436, and he is certainly the type of player that can put on a show down in Miami.
Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins
Sano is the perfect type of player who would fit the “darkhorse” role in the Derby. While the Twins are a team that few people talk about, they are currently holding a half-game lead over the Cleveland Indians to lead the AL Central. And Sano, a former top prospect known for the pop in his bat, certainly is a big reason why.
With his .286 batting average, Sano has also mashed 18 homers. That puts him in a tie for 16th in the league in the metric. His .571 slugging percentage is good for 14th in the Majors as well, showing just how powerful his bat can truly be. In early May he launched one 452 feet, and he is certainly the type of player who can run the table in the Derby.
George Springer, Houston Astros
The Houston Astros are absolutely crushing the ball this season with the bats. They lead the league in homers and slugging as we get close to the All-Star Break. So, there needs to be at least one member of the club to participate in this year’s Derby, right? So who better than the man who leads the team in homers, George Springer?
Springer, as mentioned earlier, is tied for second in the league with 22 homers. The 27-year-old outfielder is a great candidate to put on a show down in Marlins Park, as he swings an electric bat. His longest has traveled 467 this year, but he has had a number of monster shots. In total, he has had three go over 450 and another four go over 425.
So there you have it, five names fans would love to see take a shot at taking down Giancarlo Stanton in the 2017 MLB Home Run Derby! Who would you like to see in this year’s Derby? Tell us in the comments!