Major League Baseball has announced a few changes to this years Home Run Derby that will take place at the home of the 2014 All-Star festivities, Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
One of the changes will be a bracket style format. Along with the new format, there will be a total of five players from both the American League and National League. Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista will be the captain for the American League squad, and Colorado Rockies star Troy Tulowitzki will captain the National League team. Both captains will select four players each, from their respective leagues to be apart of the contest.
Batters this year will also receive seven outs instead of the 10 outs from the previous years, to hit as many home runs as possible. The first round will have a similar look to that of previous years.
The batter with the highest total from each league will receive a bye to the third round, leaving them plenty of time to rest or take some extra swings in the batting cages. The players with the second and third most home runs from their respective league will advance to the second round, where they will have a head-to-head matchup, with the winner advancing to the third round (semifinals) to compete for the title.
So at the end of the night, there will be a representative from both leagues facing off in the finals for the chance to raise the trophy.
Bautista and Tulowitzki will both have plenty of options when deciding which sluggers they want to choose to be apart of their squad. For Bautista, the American League is loaded with power-bats. A few possibilities may be the two-time reigning AL Most Valuable Player, Miguel Cabrera, Orioles sluggers Chris Davis and Nelson Cruz, Bautista's teammate, Edwin Encarnacion, and last years Home Run Derby champion, Yoenis Cespedes are a few likely names that could represent the American League in the contest.
The NL is filled with solid bats as well. Paul Goldschmidt, Ryan Braun, Yasiel Puig and Home Run Derby veteran Matt Holliday may all be candidates to represent the National League in the derby.
It will be interesting to see how the new rule changes and format effects the contest from a viewer standpoint. One thing is for certain, balls will be flying at Target Field on July 14, during the 2014 MLB Home Run Derby.
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