After a year on hiatus thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball’s display of power returns to the center of the stage. Fans at the always entertaining Coors Field will get the pleasure of watching some of the game’s best sluggers launch baseballs high into the thin air of Denver, Colorado, in the 2021 Home Run Derby on July 12. As the days get closer and closer to this awesome sporting event, the anticipation as to who would be competing the day before the All-Star game has continued to grow. Now, we have all the names of the participants who will be taking their hacks in the derby after the last two names were announced today. Below you will find a list of those who will be competing for the new derby crown, along with their odds when they are released and a description of the player’s season.
Keep reading below to see the 2021 Home Run Derby Odds and find out who our best bet is to win this years Home Run Derby
Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani announced on Instagram he will participate in the derby back on June 18. He was the first player to confirm his spot in the event, and this will be his first appearance at it. The 26-year-old phenom was also selected to represent the American League in the following night’s All-Star Game as well.
Ohtani leads the majors with 31 home runs already this season, ahead of fellow stars Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (28) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (27). The young Angels star is slugging .692, which also leads all of baseball, with Vlad Jr. (.678) and Tatis (.688) right behind him as well. He has flashed some of the game’s best raw power, and that can be shown when he hit a 117-MPH slam off of Texas Rangers reliever Brett De Geus on May 25. He’s also 3rd in RBI, showing that he is a conductor of this offense and can drive in bunches of runs with a single swing.
His 1.054 OPS is 3rd in the majors, and there may be no-one who is more deserving of participating in this game. Watch out for the Angels star to be a serious contender when everything is said and done. It will be weird to see a pitcher in the Home Run Derby, but you guys wanted it, and here it is.
Pete Alonso is a known commodity now; unlike he was in 2019 when he mashed 53 homers to easily take home the crown of home run king. As the defending champion, Alonso will look to keep his title as king of the long ball, but he will have some serious competition in this year’s event that will be itching to do so. He and MLB announced on June 23 that he will be defending his title.
Alonso hasn’t come close to matching that incredible 2019 season, but rarely do players ever put-up numbers like those consistently. He has 15 home runs this season, which is tied for 40th, but he is still one of the best pure power hitters in baseball. He’s smashed a combined 31 baseballs out of the park for the New York Mets since the start of last years abbreviated season, so he is no slouch up at the dish, and always a threat to take you deep.
Shortly after Alonso announced that he will be defending his title, the hometown kid announced on Instagram June 28 that he will be competing in the 2021 Derby representing the Rockies. Trevor Story has had some elbow inflammation problems this season, which led to a short stint on the injured list from late May until early June, which could be a big reason as to why his power numbers are down this season.
Before going on the IL earlier this year, Story had just 5 homers through his first 249 plate appearances, but has since hit 6 of them since coming back. He’s batting .253 with 11 home runs, 41 RBI and a .775 OPS. He may be representing the Rockies in this game, but for how long will he be doing so? The team is very bad this year, and Story is a free-agent this off-season. This makes him a prime trade candidate before the deadline, and I would be surprised if he doesn’t get dealt at some point.
Kansas City Royals veteran catcher Salvador Perez announced his participation in the Home Run Derby on Twitter July 2. Perez will also start for the American League at catcher in the All-Star Game the day after. He has 20 knocks this year, including a 114 MPH moonshot off of Cleveland Indians southpaw Sam Hentges back on May 4. The 31-year-old rugged backstop is slugging .509 this season in 334 plate appearances, showing his incredible durability and power. He’ll be looking to show some of the young bucks that experience does matter, and that he can still hit it out of the park with the best of them.
Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson just recently announced on Twitter July 6 that he’ll take part in the 2021 Home Run Derby. The 27-year-old slugger also earned his first ever All-Star Game selection with his incredible first half, tied for ninth in the majors with 20 home runs and sits 18th with a .549 slugging percentage. Olson hit a 111.7 MPH blast off of Angels right-hander Dylan Bundy on May 23. Olson is batting .283 with 20 homers, 55 RBI and a .923 OPS. He’s been a huge part of the A’s success this year, and he’ll be looking to put himself on the map when he steps up to the plate July 12.
Audacy Sports Jon Heyman reported July 7 that Rangers power bat Joey Gallo would participate in this year’s Home Run Derby. Gallo hit two homers just today, which brings his total up to 23 for the season. In both 2017 and 2018, Gallo cranked over 40 home runs over the fence, though he recently admitted he has needed to get adjusted to new Globe Life Field. That was evident by his low .378 slugging percentage and 10 homers over 226 plate appearances in last year’s shortened season.
Gallo’s road numbers are still better than his home numbers, which is rare for a player of his caliber, but just goes to show you that he isn’t a fan of Globe Life. His splits aren’t so severe that it matters though, as he is a deep threat no matter where he plays. In the thin air of Coors field, he will be able to light up any scoreboard, and he’ll be looking to do just that.
With Juan Soto confirming today that he is the last competitor in this year’s MLB Home Run Derby, the stage has been set. Soto being announced as a participant is warranted given his extreme power over the last few years, but interesting given his lack of power this season. It’s been one of the biggest storylines this MLB season, as he has seemingly lost what has made him tick for much of his career. Soto has a disappointing .438 slugging percentage and only 10 homers in 2021, as opposed to his 69 home runs and .557 slugging percentage in his first three MLB seasons. That included a league-best .695 slugging percentage just last year in the COVID season.
Clearly he’ll be looking to return to form this season after the All-Star break to push his Washington Nationals past the Mets for first place in the NL East, and maybe participating in a Home Run Derby will be just what the doctor ordered to get Soto back in the groove.
With how things are going this year, I’d be shocked if Ohtani wasn’t the man to take home the crown. He’s clearly been the best power hitter of this group in the 2021 season, and he is a national phenom who everyone will be watching to win a home run competition as a pitcher. It would be an incredible storyline, and that is what this event is all about.
Speaking of which, watch out for Trey Mancini to be there in the end too. His story is too good for the MLB to pass up, and seeing him win the Derby after everything he has been through would be a monumental news event around the entire sporting world. It wouldn’t shock me in the least to see these two be the ones who will be battling it out for the title of home run king. Or maybe best storyline is a little more accurate.
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