A busy week for Major League Baseball kicked off Sunday with the Futures Game during the day and the first 36 picks of the 2021 MLB Draft in the evening. It’ll continue with Day Two of the draft today and the annual Home Run Derby this evening.
Tonight’s eight-player field consists of top seed Shohei Ohtani, followed (in order of MLB’s seeding) by Joey Gallo, Matt Olson, Salvador Perez, Pete Alonso, Trey Mancini, Trevor Story and Juan Soto. One half of the bracket will see Ohtani/Soto and Perez/Alonso in first-round matchups, while the other half will see Gallo/Story and Olson/Mancini. We’ll take a very brief look at each participating slugger’s season to date (sorted by their first-round matchup) before opening up polls on who fans are rooting for and who they expect to take home the trophy.
- Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, Angels: Ohtani has been the talk of baseball in 2021, leading MLB with 33 home runs while also pitching to a 3.49 ERA with a 30.7 percent strikeout rate on the mound.
- .279/.364/.698, 33 home runs
- 93.7 mph average exit velocity, 119 mph max exit velo, 26 percent barrel rate
- Juan Soto, OF, Nationals: Soto hasn’t matched his 2019 power output, but he’s the youngest entrant in the field and has been one of baseball’s elite hitters from the moment he homered in his first big league at-bat back in 2018.
- .283/.407/.445, 11 home runs
- 92.6 mph average exit velo, 115.3 mph max, 10.8 percent barrel rate
- Joey Gallo, OF, Rangers: After a slow start, Gallo looks well on his way to another 40-homer season. He’s hitting .308/.479/.838 with 15 home runs since June 4.
- .239/.402/.522, 24 home runs
- 92.4 mph average exit velo, 115.1 mph max, 19.6 percent barrel rate
- Trevor Story, SS, Rockies: Story will take the field hoping for an upset win that could serve as something of a Coors Field farewell with the trade deadline and free agency looming.
- .249/.323/.442, 11 home runs
- 90.7 mph average exit velo, 110.2 mph max, 9.2 percent barrel rate
- Salvador Perez, C, Royals: The seven-time All-Star gets better with age. He’s ripped 32 home runs in just 519 plate appearances dating back to the beginning of the 2020 campaign.
- .275/.300/.501, 21 home runs
- 93 mph average exit velo, 114.2 mph max, 14.3 percent barrel rate
- Pete Alonso, 1B, Mets: Alonso will defend his 2019 title — there was no 2020 Home Run Derby — in the midst of a hot streak. Eleven of the Polar Bear’s 17 big flies have come since Memorial Day weekend.
- .250/.328/.478, 17 home runs
- 92.7 mph average exit velo, 117.1 mph max, 15.7 percent barrel rate
- Matt Olson, 1B, Athletics: Since 2017, the underrated Olson leads all full-time first basemen with 126 home runs, and he’s on pace to top his career-high mark of 36.
- .282/.371/.567, 23 home runs
- 92 mph average exit velo, 115.3 mph max, 14.4 percent barrel rate
- Trey Mancini, 1B/OF, Orioles: That Mancini was able to return to the field at all after being diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in early 2020 is remarkable; a derby win would be a feel-good story for baseball fans everywhere.
- .256/.331/.460, 16 home runs
- 88.5 mph average exit velo, 113.9 mph max, 12.9 percent barrel rate
Who do you want to see win the 2021 Home Run Derby? (Link to poll for app users)
Who do you think will win the 2021 Home Run Derby? (Link to poll for app users)
Love both these poll options lol
If only they worked.
Olson ranks higher on WILL than WANT lol
You can call that the Mancini effect. He ranked much higher on want than will, so that slack had to be taken up somewhere.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
I didn’t see a button for “who cares”
Alonso will retain his title.
Will root for Trey (O’s fan) but also Sho. Have no legit idea who will win.
My heart is with Mancini, but my money’s on Gallo
I picked Ohtani to win it but I’d love to see Mancini win.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Olson hit 2 bombs yesterday, no one’s touching him.
I was tempted to pick Sho, but Alonso having won before makes him the favorite for me.
Want, Trey. Think, Matty O. Final answer
Stephen A Smith says Ohtani not speaking English as primary language is bad for baseball. Highly disagree. Ichiro hardly spoke any English on camera, and he was among one of the most exciting and entertaining players to watch in his prime. It doesn’t matter what language you speak if you have amazing abilities when people are paying to watch you – not listen to you.
Obviously Stephan A Smith has never heard himself talk….
