We’re back! And what better way to break back on to the scene than with a joyous barrage of 500-foot home runs? In case you missed our first Home Run Derby Draft last year, check out the teams here. We see a couple familiar names in there, including A.L. captain Robinson Cano. But how will the results turn out in 2013?
Just like last season, this is all based on points. Whoever hits the most home runs accumulates the most points for his team, and determines the winner of this Mapes vs. Jeremy challenge. The draftees are Cano, Yoenis Cespedes, Prince Fielder, and Chris Davis on the A.L. side. The senior circuit rolls with captain David Wright, Michael Cuddyer, Bryce Harper, and Pedro Alvarez (who recently replaced Carlos Gonzalez).
The scoring system is simple. For each home run by a player on our team, we get points. In the first round, it’s one point per home run. In the second round it’s two points, and the third round is three. The bonus for drafting the winning slugger is five points, and could make or break this battle.
So check out our draft, and vote in the polls below. Who is going to win the 2013 Home Run Derby, and which of our teams will be crowned 3U3D champions?
Commissioner Bud Selig announced today that the MLB All-Star Game would return to Cincinnati for the first time since 1988 when the Reds played at Riverfront Stadium. It will be the first All-Star Game played at Great American Ballpark, which will join Riverfront Stadium and Crosley Field as Queen City ballparks that have hosted the mid-season classic. With Great American Ballpark hosting the 2015 game, it will leave just Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PETCO Park in San Diego, Nationals Park in Washington D.C., Marlins Park in Miami, Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, and New Yankee Stadium in The Bronx as the only current stadiums not to have hosted the All-Star Game. The Reds franchise will join the Minnesota Twins (who are hosting the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field) to host the festivities in THREE different ballparks.
Here’s the glorious part about Great American Ballpark having the All-Star Game in its confines. It also gets to host the Home Run Derby! If there ever was a stadium that is perfectly set up for a derby, it’s the stadium that is lovingly called “the Great American Small-Park.” I’m already getting excited to see the games best mashers blasting homers. We could be there all night! Even better, is the Ohio River beyond the right field wall gives lefties a great target to go for. I mean if Juan Francisco could do it in an actual game in 2011, I think the game’s best could do it in a home run derby. I almost want to fast-forward to 2015 now to see it play out. I haven’t been this excited for a home run derby since Ken Griffey Jr. took aim at the warehouse beyond Camden Yards.
I couldn’t resist thinking ahead to 2015 and who could actually be participating in the 2015 Home Run Derby. I’m going to use the 2012 format to project who will be launching mammos in Cincinnati.
Captain Bryce Harper: The obvious player for this. He’ll be 22 and a possible superstar by 2015 if everything goes according to plan. Even better that he hits left-handed so the Ohio River will be in play. If this video from when Harper is any indication of his derby abilities, there will more splashdowns than a water park.
Joey Votto or Jay Bruce: Have to get one of the hometown guys into the competition. I don’t want a Billy Butler situation here. Both are lefties which plays into my Ohio River hopes. I think that Bruce is the more likely of the two to participate as he’ll be in his prime at 28 years old. He also could be a legit 40-homer player by then.
Giancarlo Stanton: This one I’m not sure on. He could be in the American League for all I know. We all missed out on Stanton participating in the 2012 Home Run Derby in Kansas City, but I think he’ll return for the derby in 2013 at Citi Field. That gives him a year to sit out in 2014 (sorry Twins fans) and come back to defend a potential title the way that Prince Fielder did this past year. I can’t have eight left-handed batters though sadly. This also gives me an excuse to show this video again. HE BROKE A SCOREBOARD.
Jason Heyward: Alright a bit of a homer pick. Pun intended. Heyward showed that he has the potential to be a 35-homer player in 2012 when he blasted 27 yicketties. If the power continues to develop, he’ll be 25 for the 2015 All-Star Game and quite possibly could be the best right fielder in the game at that point. Also helps that, you guessed it, he’s left-handed!
