Seems like it’s sort of overkill to do a full-on “game thread” style post for the Home Run Derby but since I know many of us will be watching, we might as well have a place to talk about it. These things are generally unpredictable and, as was the case with Josh Hamilton in 2008, the most impressive hitter doesn’t always win. So, with that in mind, here’s a just-for-kicks breakdown of the field (go here for some more analysis and, no kidding, some odds):
Nick Swisher, Yankees
Pros: Switch-hitter hitting left in the derby, where most of his 15 homers have come from this year. Hits a homer every 16.7 at-bats in his career.
Cons: Has only three HR at Angel Stadium in 144 career at-bats there.
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Pros: Has 22 HR already this season and is averaging 400 feet per blast.
Cons: Um … might get tired?
Corey Hart, Brewers
Pros: Least-known hitter in the field, but has 20 homers already this season.
Cons: Never homered at Angel Stadium (in 14 career at-bats – yeah, I know we’re reaching here).
Matt Holliday, Cardinals
Pros: Hottest hitter coming in, having homered in five of his last six games.
Cons: Only 16 home runs so far this season and can be streaky.
David Ortiz, Red Sox
Pros: Has hit a homer every 17.6 at-bats at Angel Stadium in his career, averaging 403 feet per homer this season.
Cons: Never won in three previous Derby appearances.
Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
Pros: Maybe the best all-around hitter in the field and has power to all fields.
Cons: Only homers once every 25.1 at-bats this season giving him a paltry total of 13.
Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
Pros: Has found his power stroke again this year and has 19 homers already this season.
Cons: Doesn’t love Angel Stadium; only three homers in 149 at-bats there.
Chris Young, Diamondbacks
Pros: Big pull hitter, with 13 of his 15 home runs going to left or left-center.
Cons: Unproven, hard to know what to expect on “big stage.”
The Pick: Kind of hard to pick against Cabrera, isn’t it? I like him or Chris Young. Just a guess, but I think Swisher makes the semifinals and then goes out. Bet he’ll have a blast, though. Hope everyone enjoys the fireworks.
*That’s an AP photo of Swisher homering off King Felix in Seattle over the weekend.