Sho-ee for both; only reason to watch what’s basically a silly event….why not a Triples Derby…now THAT would be interesting….
A Triples Derby would be a bad idea since nobody hits triples anymore. MLB players are on pace to hit 635 triples this season. That would be the second-fewest in history. Even the abbreviated seasons of 1981 and 1994 had more (650 and 702 respectively) despite there being fewer teams. Not including 2020,.here are the seven seasons with fewer than 700 triples. Four of the seven involved 16 teams playing 154 games, approximately half the total number of games played today.
1968: 697 (20 teams, 162 games
1952: 677 (16 teams, 154 games)
1957: 672 (16 teams, 154 games)
1981: 659 (24 teams, 162 games)
1960: 658 (16 teams, 154 games)
1958: 655 (16 teams, 154 games)
1959: 591 (16 teams, 154 games)
MLB is also on pace for the fewest doubles of the 30-team era. The current pace is 7,391. The previous low is 8,137 in 2014.
How about an HBP Derby since HBPs are at a record high?
A triples derby has more due to fielding and luck than any skill. A home run is the only objective result a hitter can produce.
That’s true. I just get no kick from watching home runs off batting practice pitchers.
Did you happen to catch the one Pujols hit off Reddick on Saturday? A total gopher pitch, 60 MPH right down the middle.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Half true. Yadier Molina’s been a pretty good hitter, but only has 7 career triples because he is terribly slow. Speed and contact ability help a ton with hitting triples.
Stephen A Smith is a clown with a microphone that simply reads off of a script ESPN provides him. Watching Stephen A speak about sports, especially baseball, is pretty painful.
Joe Rogen destroyed the mans life as he tried analyzing UFC. Someone should do the same with baseball maybe he will stop once and for all.
Ohtani’s 26% barrel rate in comparison is crazy.
He doesn’t even take batting practice.
Will that hurt him? Idk lol but he’s fun to watch.
True. He is in for a massive regression, but it is fun to watch right now.
Can we include Joe Buck????
Smith doesn’t know the difference between the windup or the stretch
He also doesn’t know his arse from a hole in the ground
Stephen A Smith is an idiot and should stick to Basketball. He knows nothing about any sport that is not Basketball. Hell he still believes a Quarterback is a refund.
Many of the people who post on this baseball site don’t know anything about baseball. Smith is way better by comparison. He is not an idiot. Sorry if he’s not cookie-cutter enough for you.
So that means you are in agreement with him?
lol no one is hating on him because he isn’t cookie-cutter enough.
Stephen A smith a moron and a troll who cares what that jerk says
Steven A not speaking English ever, and instead screaming English always is bad for everyone. I can’t understand why anyone would ever want to watch that guy do anything.
@tedtheodorelogan, I’d like to watch him quit his job.
Great name, btw. Party on, dude!
Stephen A Smith has probably watched 2.5 baseball games in his entire life.
Stephen A. Smith speaking is bad for whatever sport hes talking about. I’ve read somewhere once that people with lower IQ levels will speak loudly as if to make themselves seem smarter,and I think that applies to smith
For the life of me I cannot comprehend why anyone gives a crap what Stephen A Smith thinks.
The fact that Stephen A Smith is even talking about Shohei Ohtani and baseball shows how valuable he is to the sport.
Nobody watches ESPN any more. NFL Network and MLB Network during each season and call it a day.
Smith, Stephen A. Even his initials are assbackwards.
dirkg: You got me thinking. After years where ESPN was a staple in my house, I NEVER watch it anymore; Monday Night Football MAYBE. But 10 years ago, I never spent one day without watching SportsCenter. Now I couldn’t even tell you when it’s on.
Pretty remarkable. And I don’t think it’s only because of the NFL network, MLB, etc.
If Curt Schilling had made the same comment as Smith, he’d be called a racist and banned from the airwaves.
Grievance logic. Schilling has a history of making dumb cluck remarks. Smith is already catching heat for his, and if he keeps it up, he deserves more of it.
Why does ESPN let NFL people talk about the NBA and NBA people talk about MLB?
ESPN is has and will always be, the thing “ruining” the game (any game, all games). Its a cancer and it needs to go away forever.
Well, A’s fan we agree on that.
He speaks the international language of baseball, fluently. As if anything else matters.
Right now Ohtani stands above the rest in MLB. Stephen a. Smith should leave the guy’s language status alone. What wraisist blather. There’s plenty of celebrities in this country who try to speak English in public, or anywhere for that matter, and fail. Smith should stay with NBA work where he can thrive.
