MLB Needs a Skills Competition

Trea Turner Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

Baseball is a difficult game to play. To a non fan watching a game on TV, it might not seem that way, but it certainly is. The All Star Game certainly is fun, but it doesn’t quite show how remarkably athletic the guys on the field are. That’s how MLB needs to expand its reach: by showing how talented the players actually are. How can this be fixed? By implementing a Skills Competition during All Star Weekend.

What would an MLB Skills Competition look like? For one, the Home Run Derby will be added as an event to it, rather than an event by itself like it currently is. In addition to the Home Run Derby, events would include a Bunt Competition, Throw Competition, Home to Home Races, and a Pinpoint Pitch Contest.

For each competition, there will be eight contestants. One from each division, one from the hosting team, and one out of position player.

Home Run Derby

Everyone knows the rules to the Derby, so I’ll skip to the contestants, chosen by their 2018 home run count:

AL East — JD Martinez

AL Central — Jose Ramirez

AL West — Mike Trout

NL East — Ozzie Albies

NL Central — Jesus Aguilar

NL West — Nolan Arenado

Hometown Rep — Bryce Harper

Out of position — Michael Lorenzen

Bunt Off

Each contestant gets two attempts to third base and two attempts to first base. The closest fair bunt in terms of feet to each base counts, and the player with the smallest total between the two bunts wins. A foul bunt counts as 50 feet away.

Example (Contestant 1):

Third Base bunt 1 — Foul (+50)

Third Base bunt 2 — 12 feet away (+12)

First Base bunt 1 — 25 feet away (+25)

First base bunt 2 — 19 feet away (+19)

Contestant one gets his lowest score from each base totaled up, so he gets a +31. Lowest score wins.

Here are the contestants, chosen by their bunt hit count in 2018 (out of position player chosen by sacrifice hit count):

AL East — Didi Gregorius

AL Central — Leonys Martin

AL West — Delino DeShields

NL East—Ender Inciarte

NL Central — Jose Peraza

NL West — Jarrod Dyson

Hometown Rep — Trea Turner

Out of position — Chad Kuhl

Throw Competition

Each contestant gets a throw from a designated spot from left field, center field, and right field. Like the bunt competition, the player with the smallest total distance from home plate on the three throws (once it hits the ground, no bounces allowed) wins!

Contestants are chosen by their outfield assists in 2018:

AL East — Aaron Judge

AL Central — Leonys Martin

AL West — Mitch Haniger

NL East — Brian Anderson

NL Central — Kyle Schwarber

NL West — Yasiel Puig

Hometown Rep — Bryce Harper

Out of position — Jorge Alfaro

Home to Home Race

Each player gets one run, starting on home plate, touching all three bases and then home plate again. Player with the quickest time wins.

Players chosen by 2018 sprint speed.

AL East — Kevin Kiermaier

AL Central — Adam Engel

AL West — Delino DeShields

NL East — Ronald Acuna Jr

NL Central — Billy Hamilton

NL West — Trevor Story

Hometown Rep — Trea Turner

Out of position — Shohei Ohtani (does he count?)

Pinpoint Pitch Contest

A bullseye like object is set up at home plate. Each pitcher gets five pitches: one right down the middle, and one in each corner of the strike zone. The bullseye moves to the appropriate location for each pitch. You get a certain amount of points for hitting the middle, and then fewer points for each ring away from the center.

Contestants are chosen by fewest BB/9.

AL East — Rick Porcello

AL Central — Corey Kluber

AL West — Bartolo Colon

NL East — Jose Urena

NL Central — Miles Mikolas

NL West — Ross Stripling

Hometown Rep — Max Scherzer

Out of position — Chris Gimenez (I don’t care if he’s in the minors right now)

Overall, I think a Skills Competition for MLB would be a lot of fun and would even be more popular than the All Star Game itself. Would this be a good thing to add? What other competitions would you want to see?

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