Monday night, the 2019 Home Run Derby will be held at Cleveland's Progressive Field. The Home Run Derby is, basically, a meaningless spectacle, but gosh, it is fun. Especially in person. If you ever get the chance to attend a Home Run Derby, I highly recommend it.
In an effort to lure more big name players to this year's Home Run Derby, MLB has increased the winner's prize to $1 million. The total pool money has been increased to $2.5 million. Last year's winner, Bryce Harper, received a $125,000 prize. Total pool money for the 2018 Home Run Derby was $525,000.
The eight Home Run Derby participants were officially announced on Wednesday. We've updated the field below to reflect the official one.
Despite not being called up until late April, Blue Jays wunderkind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will reportedly take his hacks in the Home Run Derby. Vlad Jr. is one of the game's best young power hitters and is already a household name. The Home Run Derby was made for players like this.
Indians fans will get to root for a hometown player in the Home Run Derby. First baseman Carlos Santana has accepted a Home Run Derby invitation. The switch-hitter will hit left-handed. There has been at least player from the host team in the Home Run Derby each year since 2013. Todd Frazier (2015, Reds) and Bryce Harper (2018, Nationals) both won it in their home parks.
Mets rookie sensation Pete Alonso has been a popular suggestion in the weeks leading up to the event and, sure enough, Alonso told Mike Mazzeo of Yahoo Sports that he's going to be in the event, calling it a "dream come true." No Mets player has won the Derby since Darryl Strawberry did so in 1986. Alonso has already broken Strawberry's Mets rookie home run record, so it would sort of be fitting if he won.
Chapman was a late replacement in the field, taking the spot of Christian Yelich, who pulled out of the event due to back trouble. An All-Star for the first time in 2019, Chapman has built on a breakout 2018 season with a fine first half. He has 21 homers and a 137 OPS+ at the break.
Josh Bell, the breakout power-hitting first baseman, will participate in the Home Run Derby, the Pirates have announced. A few weeks ago Pirates assistant hitting coach Jacob Cruz indicated an unnamed Pirates player -- presumably Bell -- would take part in the Home Run Derby in a since deleted tweet. Bell is the first Pirate in the Home Run Derby since Pedro Alvarez in 2013.
Ronald Acuna, the Braves second-year slugging outfielder, will be part of the 2019 contest. Acuna, 21, had 19 homers through 83 games in 2019 after clubbing 26 during his Rookie of the Year campaign last year.
Pederson and Bregman were officially added to the field on Wednesday. The first-round matchups will go like this:
- Chapman (1) versus Guerrero (8);
- Bregman (4) versus Pederson (5);
- Bell (3) versus Acuna (6)
- Alonso (2) versus Santana (7)
Cody Bellinger Los Angeles Dodgers RF
|Dodgers MVP candidate Cody Bellinger will not participate in the Home Run Derby this year, he told Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times . He will consider doing it next year, when Dodger Stadium hosts the All-Star Game and various festivities. Bellinger participated in the 2017 Home Run Derby as a rookie.|
Joey Gallo Texas Rangers CF
|Rangers slugger Joey Gallo , who was recently activated off the injured list after missing three weeks with an oblique strain, told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News he has not yet been invited to the Home Run Derby . Gallo has passed on the Derby in previous years citing his low batting average, but his overall production is plenty strong this year. |
Aaron Judge New York Yankees RF
|As of June 24, MLB had not yet reached out to the Yankees star Aaron Judge about the Home Run Derby, reports George King of the New York Post . Judge won the 2017 Home Run Derby and has said he will only participate in it again if it takes place in his home ballpark . |
Ketel Marte Arizona Diamondbacks 2B
|Diamondbacks breakout star Ketel Marte would accept a Home Run Derby invitation, he told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert . The switch-hitter would bat right-handed. Marte is having a breakout season, especially in the power department .|
Shohei Ohtani Los Angeles Angels DH
|Despite returning from Tommy John surgery only a few weeks ago, Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani said he would like to compete in the Home Run Derby . He had not yet been invited as of this past weekend, however.|
Hunter Renfroe San Diego Padres LF
|Padres outfielder Hunter Renfroe said he would "be honored" to take part in the Home Run Derby, reports MLB.com's AJ Cassavell . Tuesday night, after a Padres loss, Renfroe told reporters that no Padres were invited to take part in the Derby and that the field of eight was already set without them. This was, however, before the Baez news (see below).|
Franmil Reyes San Diego Padres RF
|According to MLB.com's AJ Cassavell , Padres slugger Franmil Reyes wants a crack at the home Run Derby. "Of course, my man. I'm just waiting," he said. Reyes has one of the longest average home run distances in baseball. Tuesday night, after a Padres loss, Reyes' teammate Renfroe (see above) told reporters that no Padres were invited to take part in the Derby and that the field of eight was already set without them. This was, however, before the Baez news (see below).|
Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels CF
|Once again, the game's best player will not participate in the Home Run Derby. Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times reports Angels star Mike Trout has passed on the event. He was invited, but declined. Trout remains open to taking part in the Home Run Derby in the future.|
Luke Voit New York Yankees 1B
|Unfortunately for Voit, he suffered an abdominal strain during Saturday's game (June 29) in London which landed him on the 10-day injured list. This might just force Voit to abandon his hopes of participating in this year's Derby. Voit has been very outspoken about wanting to participate in the event . As of June 24, MLB had not yet reached out to the Yankees first baseman Luke Voit about the Home Run Derby, reports George King of the New York Post . |
Gary Sanchez New York Yankees C
|Sanchez told reporters on Friday in London that he hasn't decided whether he'll do the Home Run Derby this year. The Yankees catcher said that he's still thinking about it, and he wants to talk to his wife and agent before making a final decision. Sanchez participated in the 2017 Derby, where he was knocked out in the second round. Yankees teammate Aaron Judge won the Derby that year.|
Javier Baez Chicago Cubs SS
|Baez, the Cubs' All-Star shortstop, will not participate in the Derby this year, Jon Heyman reports. Baez has been playing through a slight heel injury for several weeks and that was cited as the reason he won't take part. Baez was a participant in the 2018 Home Run Derby.|