Similarly, Matsui was one of the most popular Yankees on a team with Rivera, Jeter, Pettitte, etc., and he didn’t speak English. Tanaka, too.
That aside, I sort of understand what Smith was attempting to say, even if he did it poorly. Perhaps he needs some English lessons?! One way fans connect with players is hearing them speak and converse and express their views. They feel they get to know them on a different level. Most appreciate that they’re learning their language. I will say I’m very surprised by the number of Latin American players now arriving in the Majors who never attempt to speak English. That was rarely the case in past years, and indeed, the veteran Hispanic and Latin American players encouraged the new players to learn English as a way of connecting with teammates, the media and fans. The opposite is happening now. I suspect many of them do understand English but instead prefer to use the interpreter as a shield. That does make the player appear less transparent and might hurt endorsement deals in North America.
Stephen A. Smith should stick to what he knows — or as he would put it, “stay in his lane.” The guy knows flubb all about football and especially baseball. He’s a basketball guy and he probably doesn’t even do that well.
SAS might be on to something: If Ohtani speaks, maybe we get LESS of Stephen A
It’s beyond, with Ohtani, that he’s a remarkable player. He carries himself so incredibly well. Whatever the “it factor” is, the guy’s got it. As I said previously, I never watch the Home Run Derby; just has no interest for me. But I watched it last night, 90% because of Ohtani (the other 10% for Mancini; gotta love the guy).
And I don’t know Trey, but he just SEEMS to be a pretty good one.
Matt Olson is a real sleeper pick
Olson was someone who I thought could do really well in the derby, so I was glad when I saw he accepted. I think it’ll be a lefty that wins but not Soto
Matt Olson and Ohtani have the exact same swing
Soto. Mark my words!
I’m with ya, Juan’s got this.
Ohtani is fav at +250 w vegas. Soto is +800. Amazing odds for an elite talent ! If I only had a place to bet it….
So far, so good
I picked Shohei and Gallo. Interesting to see that many others did too. I’m a huge Alonso fan but Shohei is huge for this sport and Gallo, well he was built for HR contests.
Would love to see Mancini win for obvious reasons
Now THAT would be cool.
Of course, immediately after, the O’s will trade him to Minnesota for Rob Refsnyder.
Gallo is the ultimate sleeper imo.
Want Pete, thinking it’s Gallo tho…
I love the “want” versus “think” spreads. Biggest “fan favorite” – Trey Mancini (15% Want, 4% Think). Least favorite? Joey Gallow (14% Want 28% Think).
I was surprised not to see more “want” for Trevor Story (just for the hometown angle, as he presumably rides off into the (Chicago/New York/LA) sunset…
If he was having a good year, maybe, but he’s only in this because he’s the hometown guy, not because he has the numbers
If you don’t want Mancini and think Ohtani you haven’t been paying attention.
Ohtani is the most amazing player in MLB right now. Tatis and Guerrero are great but can’t hold a candle to the 2021 A.L. MVP/Cy Young/Silver Slugger Award winner
Love to see Mancini win, but I think Alonso repeats
Whoa. Ohtani’s barrel rate is miles ahead of these other guys.
Miles ahead of everyone. Tatis has the second-highest in baseball, and he’s way back at 21.7 percent.
That’s just silly. Makes me wonder how good he actually would be if he was only focused on hitting.
That’s why he’s got 33 bloody HRs already this season. Dude is mindblowingly good.. And I’m grateful he read a comic as a teen that made him want to come to Anaheim…
Gotta go with Shotime! He hasn’t shown any reason to not pick him. He seems to hit bombs in every other at bat. And they are not wall scrapers but way back and in parts of parks that most people are amazed by. Now in Colorado and knowing what pitch is coming AND Ipei behind the plate? Just grab a cold one and sit back and enjoy the Sho!
Anyone else think this is shaping up to be one of the most boring derby’s ever? Besides SHO I am not interested in watching one person participate. We used to have monsters in the derby people would love to watch… Now we have several guys with like 11hr give or take. It’s sad. They need to make it worth it to participate or something.
It’s not like the guy with most homeruns in the game since he came up is participating. Oh wait…
I hope Perez does well just to spite his poll numb.
Its a bad move to take part in the home run derby for the player.
It seems to hinder their swing for the next few weeks afterwards.
I’m glad Tatis isn’t taking part.
This has been debunked.
Google will find it if you’re open to being proven wrong.
Pete actually looked BETTER in the derby than he has during the season. Smooth, balanced, quick and level swings.
