The 2021 MLB regular season is a little more than halfway complete and we've all settled into the daily grind that is regular season baseball. The 60-game sprint was fun in its own way last year given the circumstances. Give me the full 162-game experience every day of the week though.
Throughout the season the CBS Sports MLB scribes will bring you a weekly roundtable breaking down, well, pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we broke down the NL West race. This week we're going to tackle the upcoming Home Run Derby.
Who will win the 2021 Home Run Derby?
Matt Snyder: I always like to pick one "put on a show" guy (remember Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2019) and then watch a winner be the one who didn't steal the show. All eyes are gonna be on Shohei Ohtani and he'll absolutely put on a show. We've also seen a hometown player win the Derby twice since it got exciting again (2015, with the implementation of the clock). Todd Frazier in Cincy in 2015 and Bryce Harper in D.C. in 2018 fed off the home crowd energy to push through in the later rounds. I'll call that happening with Trevor Story as he takes the crown.
Dayn Perry: I'll go the obvious route and say Ohtani. He's the MLB leader in home runs, he's mega-elite in terms of exit velocity and his propensity for barreling up the ball, and he's truly found a new level as a power hitter this season (and done so in a largely sustainable fashion). On a gut-feeling level, I think Ohtani's Derby performance is going to be one we talk about for a long time as a standard-setter -- think Josh Hamilton in 2008, except he wins.
R.J. Anderson: I'll go with Trey Mancini. I have no real reasoning for it beyond "it would make for a good story," but sometimes that's all you need. Besides, it's the Home Run Derby, so there's not exactly a tried-and-true methodology for figuring out the winner.
Katherine Acquavella: It does feel like anyone can win, especially with the updated format. But, I'll go with the most unsurprising and predict that Ohtani will win. It's been a long time since we've seen a player hit this many homers before the All-Star break. Ohtani's 32 homers (as of Wednesday) are the most since Chris Davis hit 37 in 2013. Told you it had been a while. Ohtani's on a roll, and so much fun to watch. It's great for baseball to have Ohtani in both the All-Star Game and the Derby. It'll give casual baseball fans a chance to witness the two-way phenom's greatness. It should be a fun showcase for the 27-year-old on the national stage. Here's hoping Monday night will be one for the record books.
Mike Axisa: Matt Olson. Why? No particular reason. Everyone in the Home Run Derby is capable of winning the thing, and with the ball flying at Coors Field, I don't think there's an inherent advantage based on handedness (the way a lefty hitter would have an advantage at Yankee Stadium or a righty hitter might have an advantage at Minute Maid Park). The Home Run Derby is an endurance competition as much as it is a home run competition, and Olson is a big, strong dude. He's my pick.