Other potential derby participants: Ike Davis, Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton and Anthony Rizzo
Captain Prince Fielder: I went back and forth on who potentially would be the captain for the American League. I settled on Fielder, who I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes a couple years off after winning the derby in 2012. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s a two-time champion, and he’s left handed. He’s going to want to eventually match Ken Griffey Jr. with three derby titles and I think he might wait til Cincinnati to do it. Plus, he has experience hitting it in the water.
Adam Dunn: Hear me out on this one! A) He’s left handed B) He’s never participated in a Home Run Derby C) It’d be nice for him to have his first one in Cincinnati where he used to play. He’ll still only be 35 at that point. If he was ever going to give it a go, I think the lure of doing it in the Queen City would be enough for him. Especially with the Ohio River calling his name.
Yoenis Céspedes: If Céspedes was left-handed he’d be a dream for this future derby. However, he will still be a great option. He’ll be in the heart of his prime at 29 years old. If he stays healthy, he’ll be a potential All-Star for Oakland. We all know he has some major power too. Especially after seeing this.
Wil Myers: The game isn’t until 2015! I have to have one player that hasn’t even played in the Majors yet to speculate on, right? I’m going to go with Tampa Bay’s future star in Wil Myers. Myers has the best power potential of any prospect right now. I’m deeply saddened though that I’ve now put three righties on the American League side. Maybe Robinson Cano won’t be broken up and come back to try the derby again?
Other potential derby participants: Mark Trumbo, Robinson Cano, Dayan Viciedo, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer
Who would you want to see take aim at the Ohio River in the 2015 Home Run Derby? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
I’m many things – among them, a journalist and a die-hard baseball fan. The journalist in me is a sucker for cool stories both read and told. The baseball fan in me is a sucker for…cool baseball related activities. Therefore, when the two are combined I’m just short of the giddiness level of a sorority girl seeing Magic Mike at midnight.
From rookies like Mike Trout making emphatic debuts, to veterans making inspiring comebacks, to underdogs atop the standings, the first half of 2012 has been chock full of epic story lines.
Here are my ten favorites, narrowed down from a seemingly infinite list:
10. Carlos Beltran Replaces Albert Pujols
Remember when Pujols signed with the Angels and everyone outside of St. Louis feared the baseball apocalypse was hitting the defending champs? Remember how weird it was to see Pujols in a different red jersey? Remember how bitterly satisfying it was to see him struggle terribly at the start of the season while Beltran put up huge numbers in his place for the Cardinals? I’m really looking forward to seeing if Beltran will finally get some love from the naysayers who told us he was over the hill last season. And to see if the suddenly red-hot Pujols will reach the 30-homer, .300 average, 100 RBI plateaus again, let alone outperform his replacement in St. Louis.
9. Former Dodgers Dominating
This is a personal one; part of me hates seeing Jonathan Broxton (Kansas City closer) and James McDonald (Pittsburgh ace) thriving in new cities. But like a proud father, I also beam when I see McDonald put up another quality start, or Broxton lock down another save. Both guys were necessary departures from L.A., but I enjoyed watching them play while they were here, even more now that they are gone. I’m rooting for these All-Star snubs to keep kickin’ butt and takin’ names this season.
8. Giancarlo Stanton Dents a Scoreboard
How rude. The Marlins spent all this money to build a beautiful, neon, psychedelic new stadium, and Stanton just up and smashes a hole in it. This is why he can’t have nice things. But really, is there any more exciting young player right now in the National League than Mapes’ boyfriend, Giancarlo? The dude has Vlad Guerrero bat speed, strength and reach, with more control. His manager Ozzie Guillen claims Stanton will kill someone with a baseball some day. And as grotesque as that is, I won’t be surprised when it happens. It’s a damn shame this kid isn’t in the Home Run Derby anymore.
7. Billy Hamilton has 100 Stolen Bases…Already
It’s okay if you read that and didn’t recognize the name. Well, it’s sort of okay. Because by now, you should know about the phenomenal base runner that is playing in the Reds’ minor league system. He has 104 steals through 82 games. And in his minor league career at all levels (329 games…in perspective: 2 full seasons and 2 playoff series), Hamilton has stolen 269 bases. He’s got super speed, obviously, but is also a very strong technical slider. Hamilton may be raw in other aspects of his game, but I can’t wait to see him get a shot at stealing a base in the big leagues!
