On Monday, Major League Baseball announced the eight players who will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby at Marlins Park, which will take place on Monday, July 10 at Marlins Park. MLB released the derby bracket on Wednesday.
There's a surprise at No. 1.
At first blush, it would appear MLB stuck to last year's seeding formula, but decided to place Stanton at the top because he represents the host city. Here's the explanation, per the league's release:
Following Stanton, seeding was determined by each participant's home run total through Tuesday's games. Ties were broken by awarding the higher seed to the player who reached his current home run total first.
It's worth noting this doesn't appear to be correct. Justin Bour, another Marlin, reached 18 home runs quicker than Charlie Blackmon, who nonetheless received the higher seed. "Higher" seed can't mean "worse," either, given Cody Bellinger received the No. 3 seed after tying with Mike Moustakas but reaching 24 home runs first. So who really knows what's going on there.
Of course, it's worth noting that the final four could potentially feature Stanton, Judge, Los Angeles Dodgers breakout rookie Cody Bellinger, and Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano -- the four best sluggers in the tournament. Had it stuck to last year's system, Stanton and Sano would've met in Round 1, with one of Mike Moustakas and Blackmon ensured an advancement to the semifinals.
There's nothing wrong with setting up a bracket for maximum entertainment potential. Things just get confusing when there's no consistency with the stated methodology.