COMMENTARY | New York icons David Wright and Robinson Cano announced their rosters for the 2013 Home Run Derby just one week before the contest.
The American League, led by 2011 derby champion Cano, chose flashy players that can absolutely bruise a baseball. Wright, on the other hand, went with a roster filled with dark horse candidates and unproven potential.
Here are the Home Run Derby teams:
Captain: David Wright - New York Mets
Bryce Harper - Washington Nationals
Carlos Gonzalez - Colorado Rockies
Michael Cuddyer - Colorado Rockies
Captain: Robinson Cano - New York Yankees
Chris Davis - Baltimore Orioles
Prince Fielder - Detroit Tigers
TBA - TBA
Notice the TBA currently listed on the American League's team. That open spot originally given to Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera.
But, that's no longer the case.
After tweaking his back during the Tigers' latest road trip -- one in which the team played seven games on turf -- Cabrera waited to announce his plans regarding the derby. He opted to bow out of the contest, making way for Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to join in on the Citi Field fun.
In the end, Cabrera chose to put his health over the derby.
Case closed -- right?
Not so fast.
Say Cabrera opted to swing for the fences come July 15. It would've been the third Home Run Derby the slugger participated in.
We all know Cabrera obviously thought that skipping the Home Run Derby was in best interest of himself and the Tigers.
Knowing that, was it really the best decision? Let's take a look.
Everyone is well-aware of the decline of production after participating in the event, known as the Home Run Derby curse. Cabrera is well on his way to one of the best seasons in baseball history, with a .364/.457/.673 slash, 28 home runs, 90 RBIs, and a 1.130 OPS.
Cabrera's first Home Run Derby came way back in 2006. That year, he entered the contest with a .334/.432/.566 slash, 15 home runs, 61 RBIs, and a .998 OPS.
However, only his average and slugging percentage would increase after the contest. During the second half, Cabrera hit .343/.428/.570 with 11 homers, 53 RBI, and a .998 OPS.
In 2010, Cabrera's second go-around in the derby, the slugger was up to his usual antics at the plate, thanks to his .346/.423/.651 slash, 22 home runs, 77 RBIs, and 1.074 OPS. Cabrera was eliminated in the second round, just like his first time in 2006.
Unlike in 2006, all of Cabrera's numbers felt a decrease after the All-Star break. He ended up hitting for a .305/.415/.585 slash with 16 home runs, 49 RBIs, and a 1.000 OPS in the second half.
Perhaps you're reading this, wondering if Cabrera has ever experienced better second-half numbers compared to those before the All-Star break. Well, take a look at the 2007 season.
This year isn't the first time Cabrera skipped a Home Run Derby. The slugger did the same thing back in 2007, missing the event with a shoulder injury. He entered the All-Star break that year with a .324/.393/.576 slash, 18 home runs, 61 RBIs, and a .969 OPS.
Cabrera nearly matched his home run and RBI totals put up in the 2007 first-half with 18 round-trippers and 58 RBIs during the second half. His overall post All-Star break numbers experienced a slight dip, such as his .315 average and .960 OPS, but he managed to increase his on base percentage (.410) and slugging percentage (.551).
Besides an increase in average and slugging percentage after the 2006 Home Run Derby, Cabrera's second half statistics all experienced a dip each time he participated in the event. When he chose to skip the event, his second-half numbers were tad bit lower compared to those in the first-half, but that's a given since there are much fewer games after the All-Star break.
With the his season, and more importantly his health, on the line, Cabrera was left to make a tough choice. The 30-year-old slugger ultimately made the right decision by skipping the 2013 Home Run Derby.
Ricky Lindsay has followed the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball with a close eye from Metro Detroit for several years. He's the sports editor for his college newspaper, The Michigan Journal, and broadcasts games for the Michigan Lightning, a semi-professional football team.
You can find him on Twitter @RLindz35.
- Sports & Recreation
- Miguel Cabrera
- American League
- Home Run Derby
- Robinson Cano