6. Hamilton Hits Hordes of Homers
Different Hamilton this time. The one we all know and love. Forget the minor ailments and slumps that have caused his production to drop to only god-like levels, rather than titanic. Josh Hamilton continues to be the most intriguing overall story in baseball. He hit four homers in one game against the Orioles and had 18 through 36 games in 2012, prompting even the most skeptical fans to start mumbling about the possibility of 62. It would likely take a second epic homer binge to even approach Roger Maris, but I’m not putting it past this kid. By the way, no matter how cheesy the movie about him will be, I’m going at midnight.
5. Rookies Rocking
This has to be one of the most talented, ridiculous rookie classes to ever make their debuts in the same season. And I love it. We’re talking about a legitimate MVP candidate in Mike Trout. The spark plug for a first-place Nationals team in Bryce Harper. The intimidating physical specimen that is Brett Lawrie. Ruben Tejada. Yu Darvish. Way-too-early NL Cy Young favorite Lance Lynn. Andrelton Simmons. Arizona’s only All-Star, Wade Miley. Most of the A’s roster. And many, many more. I can’t remember a crop of talent this widespread among rookies in a long time. Baseball fans should really be excited about the future of the sport.
4. Speaking of Rookies…Look Who’s Winning!
A theme among this story line is rookie production. I’m a big fan of the underdog story, no matter how cliché. So when I see the long-time doormat Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles either leading the division or the Wild Card at the midway point…I’m a happy camper. Even teams like the Oakland A’s (I picked them to lose 100 games this season – currently sitting at .500), and the New York Mets (picked them to finish last by a mile – currently four games back of first in the NL East) can thank rookies for where they stand now. I’m really excited to see if the aforementioned teams can keep up the momentum and make a run at the playoffs, or if they’ll fade down the stretch.
3. The Man, The Myth, The Legendary Knuckleball
How can you not love R.A. Dickey? I’m one of the millions of fans whose team has been victimized by Dickey’s unhittable knuckleball, a pitch he’s re-revolutionized in an era when its been mostly forgotten. Nobody has ever thrown it this hard, this often and this effectively. But Dickey’s back-to-back 1-hitters were absolutely incredible, and if his second half is even remotely like the first, we may be looking at a 37-year-old, knuckleballing, first time All-Star win the NL Cy Young award. And that would be freakin’ AWESOME.
2. Another One Bites the Dust
Oh, Chipper where art thou? After Mariano Rivera basically announced 2012 would be his last season (later retracted after tearing his ACL shagging fly balls), I didn’t think my heart could take any more. Then BOOM. Chipper Jones. One of my childhood heroes growing up in the 90’s (along with Ken Griffey, Jr. and Derek Jeter) told the baseball world that this would be his final season in baseball. Not much later came Ivan Rodriguez. Then Omar Vizquel. And I’m suddenly no longer a child, apparently. My childhood baseball heroes are dropping like flies. But I’ve loved watching Chipper play this year and will never forget the effect he had on a generation of young baseballers everywhere. What do you think? First ballot?
I don’t think even Chipper & Co. can top the unbelievable year of pitching we’ve witnessed thus far. Phil Humber, then Jered Weaver, then Johan Santana, then half of the Mariners’ bullpen, then Matt Cain. And a whole slew of near-no hitters or perfections interspersed among those. Cain’s perfecto was one of the most dominating performances I’ve ever seen, and we’re on pace for double digit no-no’s in one season? Doubtful, but in a year full of surprises…why not? Oh, and lest we forget about Aaron Hill and his apparently-not-All-Star-worthy two cycles in 11 days. Between all these moments and other career milestones like David Ortiz’s 400th homer, it’s been a historic season. And there’s still another whole half to play.
