The 2013 Home Run Derby Field: Now with twice the Virginians!
In news that you’ve no doubt been eagerly anticipating, clawing at furniture and screaming at the sky as you pace and stomp, the contestants for this year’s Home Run Derby have been announced: David Wright, Bryce Harper, Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gonzalez, Robinson Cano, Chris Davis and Prince Fielder, with the final American League spot to be determined later.
What’s curious is this year’s field is devoid of players who are actually, you know, leading the league in home runs. Aside from Davis (first with 33) and Gonzalez (third with 24), no one else in the top 10 in home runs will be taking part in the derby. That includes destroyer of baseballs Miguel Cabrera (second with 28) and five players who will also be at the All-Star Game in Domonic Brown (23), Edwin Encarnacion (23), Nelson Cruz (22), Pedro Alvarez (22) and Paul Goldschmidt (21).
That said, it’s still a group that knows its way around hitting baseballs very, very far. Prince Fielder (15 homers) has a swing practically built for home run derbies. And Davis’ inclusion needs no defending, nor does Gonzalez’s. Cano and Wright are there as team captains, and Harper is an All-Star and one of the league’s most popular players. Cuddyer’s inclusion is a bit of a surprise; his 15 home runs are tied for ninth in the NL with Ian Desmond, Justin Upton and Joey Votto, and the Rockies are already well represented in the derby with CarGo. Maybe Wright just wanted to make a friendly gesture to his fellow Norfolkite. (Norfolkian? Norfolker? Virginian.)
As for that fourth and final AL spot, Cano hasn’t announced it yet, as he’s apparently waiting to hear back from his final choice. We already know Dominican countryman and all-around slugger extraordinaire David Ortiz won’t be participating, and Mike Trout apparently gave ESPN’s Buster Olney a “no comment” when asked if he’d be taking part. Cabrera, Encarnacion or the ageless Raul Ibanez would be a nice grab, though the thought of Adrian Beltre slugging homers and having to avoid his teammates rubbing his head after he’s done is hard to resist. Or maybe just convince Giancarlo Stanton to switch leagues for a day and give us the greatest show on earth.
If you’re going to bet on a winner, by the way, you probably don’t want to put your money on Wright. Of his 13 homers in 2013, only three have come at Citi Field, which will be the site of this year’s derby and All-Star Game.