Potential 2012 Home Run Derby Participants
With the all star break only a few weeks away, one of the topics that will be up for debate is who should participate in the home run derby. For me, the debate is an important one as I have been a huge fan of the event since I went to the 2005 derby in Detroit. In that derby, Bobby Abreu broke the record for home runs in a round, and a record that still stands of total home runs in a single derby. Abreu hasn’t been the same since, and I happen to find any event where someone sacrifices their career for your pure entertainment fantastic. This year the format is the same as last, where the American and National league each have captains who pick three remaining members for their teams. While not the “usual suspects”, here’s a list of players who would well represent their respective leagues in the derby:
Mark Trumbo, Angels: Trumbo has been off to a fantastic start this season batting over .320 with 48 rbi’s and most importantly for the derby, 17 homers. The other thing to note about Trumbo: when he gets a hold of one, it goes very, very far. According to the fantastic website Hittrackeronline, Trumbo’s homers this season have an average distance of 415.6 feet with his longest being a 459 foot shot. Trumbo doesn’t have the star appeal that you may see in the derby, but American league captain Robinson Cano should seriously consider him.
Yoenis Cespedes, Atheltics: Cespedes has spent a lot of time on the disabled list of late but if he can participate, he is a player Cano should seriously put into consideration. In the limited time he has played, the Cuban rookie has shown significant power hitting seven home runs that on average travel 409.5 feet. His longest home run of his very short career was a 462 foot bomb in the Oakland Coliseum which isn’t exactly a hitter’s park.
Eric Hosmer, Royals: Almost every derby has a player from the host city and Hosmer fits the bill. At the time of this writing, he is hitting only .217 with eight homers but if Cano wanted to have a Royals player out there, he’s the guy. Hosmer is the face of the Royals, does have power and it would be an excellent way to bring national attention to a player the casual fan may not know.
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins: How can this list be compiled without the man who owns scoreboard breaking power? Stanton has been in a slump throughout June, but he has already recorded 16 homers and many of them have taken place in the Marlins new ballpark, which is very pitcher friendly. Stanton was passed over last year by Prince Fielder, and if he’s passed over by this year’s captain Matt Kemp, fans should be very upset. Coming into the majors, many scouts gave Stanton the highest possible score of 80. If you exclude a guy who could hit 30 homers a year if he played half his games in Yellowstone Park, what’s the point of the derby in the first place?
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: Gonzalez has simply been tearing the cover off the ball this year and he has the makings of a player who could perform very well in the derby. While his power numbers are inflated due to playing half his games at Coors Field, Gonzalez showed he can take his act to the road as evident by his towering home run the other night against the Tigers.
Bryce Harper, Nationals: Yeah, I’m going there. Remember a few months ago when “Linsanity” was taking over the NBA and the league had to get him involved in All Star Weekend somehow? This is what the MLB should do with Harper who came in as their most hyped hitting prospect of all time. Harper should be included in this not only because of his hype, but because he has been hitting very well at the Major League level despite being just a teenager. Harper’s most talked about tool coming out was his power and could you imagine the attention the MLB would get if a teenager (no matter how good he is) won the home run derby? This might not even end up being Kemp’s call, the league might just do it themselves.