So, what is your favorite story line of the first half? What else are you excited to see in the second half? Comment below and vote in the poll! Follow Three Up, Three Down on Twitter @3u3d and LIKE us on Facebook at facebook.com/3u3dpodcast.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
Alright. This is it, people. My long-awaited redemption in the Mapes vs. Jeremy challenge. I may have lost the jersey draft war. I may have lost the bobble war. But today, we take the voting out of YOUR hands. Just as the All-Star Game should.
Anyway, we will draft four players each out of the eight home run hitters who elected to participate in the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby. For the uninformed, that means choosing from Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista, Prince Fielder and Mark Trumbo (A.L.), as well as Matt Kemp, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Beltran and
Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen (N.L.).
This is how the point system works – we are relying solely on moon shots generated from these swaggering men’s powerful swings. In the 1st round, one point will be awarded per home run. In the 2nd round, two points…3rd round, three points. Plus, a saucy little five-point bonus for drafting the winner.
For the sake of Babe Ruth, let’s get this thing started:
1st Pick: Prince Fielder, Tigers (Team Jeremy)
It’s hard to go against my boy Matt Kemp, and even harder to not piss off Mapes and take his boyfriend, Stanton. But my theory with the Home Run Derby is that the big boys will go absolutely crazy in the 1st round. And there isn’t much more power packed into any body in baseball than that of the Tigers’ Prince Fielder. I’m going to enjoy watching him launch balls out of Kaufman Stadium all night, and happily mark down my points to go with it. Prince has already won a Derby, so he knows what it takes. Besides, is there any cooler home run swing in the game?
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (Team Mapes)
What is up all of these “may haves” in the intro? You DID lose the jersey draft war. You DID lose the bobble battle. You WILL lose the Home Run Derby slugfest. You alluded to it in your choice of Fielder, so I will not disappoint the 3U3D fan base. You weren’t on the podcast this week, so you didn’t hear that I was picking my “boyfriend” Stanton to win. I’ve seen him hit batting practice and it’s a thing of beauty. He’s young and chomping at the bit to make a name for himself on the national stage. The outfield Kauffman waterfalls are no big deal to Stanton. He’s used to water being sprayed when he homers because he sets off the home run sculpture in Miami all the time. He has the best raw power of any participant, plus who else this season has broken a scoreboard on a grand slam? No one. I get all excited just watching this. (Editor’s Note: Stanton may be unable to participate with a sore knee, if he doesn’t then Mapes will get his replacement.)
Well looks like I’m going to end up with Pirates Andrew McCutchen instead. He did have two home runs today, so looks like he is ready to go. He also could be the N.L. MVP right now. Was kind of hoping this would end up being Bryce Harper though.
3rd Pick: Robinson Cano, Yankees (Team Mapes)
You took Fielder who won the Home Run Derby in 2009, so I’ll grab the other player that has a Derby championship trophy on his mantle. Cano’s swing is just absolutely beautiful and works in any ballpark. Plus, you have to love the story of his father, Jose, pitching to him. Worked once, don’t see why it can’t work again. Cano is a captain for a reason. He’s been on an absolute tear as of late with nine home runs since June 17th. Did I mention Cano crushed your 1st pick Prince Fielder 20-9 in two rounds last year? Take a look. Be careful, this video is long because he hit so many bombs last year.
4th Pick: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (Team Jeremy)
The raw power in this draft is unbelievable. I had a heck of a time trying to choose someone in this spot, considering all parties involved are mashers of epic proportions. In the end, I went with Joey Bats, also known as the Major League Baseball home run leader. Again. He’s on pace to approach 55 dingers and already had nearly 100 round trippers in 2010-2011 combined. Bautista said on MLB Network recently that he doesn’t try to hit home runs, he just tries to hit it hard somewhere. Well, when opposing pitchers make a mistake, that hard-hit ball usually lands in the upper deck. Imagine how many times that will happen in an event where the pitcher is purposely making a mistake on every single throw. Boomtown!
