On Monday, Major League Baseball will continue the 2021 All-Star Game festivities in Denver with the Home Run Derby at Coors Field. This year marks the first All-Star Game and related festivities since 2019. The 2020 edition was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 Home Run Derby field features some of the best (and youngest) sluggers in the game today.
Two-way star Shohei Ohtani of the Angels is the headliner, and he'll be joined by Juan Soto of the Nationals, Joey Gallo of the Rangers, Matt Olson of the A's, Trevor Story of the host Rockies, Pete Alonso of the Mets, Trey Mancini of the Orioles and Salvador Perez of the Royals.
Coors Field is already a hitter's environment, and the baseballs used in the Derby this year will not be placed in a humidor beforehand. That means we could be in for a memorable Monday night.
Here's how you can watch this year's Home Run Derby:
2021 Home Run Derby
Home Run Derby bracket
Participants are seeded based on the number of home runs they've hit this season at the time the bracket was created on Wednesday. Ties are broken by 2020 home run totals, except in the case of Mancini and Alonso. Since Mancini didn't play in 2020, their 2019 totals were used as a tiebreaker.
- #1 Shohei Ohtani vs. #8 Juan Soto
- #2 Joey Gallo vs. #7 Trevor Story
- #3 Matt Olson vs. #6 Trey Mancini
- #4 Salvador Perez vs. #5 Pete Alonso
In addition to the presence of Ohtani, who may be the AL MVP frontrunner thanks to his excellence at the plate and on the mound this season, there's also the inspiring Mancini, who's a survivor of stage 3 colon cancer. Alonso, who won the 2019 Derby, comes in as the defending champ. At age 22, Soto is the youngest Derby participant this year. And if you saw Gallo drop jaws with his batting practice session prior to the 2014 Futures Game, then you can imagine what he's capable of in this kind of format.
Speaking of the format, it's a single-elimination tournament. Each contestant has three minutes in the first and second rounds to hit as many home runs as he can. In the finals, each player has two minutes. Players can also receive bonus time based on home run distance. Each batter gets one one 45-second timeout in each of the regulation periods (i.e., not during any bonus time that's added on). Any tie in any round will be broken by a 60-second "swing off." The winner receives a $1 million prize.
Home Run Derby Odds
William Hill released betting odds for the event, and Ohtani is the favorite to win in Denver. Here are full odds for the eight-man field:
- Shohei Ohtani: +300
- Joey Gallo: +450
- Pete Alonso: +500
- Matt Olson: +600
- Salvador Perez: +800
- Juan Soto: +800
- Trevor Story: +900
- Trey Mancini: +1200
The CBS Sports stable of MLB writers recently conducted a roundtable on this very topic, and five writers made four different predictions -- Story, Ohtani, Mancini, and OIson. Since Ohtani was the only participant to earn two votes from us, we'll go with him. After all, he's the MLB home run leader, and he also hits the ball harder than almost anyone.