The 2021 MLB All-Star Game was recently moved out of Atlanta following the passing of a controversial Georgia law that critics say restricts voting access in the state. Instead, the annual Midsummer Classic will be played at Coors Field, which is home to the Colorado Rockies.
It's well-known that Coors Field is one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in Major League Baseball. Coors Field sits 5,200 feet above sea level, which by far the highest ballpark in all of Major League Baseball. The next closest park is Chase Field in Phoenix, which sits 1,100 feet above sea level.
Over the past five seasons, Coors Field has ranked near the top of the league in terms of home runs:
- 2020 - 1.147 home runs per game (11th highest) - 60-game regular season
- 2019 - 1.266 home runs per game (3rd highest)
- 2018 - 1.280 home runs per game (2nd highest)
- 2017 - 1.195 home runs per game (5th highest)
- 2016 - 1.165 home runs per game (3rd highest)
"Hitters are collectively slashing .307/.370/.526 in Coors Field this season," Matt Snyder of CBS Sports wrote in July 2019. "The league average slash line is .252/.322/.431, so we're looking at a difference of 55 batting average points, 48 on-base percentage and a ridiculous 95 points of slugging."
It's clear to see that players can be very successful when it comes to hitting at Coors Field in any capacity. With players being lobbed balls in the middle of the strike zone, the results really could really be insane for the 2021 Home Run Derby.
Coors Field hasn't hosted the Home Run Derby since 1998 and that was definitely a spectacle. Seattle Mariners star Ken Griffey Jr. ended up winning the event as he slugged 19 home runs to take the crown.
Considering the type of star power that we could in the 2021 Home Run Derby, there could be even more long balls. Here are 10 players we'd love to see participate in the 2021 Home Run Derby at Coors Field.
Is there a player more compelling in all of the MLB than Shohei Ohtani? Not in my eyes. The Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher/designated hitter can get the job on the mound and at the dish. In fact, in Sunday's game against the Chicago White Sox, Ohtani absolutely annihilated a baseball on the very first pitch he saw from Dylan Cease. Ohtani has been hampered by injuries during his first three seasons in the big leagues, but his talent is out of this world. If Ohtani keeps swinging the bat at this rate, there's no doubt he should be launching bombs at Coors Field in July.
Mike Trout has already established himself as one of the greatest players to ever play the game. For a power hitter like Trout, it's surprising that the Angels outfielder has never participated in the Home Run Derby. However, this would be a great time for Trout to compete in his first Home Run Derby even if it were to be his only one. Seeing teammates like Ohtani and Trout going head-to-head in a battle of long balls would be a showdown for the ages.
You can't have a Home Run Derby without the reigning derby champion. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic forced MLB to have a shortened 60-game regular season and the All-Star Game festivities were canceled. Alonso was the last winner of the event back in 2019 in his rookie season. The New York Mets first baseman belted 23 home runs in the final round to edge out Toronto Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. by just one homer (23-22) at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Since breaking into the bigs in 2019, Alonso has launched 70 home runs in less than two full seasons, so the Mets star needs to continue to be a fixture.
Ronald Acuna Jr.
Ronald Acuna Jr. has quickly burst onto the scene as one of the most exciting young players in baseball. The Atlanta Braves outfielder already has one Home Run Derby under his bet after he competed in the 2019 installment. Acuna did defeat then Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell in the opening round before falling to Alonso by a narrow 20-19 margin. The Braves star is truly one of the most dangerous power hitters in the game and he needs to continue to be a fixture in the Home Run Derby.
Fernando Tatis Jr.
Fernando Tatis Jr. is absolutely electric at the plate, but has yet to compete in the Home Run Derby. It's certainly worth noting that the San Diego Padres shortstop is currently out with a shoulder injury. It's unclear how long Tatis will be out of the lineup. However, if Tatis is healthy enough to compete when July rolls around, the talented young star needs to be involved in the Home Run Derby.
The New York Yankees have historically had a large amount of representatives that have competed in the Home Run Derby. Back in 2017, the Yankees saw outfielder Aaron Judge and catcher Gary Sanchez in the derby field at in Miami. It's a coin flip as to whether fans would want to see Judge or teammate Giancarlo Stanton in the Home Run Derby, but I'll go Judge since he's the younger player. Judge has battled injuries throughout his career thus far, but has still managed to mash 121 home runs in parts of six seasons. His long balls will definitely rise into the Coors Field atmosphere if he were to participate in the 2021 Home Run Derby.
This would be throwing a little bit of salt in the wound for Rockies fans. After all, the Rockies traded Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals this past offseason and seeing him return to compete in the Home Run Derby would be a tough pill to swallow. Arenado launched 235 home runs in eight seasons with the Rockies and a large amount of those came within the friendly confines of Coors Field. Arenado participating in the 2021 Home Run Derby would certainly be a fun storyline to have and he could be a dark horse to win.
Another former Home Run Derby champion that needs to be involved in the 2021 installment. Philadelphia Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper won the event in 2018 when he was a member of the Washington Nationals. Harper ended up narrowly defeating future teammate Rhys Hoskins in the semifinals and beating Kyle Schwarber in the final in Washington D.C. The Phillies slugger is one of the most dangerous powers hitters in the game and seeing him tee off on baseballs at Coors Field would be a ton of fun.
Much like the Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers traditionally have a representative in the Home Run Derby. Los Angeles Dodgers star slugger Cody Bellinger participated in the 2017 Home Run Derby and lost by one home run to Aaron Judge in the semifinals. Bellinger has certainly had a knack for hitting clutch home runs in big moments including the 2020 postseason. Bellinger's swing would be beautiful to watch at Coors Field.
Last and certainly not least is New York Mets prized offseason acquisition Francisco Lindor. Lindor may not be the first player that many people think of when it comes to power hitters. However, Lindor has slugged 138 home runs over his career and topped the 30-home run plateau on three different occasions during his in Cleveland. Lindor definitely has a sweet swing that the Mets are going to enjoy having in their lineup for the next 10 seasons.