5th Pick: Mark Trumbo, Angels (Team Mapes)
Bautista doesn’t try to hit home runs? That’s not good in a competition where you’re trying to hit home runs. Which was probably why Joey Bats was eliminated in the 1st round last year with a paltry four homers. I’m going to the the master of the Trumbomb. Our friend Ricardo Marquez campaigned for him hard from the MLB Fan Cave and will be on the field shagging fly balls. I hope ESPN catches every reaction he makes when Trumbo puts one out. Trumbo has an effortless, uppercut swing that will play well in the Derby. I think I’ve picked the two strongest players in the competiton, they won’t wear down easily. Based on our picks, looks like we think Team Cano is going to win the overall title.
6th Pick: Carlos Beltran, Cardinals (Team Jeremy)
It was a toss-up here for me between the two Carloses (Carli?). Both have sweet swings, but I’ll take the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols replacement. If the powers that be allow him to, Beltran could maybe take hacks from both sides of the plate, as he’s got a solid power stroke from either side. Don’t let the fact that he’s a little smaller than some of these other guys fool you. I’ve seen him put one out into Big Mac Land at Busch Stadium from the right side and into the upper deck from the left side. Did I mention Beltran started his career in Kansas City, so he’ll be playing in front of an assumedly friendly crowd? He could very well be the fan favorite coming into this, and I’m thrilled to have him on team Jeremy.
7th Pick: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies (Team Mapes)
You fell right in to my trap. I didn’t want to root for Beltran, plus I thought you’d might be a sucker for your boy Matt Kemp. I’m a little worried that his power might dip a little bit from Coors Field to Kauffman Stadium, but I still think it’s a better risk than the player who has had five at-bats since May 13th. Kemp when healthy last season only had two home runs in the Derby, good enough for last place. Give me the Derby devil I don’t know over the Derby devil I do. Consider letting you have your favorite player a gift for beating you in our first two match-ups.
8th Pick: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers (Team Jeremy)
And what a sweet trap it is! You realize you just let me take THE one and only Beast Mode with the very last pick in this draft? Yes, Kemp has only hit 12 homers this year, but remember he’s had about 15 at bats. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. But Kemp has been out for a solid chunk of the first half, and all he wants to do is be good at baseball-related activities again. I don’t think he’ll win it, but he’ll definitely put up more than TWO bombs this year. The 2012 version of Matt Kemp is even better, when healthy, than last year’s 39-homer, version. This might be the greatest Mr. Irrelevant choice in drafting history if he goes deep into the contest.
I’ll tell you right now Jeremy. CarGo will have more home runs than Matt Kemp. Irrelevant sounds about right for that pick.
Who do you think will win the Home Run Derby battle? Who wins the entire Home Run Derby? Let us know!
-Jeremy Dorn (@JamblinMan) & Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
This week’s podcast hits on the week of baseball that wouldn’t be complete without a few Tommy John surgeries. We also talk about our current National League All Star roster would be and complain about who’s still getting votes that shouldn’t. The guys even come up with a nice All Star Skills Challenge that would be incredibly fun to watch. Take a listen and see if you agree!
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Three Up, Three Down is back with your weekly baseball news, advice, and match-ups to watch. They hit the DL topic again, find out how many players have had Tommy John Surgery this season, and dabble in a little extra of everything. Take a listen, and bask in all that is baseball talk!
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the podcast!
or use this link to download on iTunes
Texas Rangers superstar Josh Hamilton has been on a tear this entire season leading the American League in all of the Triple Crown categories. Hamilton’s early season dominance culminated with FOUR home runs against the Baltimore Orioles. Hamilton added a double to set the American League record for total bases in a game. None of these home runs were cheap either, just take a look.
Three to center field and another to the opposite field totaling over 1600 feet in home run distance. However is this more impressive than his 1st round Home Run Derby antics where he dropped 28 bombs in Yankee Stadium?
Sixteen players have had four home run games, but NONE have had 28 home runs in a round of home run derby. The second-most is 24 set by Bobby Abreu. Even more ridiculous is that Hamilton didn’t even win the derby that year, Justin Morneau did. That kind of prodigious power may never be seen again, which begs the question. What do you think is the more impressive Josh Hamilton feat four homers in a actual game or 28 homers in a round of Home Run Derby?
Let us know!