The eight-man field for the 2021 Home Run Derby has been filled. The derby will take place Monday in Colorado's Coors Field and will air on ESPN.
Prior to Wednesday, we knew six of the players who are set to take part. The final two spots were revealed Wednesday afternoon. Joey Gallo of the Rangers will take part, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. As will Nationals slugger Juan Soto.
Here's the full eight-player field:
2021 Home Run Derby field
- Shohei Ohtani, Angels
- Pete Alonso, Mets
- Trevor Story, Rockies
- Trey Mancini, Orioles
- Salvador Perez, Royals
- Matt Olson, Athletics
- Joey Gallo, Rangers
- Juan Soto, Nationals
Gallo, 27, has as much raw power as anyone in baseball and will drop some serious bombs on Monday. He told me in 2019 at the All-Star Game he'd love to be in a Derby someday, so now he's getting his wish. Heading into Wednesday, he was hitting .234/.391/.491 with 21 homers. He tacked on two more homers in matinee action against the Tigers, though, meaning he's now hit 10 homers in his last 10 games.
Soto, 22, was already a star and became nationally known during the Nationals' 2019 run for the World Series title, notably for his clutch hitting and the "Soto Shuffle." He also carries prodigious raw power. He hasn't had a gigantic power season (10 homers and .438 slugging heading into Wednesday), but he's hit 34 in a season before and led the majors with a .695 slugging percentage in 2020. Plus, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s showing in the 2019 Home Run Derby -- he only had eight homers at the break, but stole the show in the Derby -- illustrates why having a huge homer season shouldn't be a prerequisite for participation.
The defending champion is Alonso, who took down Guerrero in the 2019 event in Cleveland. There wasn't a Derby last season, as there wasn't an All-Star break. We'll see if Gallo, Soto or anyone else can take Alonso down in less than a week.