We already know all the participants in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, the event we have been waiting for since we learned that the All-Star Game would be played at Coors Field. Although not all the names we would like to see are here – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. decided not to participate, and to be honest, I think Giancarlo Stanton should take part every year – this is still a great group of participants.
Every competitor has a real shot at winning Monday night, or they wouldn’t be here. But since we love predictions, let’s go with the 2021 Home Run Derby Power Rankings (8pm ET).
1) Shohei Ohtani, RHP / BD, Angels
Who is going to bet against Ohtani? He has a legitimate chance of becoming the first player to hit 60 home runs in 20 years, and it’s basically the most exciting thing that has happened in baseball in a long time. And it could launch on Tuesday! How not to pick Ohtani first?
First of all, he is the defending champion. He hasn’t been the same home runner since that 2019 season, but he’s still a powerful slugger. Discard it at your own risk. He would become just the third player to win the Derby twice, after Yoenis Céspedes and Ken Griffey Jr., who took him three times.
3) Joey Gallo, OF, Rangers
How come Gallo has never participated in a Home Run Festival before? The classic all-or-nothing hitter, Gallo got off to a slow start this year, and he also had a rough time in 2019 and 2020, until recently exploding and earning his All-Star Game recall. He has as much or more power than any other participant.
4) Matt Olson, 1B, Athletics
He has exploded in the last two seasons and his 21 home runs this year have him heading to a personal best and this year his batting average is almost 100 points better than he left in 2020. That natural swing would seem perfect for Coors. A surprise candidate, but not a bad candidate for that.
5) Juan Soto, OF, Nationals
The Dominican Soto is something of a surprise among the Derby participants, as he is fourth on his own team in home runs and is statistically having the worst season of his career. Perhaps that is why he accepted the invitation: it is a way of showing all his talent in a season in which things have not turned out the way he wanted. The Home Run Derby isn’t able to show everything that makes Soto such a special hitter, but it could remind people of his natural talent.
6) Trevor Story, SS, Rockies
Always have the boy of the thing, even if this particular boy is not even leading his club in homers (that would be Ryan McMahon.) These may be his last days in the Rockies, so maybe this is the one. Coors fans say goodbye in a big way.
7) Trey Mancini, OF, Orioles
The great inspirational story of this Home Run Derby, Mancini returned after beating cancer to star in a fantastic season in Baltimore. He’s a solid power hitter, but he’s never been one of the elite, so it seems difficult for him to have the thunder in his bat to fight the other sluggers in this competition.
8) Salvador Pérez, C, Royals
First of all, it’s great to have a catcher in this competition. We didn’t have one since Gary Sánchez in 2017 (and before him, none since Joe Mauer in 2009). The Venezuelan Pérez has shown a good dose of power, in addition to his leadership and defense, another great step after what he began to show in 2020 after missing all of 2019. It would be wonderful to see him win, but no catcher has won this competition, And it seems difficult to see Pérez beating any of the other names on this list.