MLB Home Run Derby 2019: Must-See Preview

The 2019 Major League Baseball season has been highlighted by a record-breaking number of home runs. Some players have already set career highs in home runs and the month of June was the most homer-happy month in baseball history. On Monday, July 8, the home runs will be flying at Progressive Field in Cleveland off of the bats’ of eight young talented sluggers in the Home Run Derby. As an added element of excitement, the winner of the contest will receive $1,000,000. Here’s a breakdown of everything that you need to know for one of the most exciting events of the summer.

When Is The Home Run Derby And How Does It Work?

The Home Run Derby begins at 8 p.m. on ESPN. It is a bracket-style event in which eight hitters compete to out-homer each other throughout three rounds of hitting. Players are seeded 1-8 based off their current regular season home run totals. In the first round, the one seed faces the eight seed, the two seed faces the seven seed, the three seed faces the six seed and the four seed faces the five seed. The winners of each first round matchup advance to another match-up in the semifinals and the winners of the semifinal matchups face off in the final round. Hitters will have four minutes to hit as many home runs as they can hit. Hitters are allowed one timeout per round. If a hitter hits two home runs over 440 feet, they receive an extra 30 seconds of hitting time.

Who Is Taking Part In The Home Run Derby?

The top seed was originally Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich but the MLB home run leader had to pull out of the event due to back issues. Replacing Yelich is Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman. Chapman is probably more known for his outstanding defense but he does have 21 homers at the break. The two seed is Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso. Alonso already set the NL rookie record for home runs at the all star break with 30 dingers. He is also tied for the hardest hit home run this season at 118.3 MPH. The three seed is Pirates first baseman Josh Bell. Bell leads MLB in RBI’s with 84. Bell also has 27 home runs, including two bombs that have reached the Alleghany River in Pittsburgh. The four seed is Alex Bregman. The Astros third baseman looked impressive in last year’s derby and has hit 23 home runs already. The five seed is Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson. Pederson has 20 home runs and has already displayed prodigious power in this event in the past as he reached the finals in 2015. The six seed is Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. Acuna Jr. is just 21 but has become a star already. He has 21 home runs and also displayed some impressive power in the first half. The seven seed is hometown hero and Indians first baseman Carlos Santana. Santana is not as much a power hitter as other competitors in this field but it’s nice to have a hometown guy in the derby. The eight seed is perhaps the most intriguing one in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. His father won the event in 2007 and Vladdy Jr. only has eight home runs in his two months in the majors. However, from batting practice videos, he appears to have insane power.

What To Know About Progressive Field?

Progressive Field has played as a pitchers park since it opened in 1994, mainly because of the winds that blow off nearby Lake Erie. The field definitely will bode better for the derby’s three left-handed hitters in Bell, Pederson and Santana. It is 325 feet down the right field line, 375 feet to right-center and 405 feet to center, all of which have 8 foot walls. The left field wall is also 325 feet down the line and 370 to left-center but there is a massive 19-foot wall ranging from the left field foul pole to center field.

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