When putting together a dream list of participants for the 2014 Home Run Derby, Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton would have to be at or near the top. He's the essence of what we want our Derby contestants to be. The event is made for his dynamic and powerful swing, and it sounds like we'll finally have the opportunity to watch that swing in Derby competition next month at Target Field.
That's what we like to hear.
It definitely helps soften the blow of Jose Abreu seemingly pulling out before he was asked to participate. If we end up getting official word that defending champion Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig are both in — joining AL and NL captains Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki — this is already one of the more exciting fields we've seen in recent years.
Really, that might be true just with Stanton participating in his first Derby. His five home runs of more than 450 feet this season are by far tops in MLB, and that's in game competition. He'll have to supply more of the power in Minneapolis, but that shouldn't be a problem.
Stanton also currently leads the NL in home runs with 21 and RBIs with 59.
It's also worth noting that there's a new format for the Derby this season. Each league will have five players, and there will be seven outs in each round. The player with the most home runs from each league will get a bye to the third round, while the next two players from each league will battle it out in the second round with the winner advancing to the third round. That ultimately leads to the finals.
The event won't be any shorter, but the matchup format should make for more drama in the middle rounds.
Stanton vs. Puig, for example, has some appeal.
Official announcements on the full rosters will be forthcoming. At this point, we're admittedly excited about the potential of the 2014 Home Run Derby.
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