The MLB All-Star Game is a complete joke, but one part of the All-Star festivities that remains fun to watch is the home run derby. But this year, some puzzling choices have been made as to who will participate.
There are some dumb rules surrounding the derby—something about some homers carrying forward into some rounds but not into other rounds. We’re not really sure. It’s very confusing and, as with most things surrounding the All-Star Game, the rules make absolutely no sense. It’s not as asinine as having fans select the players who will determine home field advantage in the World Series, but it’s still a dumb set of rules.
All of that aside, it was recently revealed who will be participating. For the National League: Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals, and Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies.
For the American League: Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees, Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers, and Mark Trumbo of the Los Angeles Angels.
Through July 2, the NL squad has a combined total of 68 homers this season, while the AL squad has a total of 79 dingers. The AL’s Bautista leads the big leagues in homers with 27, and almost all the rest of the selected players are near the top of the list.
Fielder, however, is not one of those near the top of the list. Neither is the player who nearly made the NL squad.
Kemp was apparently going to select teammate Andre Ethier and his 10 home runs, but Ethier strained his oblique this week. Andre Ethier?! Kemp has hit more home runs than Ethier in fewer than half as many at-bats!
We’re not sure why Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and his NL-leading 22 homers never entered the equation for Kemp, even after Ethier went down to injury.
Cano’s pick of Fielder was even more questionable than Kemp’s near-pick of Ethier. Fielder has only hit 12 dingers so far this season. Meanwhile, Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox (24 homers), Cano’s teammate Curtis Granderson (23), and Bautista’s teammate Edwin Encarnacion (22) were all left out in the cold.
Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers (25) and David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox (21) both declined invitations to participate.
Still…Prince Fielder? We count 23 AL batters who have hit more home runs this season than has Fielder. The pick is baffling, since Dunn has hit twice as many homers this year as Fielder and has a long history of being a masher.
Alas, neither Kemp or Cano checked with us before making their selections, so we suppose that we just have to live with the choices.
Regardless, it should be a fun competition to watch. And at least these guys aren’t determining anything regarding the World Series.
Tune in to ESPN on July 9 at 8 p.m. ET to catch the action.