Pete alonsoThe New York Mets slugger is ready to defend the Home Run Derby crown he won in 2019, but the No. 1 seed in the tournament bracket is the Los Angeles Angels star, the Japanese. Shohei ohtani.
The crossover of the eight Home Run Derby sluggers was officially unveiled Wednesday night and Alonso’s rivals will include Ohtani, a Joey gallo, Texas Rangers outfielder (No. 2 seed), Matt olson, Oakland Athletics first baseman (No. 3), the Venezuelan Salvador Perez, catcher for the Kansas City Royals (No. 4), Trey mancini, first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles (No. 6), Trevor story, shortstop for the Colorado Rockies (No. 7) and the Dominican Juan Soto, right fielder for the Washington Nationals (No. 8).
The derby will be played next Monday at Coors Field in Denver.
Alonso, who is the fifth seed in the 2021 tournament and beat Vladimir Guerrero Jr. In the final round in Cleveland two years ago, he will hit the 2021 derby with eight custom bats featuring the phrases “Family First” and “LFGM,” as well as a tribute to “300,” his favorite movie.
“When I’m in the batter’s box, that’s my mindset. Although I am outnumbered nine to one, I am in that small area, like when the Spartans defended, with only 300 men, against all possibilities. This is how I describe my performance, ”Alonso explained to ESPN’s Joon Lee.
Although fans in Denver will support the local boy, Story, Ohtani is the big draw.
The Japanese has been the story to follow in the first half of the current season with his performance as a hitter and pitcher and leads the majors with 32 home runs. Ohtani will start Tuesday’s All-Star Game as a designated hitter and Angels manager Jon Maddon has spoken with AL manager Kevin Cash about using the Japanese as a pitcher.
Ohtani announced his intention to participate in the derby in June and became the first Japanese player in the tournament.
“I always wanted to see a Japanese player participate in the derby and it happens to be me. It’s really exciting for me, ”Ohtano said through an interpreter on that occasion.
A look at the participants.
Ohtani (32 home runs): Not only is he on pace to break the Los Angeles franchise record of 47 home runs in one season, he has a chance of hitting 60 after hitting 13 homers in June and four through July 7. Longest home run of the season: 470 feet.
Gallo (23 home runs): Known for his prodigious power when entangling the ball, fans have long called for Gallo in the Home Run Derby. He has recently been on fire with the wood and hit two home runs Wednesday to reach 10 in the last 10 games. Longest home run of the season: 462 feet.
Olson (21 home runs): He hit 36 homers in just 127 games in 2019 and is on track to surpass that career high in 2021. He has also improved at the batter’s box after hitting .195 last season, cutting his strikeouts by nearly half and raising his average to .283. Longest home run of the season: 445 feet.
Pérez: (20 home runs): The Venezuelan will be in his sixth All-Star Game behind home plate and should easily surpass his career-high 27 home runs, which he has hit twice. His power is no coincidence, as he ranks ninth in the majors in average exit speed with 93 miles. Longest home run of the season: 460 feet.
Alonso (15 home runs): He hasn’t been able to match his 2019 home run pace, when he set a rookie mark at 53, but few players hit the ball that hard, ranking 11th in average exit velocity. He should enjoy Coors Field as 14 of his 15 homers have been hit on the road. Longest home run of the season: 443 feet.
Mancini (15 home runs): One of the best stories of the season. He missed the entire 2020 season after undergoing treatment for colon cancer. He hit 35 home runs in 2019 and started on fire in 2021, although he has only four home runs since the start of June. Longest home run of the season: 451 feet.
Story (11 home runs): His home run numbers are down from the 37 he hit in 2018 and 35 in 2019, but no one doubts his power. This could also be a kind of goodbye for Colorado’s Story, as he will be a free agent after the season ends and the Rockies could look to trade him after the All-Star break. Longest home run of the season: 466 feet.
Soto (11 home runs): The Dominican’s offensive numbers are a disappointment after he led the National League in average, OBP and slugging in 2020, but he has the youthful enthusiasm that could work in the derby. Longest home run of the season: 437 feet.
Since the new Home Run Derby format was introduced in 2015, Guerrero holds the record for most home runs in a round with 40, when he beat Joc Pederson 40-39. That round included swing failures, of which they each had 29 in the regular round (matching Guerrero’s total from the first round). With the expectation that the ball will fly a lot at Coors Field, that record is certainly in jeopardy.
Ken Griffey Jr. won the last Home Run Derby held at Coors Field, hitting 19 home runs in 1998 to beat Jim Thome (17).