This event has lost its luster because the regular season is nothing but a home run derby, just like slo-pitch softball.
Who gives 2 craps about this not the all star game bunch of over paid *******
Why so many white dudes? Tell Manfred that BLM ain’t gonna be happy about this.
If you don’t “want” Trey to win, you have no soul….
Olson is gonna be my underdog in this thing…
He’s hardly an underdog. Go google search his hitting a ball through the roof of Tokyo stadium (granted, its a cloth roof and it looks like it hit through some seams)
Want to win: Trey
Think will win: Ohtani
I want to see Olson win, but I think it’ll definitely be Ohtani.
I must be the only one who doesn’t care about the home run Derby. I would like to see others skills like pitchers hitting five plates set up at home plate in a pre-selected area or fielders thorough ball through five holes in different places
This is the first HR derby I’ve ever actually cared about.. I want to watch Ohtani hit bombs.. if he hits one out of the park that’s gonna be monster.
As an Angel fan, my heart says Shohei, but my brain says Olsen. I’ve seen too many Olsen bombs to think otherwise.
I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these players won the derby.
Lol. They’re interviewing Castellanos and Tatis and they both say Ohtani will hit the longest bomb during the HR Derby. Tatis says Ohtani will hit one onto the roof…
Alonso over Gallo. Just got that +1525 on draft kings. Alonso repeats but Gallo hits longest bomb.
Who cares? This is one of THE most ridiculous “competitions” MLB has ever put its name to. I’ll go to a carnival when I need this kind of meaningless event.
And, this. It’s hard to work up any excitement for this glorified batting practice, especially when who is invited is so strange. Soto is in with 11 HRs and a line of .283/.407/.445/.851, but Muncy is out with 19 HRs and a line of .270/.414/.559/.972.
Soto’s a bigger name, just having a down year for power, but I understand the objection.
Just spitballing here: what if they took one top prospect from each league known for their power, and invite them to take part? This year, for example, we could’ve gotten a sneak peak at Adley Rutschmann from the AL and maybe Bart or Bleday from the NL.
I’m not expecting any part of the All Star game to be more than a beauty contest but you do need to ask why some names are automatically bigger than players putting up better numbers. Players will tell you it’s a time zone thing. A rookie/prospect exhibition would be more interesting to some fans but MLB would never go for it because it wouldn’t get the eyeballs.
Don’t they already have that with the AA and AAA all star games? Maybe they just need to invite the winners of each of those to participate against the mlb squad?
I’m just happy that neither Winker or Castellanos are participating…that has to be taxing as hell. Don’t like this hurry up format at all..
Ohtani out! Hahaha! Whatever will they talk about tomorrow!
Oh, I don’t know, maybe the All-Star Game, or how Vlad, Jr., could potentially win the Triple Crown and still lose the MVP to Ohtani, or the rash of injuries that took other deserving players, like Trout and Acuna, from this game, or…
They have plenty of topics, and this isn’t exactly a blemish on Ohtani’s season. If anything, it makes me wonder more, “Where has this version of Pete Alonso been hiding this year?”
Machado and Tatis look like those annoying kids that are always trying to be a part of the cool crowd, and don’t realize that nobody likes them.
What a great home run competition. Trey Mancini may not have won the final, but definitely won the hearts of many. Absolutely received the recognition he deserved especially having cancer last year. Total class act by ESPN and MLB and the eventual winner of Alonso with respect towards Mancini.
I picked Alonso after I saw the final results.
Ohtani’s already learned the skills he needs. He has a wider variety of baseball talents than anyone and is better than most at them. All things equal, yeah, hearing him in English would be cool, but it’s far from necessary and not speaking it well isn’t hurting his brand.
That said, it’s an interesting argument whether he should be the AS starting pitcher. He deserves to be an All-Star as both a hitter and pitcher and it’s what the fans want to see, so I understand those arguments. At the same time, he hasn’t pitched enough innings to qualify for the ERA title and, if he had, he’d be 12th in the AL. Other metrics have him as an excellent pitcher, but not top 5. So if it’s the best pitcher who should start, shouldn’t that be Gibson or Lynn?
Overall, it’s an event for the fans and doesn’t matter too much. It just seems odd to me that the best pitcher isn’t starting, even though he is the best overall player.
That battle between shohei and soto was epic
Pete looked better in the Derby than he has all season. Balance, timing, relaxed…I hope he breaks the trend of participants struggling in the second half after the contest. Mets need him badly. He was starting to heat up, but needs more production at home. Maybe his stress free attitude carries over a little.