10:38 PM: Commenter “Joe Tetreault” nailed it. Look for a guest post from him soon. (We’ll be emailing you). Thanks, everybody, for hanging out.
10:30 PM: David Ortiz hit 32 total home runs. A commenter named “Joe Tetreault” guessed that exactly. We’ll see if it holds up. Hanley has 21 homers at the end of the first two rounds.
8:17 PM, MONDAY: The Derby has started, so the contest is closed. You guys are great. Thanks for the participation. Go Holliday.
7:14 PM, SUNDAY: Some baseball purists like to rip the Home Run Derby for its corny qualities and its reputation of hurting batters in the second half, but it’s a fun and mostly harmless little spectacle that allows us to celebrate the game’s top sluggers.
High profile stars like Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano have bowed out of the contest this year, opting to rest instead, but it’s still a strong field and it should make for an exciting Monday night. Of course, it couldn’t hurt to make things a little more interesting, and that’s why we’re running a little contest here on HardballTalk. Here’s how it works:
Guess a winning batter out of the eight participants, then guess how many total home runs that winning batter will tally over the course of the contest, whether it goes three rounds or swing-offs are needed. For instance, if Pujols was taking part and I thought he was going to win, I’d write “Albert Pujols, 25 HR” in the comments section. One guess per person, no cheating allowed. Or else…
The commenter that guesses the winner and the nearest home run total will be allowed to write a post here on HBT on whatever subject he or she sees fit. In other words, you can do our job for us! For free!
The field, if you need a refresher, is as follows:
Corey Hart, OF, Brewers – A right-handed hitter, Hart has 21 home runs and a .569 slugging percentage in 306 at-bats this season in Milwaukee. He hit a career-high 24 homers in 2007 and is obviously well on his way to eclipsing that.
Matt Holliday, OF, Cardinals – Holliday launched his 16th home run of the season on Sunday, which is the highest total he has ever taken into the All-Star break. A righty, he registered a career-high 36 dingers in 2007 while playing half of his games in Coors Field.
Hanley Ramirez, SS, Marlins – He almost backed out of the Derby, worried that it might throw off his swing for the second half, but Hanley eventually agreed to provide his superstar presence in an otherwise mediocre field. The righty has 13 homers this year and hit a career-high 33 in 2008.
Chris Young, OF, Diamonbacks – The 26-year-old has made quite a few strides at the plate this season and enters the All-Star break with 15 dingers and 61 RBI in 320 at-bats for the disappointing D’Backs. Young, like the rest of the NL’s representatives, is a right-handed hitter.
David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox – Big Papi usually plays the role of cheerleader during the Home Run Derby, but decided to participate this year. He got off to another slow start in April and May, but has roared back strong and will enter Monday’s contest with 18 jacks. Ortiz is a lefty.
Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers – A candidate for first-half MVP in the American League, Cabrera has posted a .651 slugging percentage, 22 home runs and 77 RBI in his first 312 at-bats this season. He bats from the right side of the plate and may be the early favorite.
Vernon Wells, OF, Blue Jays – Wells often gets dogged for playing poor defense in center field, but he’s launched 19 home runs in 328 at-bats this year for the homer-happy Jays. The right-handed hitter collected a career-high 33 long-balls back in 2003.
Nick Swisher, OF, Yankees – The winner of this year’s “Final Vote” in the American League, Swisher has tallied 15 home runs in 314 at-bats this season for the Yanks. He can bat from both sides of the plate, but has flashed more power as a lefty this season in the southpaw-friendly new Yankee Stadium.
Angels Stadium typically plays fair with each foul pole checking in at 330 ft., but a more gradual angle in right field could favor left-handers slightly. All in all, it should be a pretty even fight.
Now it’s your turn. Tell us who you think will win Monday’s Home Run Derby in Anaheim, California and you can take over this very blog for, like, an hour or something.