I don’t really care that much about the competition aspects of the Home Run Derby. I do, however, like to see mammoth blasts for their own sake, either in sheer distance or in quantity. After all, what’s the most memorable Home Run Derby thing ever? Josh Hamilton putting on the laser show at Yankee Stadium, right? Well, he didn’t even win the competition that year, so who cares?
Which means that fame of the player or even home run count at the break doesn’t mean much to me as far as that competition goes. Just give me big strong dudes, even if they’re merely Wily Mo Pena-style BP-only guys.
Giancarlo Stanton is certainly better than that — he’s sporting an .886 OPS right now — but given what he’s done in BP and on random home runs over the past couple of years, he should be in the Derby whether he’s an All-Star or not. Which makes this, from Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, welcome news:
Giancarlo Stanton landed a ball in the center-field, upper-deck seats at Marlins Park during batting practice Wednesday, leaving his disbelieving teammates shaking their heads. The Marlins’ 22-year-old slugger will be putting his power on display for an entire country to see on July 9 when he takes part in the Home Run Derby in Kansas City.
Stanton confirmed that he was chosen to participate.
“We’re in there,” he said as he trotted off the field following batting practice.
I predict many fountain shots at Kauffman Stadium.
There’s no doubt that the last three years have put David Wright through the ringer. The Mets third baseman missed the bulk of his 2015 season with spinal stenosis and made it through a month of games in 2016 before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck. In 2017, a bout of shoulder impingement, rotator cuff surgery and a laminotomy procedure on his lower back kept him off the field for all 162 games.
Despite the continual setbacks, Wright told MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, he doesn’t believe retirement is in the cards for him this year. “When the end comes, the end comes,” he said Friday. “Hopefully, I’ve got a little more left. But I guess that’s to be determined.”
The 35-year-old last appeared for High-A St. Lucie in 2017, powering through three games with one hit and five strikeouts in 10 plate appearances. His career has advanced in fits and starts since 2015, but you don’t have to do too much digging to find his last great performance with the Mets. Wright earned his seventh career All-Star berth in 2013, slashing .307/.390/.514 with 18 home runs and a terrific 6.0 fWAR in 492 PA. While he isn’t expected to mash at those levels in the near future, if ever again, the Mets believe the veteran third baseman might still have something left in the tank as he tries to extend a 13-year run in the majors.
Per DiComo, the only thing standing in his way is a clean bill of health — not just for the upcoming season, but for the years to come. Wright said he wouldn’t risk returning to the field if it came with long-term implications for his quality of life.
The surgeries are obviously serious stuff, but it just kind of plays with your mind mentally, where you don’t know how your body’s going to hold up,” Wright said. “You don’t know how you’re going to feel a month from now. You don’t know how you’re going to feel a couple weeks from now. You’re hoping that it continues to get better, but you just don’t know.
Given the uncertainty that surrounds his return to the game, it’s a prudent outlook to have.