Ten of the game's best sluggers will share the field Sunday night in Minneapolis for the first major event of the All-Star Weekend. The American League and the National League square off in a home run hitting competition that takes a little bit of a different format - once again - this season.
Each league will compete against itself until the final round where the champion of the AL meets the champion of the NL. The top scorer in each league in the first round of hitting earns a buy in the next round where the second and third scorers will match up against one another. The winner of that individual matchup will go on to face the first-round's highest-scorer. At that point, each league will have two contestants left and the winner of each one-on-one matchup will meet in the finals.
Who will advance?
The AL and NL captains - Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki - chose their respective sides. The American League carries some unusual names. Josh Donaldson and Minnesota's own Brian Dozier join Bautista, Adam Jones and last year's champ - Yoenis Cespedes. The National League features Tulo, Yasiel Puig, Todd Frazier, Justin Morneau and Giancarlo Stanton.
I like Jose Bautista and Giancarlo Stanton to advance from either league, with Stanton ultimately winning his first Home Run Derby.
Bautista has participated in the Derby twice before and has improved each time. Bautista was eliminated in the first round in the 2011 edition. And lost in the finals of 2012 against Prince Fielder. In a relatively weak American League field this season, I'm looking for Bautista to come into this competition with something to prove as the captain and win his league's mini tournament.
The winners will be...
But Stanton will win his first Derby in his first try as the hands-down most powerful player in the field. Stanton has unbelievable power and is a pretty darn impressive overall hitter. Mike Trout is the best player in the world, but it's becoming more and more evident that Stanton is number two. And I think a lot more people will begin to realize that after he puts on his own show in Minneapolis.
The finals will matchup the best home run-hitting athlete against the most experienced competitor in the field. Bautista will certainly be out for his first in three tries, but I think Stanton is just simply built for this event. The Miami Marlin claims his prize. Enjoy the show!
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