Squad captain Matt Kemp announced Sunday that he’s chosen the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez, the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton and the Cardinals’ Carlos Beltran to participate alongside himself in the Home Run Derby.
Kemp plans to take part in the contest, even though he’s still expected to be on the disabled list as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury. His status for the All-Star Game the following night is still to be determined.
Kemp appears to have bypassed NL home run leader Ryan Braun in choosing his squad. With 22 homers, Braun is two ahead of Beltran, three ahead of Stanton and five ahead of Gonzalez and Jay Bruce on the NL leaderboard. It’s possible Braun opted out of the contest, but there’s been nothing so far to indicate that he did.
The AL squad, which will be picked by Robinson Cano, has yet to be announced.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.