The MLB’s Home Run Derby has become an incredibly popular event over All-Star weekend. In 2017, both the All-Star game and Home Run Derby drew around 9 million viewers a piece. After a rule prior to the 2015 All-Star weekend that added a timer instead of outs for each round, viewership has jumped due to increased levels of excitement. This always begs the question, who would be in a dream Home Run Derby with a cast of current players? I’ve put together my ideal group of players to fill out the 8-man event. There are no restrictions on whether they’ve done it before or not, just the best 8 guys for the job.
Be sure to let us know who you’d put in your dream derby!
All stats will be from the 2018 season.
#1 Seed: Giancarlo Stanton – Yankees OF
- PA/HR: 18.55
- Exit Velocity: 93.7 MPH
- Launch Angle: 11.6º
Giancarlo Stanton is the ideal specimen for a Home Run Derby participant, and he showed us that during the 2016 Derby in San Diego. This is one of the best performances ever put on during the HRD. Not much needs to be said for his #1 seed.
#2 Seed: Aaron Judge – Yankees OF
- PA/HR: 18.44
- Exit Velocity: 94.9 MPH
- Launch Angle: 12.3º
Judge and Stanton were a toss up for the 1st seed, they’re basically interchangeable in this setting. Similar to his counterpart, he put on a show in the 2017 Derby in Miami. Judge hits the ball as hard as anyone in baseball. Despite his lower launch angle in 2018 compared to his 2017 season, he would still be a metaphorical tank in a field of superstars.
#3 Seed: Joey Gallo – Rangers OF/1B
- PA/HR: 14.42
- Exit Velocity: 93.8 MPH
- Launch Angle: 21.5º
Joey Gallo would not be in the MLB before the analytics takeover in baseball. He hit 38 singles to 40 HRs last season. Yeah, he’s good at this whole Home Run thing. Luckily his 35.9 K% won’t hurt him in this event, he can use his vicious uppercut to launch balls left and right. His swing was designed for this event. I’m actually surprised he hasn’t participated in one yet. Let all hope for 2019! He will be a tough out in this dream scenario.
Chris Khris Davis – Athletics OF/DH
- PA/HR: 13.63
- Exit Velocity: 92.5 MPH
- Launch Angle: 18.1º
Krush has become one of most under-appreciated hitters in baseball since he became an Athletic prior to 2016. He leads all of baseball in long balls since 2016 and has showed no signs of slowing down. He will duel it out with a Mega-Star in the first round.
#5 Seed: Mike Trout – Angels OF
- PA/HR: 15.59
- Exit Velocity: 91.2 MPH
- Launch Angle: 18.5º
Oh yeah, this guy. Just like LeBron James, who will never participate in a dunk contest no matter how bad everyone wants to see it, I doubt the greatest player of our generation will ever take his talents to the derby. Despite that, he has been part of the launch angle movement and has averaged 33.57 HR per season since his first full year in 2012. We can all fantasize about this, but he has as much of a chance of participating in a derby as he does going to your favorite team.
#6 Seed: Bryce Harper – ??? OF
- PA/HR: 20.44
- Exit Velocity: 90.6 MPH
- Launch Angle: 13.9º
Harper, the most recent winner of the Derby, put on a show in his home park in 2018. The sweet-swinging lefty gave the fans what they wanted and will continue his success into his new chapter.
#7 Seed: Javier Baez – Cubs IF
- PA/HR: 17.82
- Exit Velocity: 89.6 MPH
- Launch Angle: 9.9º
Baez has the definition of an all-or-nothing swing that will blend perfectly with the derby. He has serious raw power, but that’s not the only reason he’s here. His flash, attitude, and flare for the dramatic would make him an absolute joy to watch in this event, and that’s coming from a Cardinals fan. I think we can imagine a 7th seeded Baez flipping his bat into the atmosphere following a last second HR to win the derby.
#8 Seed: Shohei Ohtani – Angels SP/OF
- PA/HR: 14.95
- Exit Velocity: 92.6 MPH
- Launch Angle: 12.3º
Do you know this guy? He hits and pitches! He’s not just here for show, he has light-tower power. He hit better than most expected this year and will be the definition of a “wild card” in this event. Everybody will be tuned in to see this phenom go to work.
I don’t think anyone can argue that Coors Field in Colorado would be THE place to have Home Run Derby. Due to the incredibly high altitude, the balls fly like nowhere else in America. We would almost definitely have an all-time record number of long balls at this event regardless, but they would go further than ever.
Even though this is a cast of Superstars, I can confidently tell you the winner would be
Personally, I would bet on Aaron Judge. The man is 6′ 7″, 282 pounds, it’s hard to have a better frame for this event. So much raw power, I couldn’t bet against him.
Make sure to let us know who you would think would win!
Questions? Ask me on Twitter: @reed_zahradnik5