The NBA has the 3-point shooting and Slam-Dunk contests, the NHL has the Skills Challenge, and Major League Baseball has the Home Run Derby. All of the events take place at the midway point of each season, and tonight, eight of the game’s best sluggers will take to the field at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati to see how far they can jack long balls over the fences.
As the Inquisitr previously noted, this year’s Derby is far different than any that preceded it as players will be squaring off against one another in a timed five-minute first round.
According to ESPN, Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant will face-off with Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, who will be participating in his fourth career derby. Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will square off against Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson. Texas Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder with go to battle with Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier while Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson with face Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo in order to see who advances.
Here are some reactions from around the baseball world on who they feel will walk away with the title, per MLB.
Reds president and CEO Bob Castellini.
“Todd Frazier! Come on. Because he’s our hometown hero and he almost won last year, and we all love him.”
Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash.
“Let’s go with Pujols, since I intentionally walked [Mike] Trout twice and [Pujols] burned us.”
Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen.
“I have to go with Todd Frazier. He is a great guy. I’m rooting for him in his hometown. I’ll go with the homer pick. He is just a good hitter, he’ll make adjustments. When he knows the heater is coming, he is going to do some damage. So I like him in the contest.”
Rangers broadcaster Mark McLemore.
“Prince, of course. Because he is good. I know it’s a new format, but I like his swing right now and he has been there before. I don’t see the other guys every day, but just the whole experience, the All-Star Game. He has been there and done that.”
Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta.
“I think Rizzo might have a slight advantage there; short porch in right, ball flies pretty well. He’s talking about going to the opposite field for a few. He’s more than capable of doing that. You can’t ever count Kris out because of the power he has. We’ll see how good his dad is at throwing BP.”
Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler.
“[Rizzo and Bryant are] in my hitting group, and it depends on [coach Franklin] Font. If Font throws it where Riz wants — well, I don’t know. You know, ‘K.B.,’ he has familiarity with his pops. You never know.”
Vegas oddsmakers and a report from CBS Sports has the Reds’ Todd Frazier winning it all.
Starting lineups for both the National and American Leagues were announced today for tomorrow’s All-Star Game, which you can view at this link.
Who do you want to win this year’s Home Run Derby?
[Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]