Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton turned in a legendary performance during the 2016 Home Run Derby in San Diego. This time, he’s looking for the same result in front of his hometown fans.
Stanton has officially agreed to take part in the 2017 Home Run Derby. He’ll attempt to defend his crown after hitting an incredible 61 home runs last year.
— #VoteMarlins (@Marlins) June 25, 2017
The news shouldn’t come as a major surprise. Stanton is the reigning champ, and the All-Star festivities are being held in Miami this year. As long as he was healthy, he was going to be asked to compete.
It also helps that he’s having a strong year at the plate. After struggling in 2016, Stanton has bounced back to hit .274/.357/.551 over 311 plate appearances. He’s hit 20 home runs, which is tied for second in the National League.
Stanton is the first player confirmed for the Home Run Derby this season. New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge has been asked to take part in the event, but has not made his decision just yet. Judge leads all of baseball with 26 home runs.
Aside from those two, it’s unclear which other players will be asked to participate. The home run leaderboard is filled with some unusual names this season. Cody Bellinger, Logan Morrison, George Springer, Joey Votto, Marcell Ozuna, Justin Smoak, Eric Thames, Scott Schebler, Ryan Zimmerman and Jay Bruce make up the next 10 hitters behind Judge.
Votto is the biggest of the those names, and has expressed interest in competing, but has not been asked yet. Springer and Thames could both draw a fair amount of interest from fans. Springer is one of the best players on the best team in baseball. Thames has a tremendous story. After spending a few years in Korea, he’s returned to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to the top of the National League Central.
Bellinger should draw plenty of attention too. The rookie already has 24 home runs and is leading the NL despite his late start. That’s how good he’s been.
After that, it’s anyone’s guess. If the league sticks to the home run leaderboard, there could be some new or unusual names trying to take down Stanton.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. You don’t have to be well-known to win the Derby, you only have to hit a ton of home runs. People didn’t know Adam Duvall last season, and he still put on a decent show.
At the same time, decent won’t be enough to take down Stanton. It’s probably going to take another massive human capable of hitting massive moonshots to even challenge Stanton. Judge might just be able to do it. All he needs to do is accept the offer.
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