2024 MLB Home Run Derby: The field is set! Who's the slugger to beat?


The 2024 MLB All-Star Home Run Derby is almost here — and the field is set!

Spots for the most anticipated baseball event of the summer are now full, and some of the biggest names in MLB will be duking it out at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on July 15 (8 p.m. ET on ESPN).

This year’s Derby will feature some significant changes, most notably that the first round won’t be a head-to-head bracket — the top four first-round scores will advance to the semifinal bracket — and that hitters will see a maximum of 40 pitches in each timed round, placing more of an emphasis on efficiency as opposed to speed.

We break down each player’s chances as the field is announced, starting with the first star to commit to this year’s competition.


bal

2024 home runs: 27 | Longest: 430 feet

Why he could win: Have you seen what Henderson is doing this season? The sophomore shortstop is already on the verge of surpassing his 2023 home run total (28) in just over half a season. The key to taking his power to a new level has been improving his home run-to-fly ball ratio from 19.3% last season to an MLB-leading 32.1% this season. Simply put, good things happen when Henderson hits the ball in the air — and he’ll get plenty of pitches to drive on Derby night.

Why he might not: Henderson’s Baseball Savant page is a sea of red this season (meaning he’s above average in most categories) and he’s at or near the top of every power leaderboard, but there is one number that could work against him in the Home Run Derby: the number 1. As in, this will be his first time participating in the event. We know Henderson’s power plays in games, but some players are built for the rigors of the Derby, and others are not, and it’s impossible to know which category even the best sluggers fit in until they are swinging under the bright lights.


phi

Home runs: 11 | Longest: 427 feet

Why he could win: The NL’s starting All-Star third baseman, Bohm is in the midst of a breakout season that has come with leaps in his fly ball (33.8% to 36.8%), pull (30.2% to 34.7%) and hard contact (31.5% to 37.8%) rates — all things that bode well for his chances in an event where getting into a rhythm of pulling the ball over the fence is a key to success.

Why he might not: That breakout hasn’t translated into a rise in home runs as he has just 11 long balls this season and his .192 ISO (a stat that measures a player’s entire power output) is tied for 42nd in the majors.


nym

2024 home runs: 18 | Longest: 446 feet

Why he could win: Alonso’s Home Run Derby history speaks for itself: He won the event in 2019 and 2021, joining Ken Griffey Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes as back-to-back Derby champions. Sure, he got knocked out in the first round of last summer’s event, but it’s hard to pick against Alonso in any Home Run Derby field.

Why he might not: Alonso is in the midst of something of a down season, with a sub.-800 OPS and only 18 home runs in 87 games after belting 40-plus each of the past two years. One of the biggest culprits has been a rise in ground ball rate, which is something he can’t afford to see carry into the Home Run Derby if he wants to add a third title to his résumé in Arlington.


kc

2024 home runs: 15 | Longest: 468

Why he could win: You might not think of Witt as a pure power hitter, but he actually has some history in All-Star week home run derbies: He won the high school version at Nationals Park in 2018, so maybe he can channel that formula again in Arlington. So far this season, Witt has been among the best in the sport at squaring up the baseball, ranking in the 94th percentile in barrel percentage and 91st in hard-hit percentage with an average exit velo of 92.7 mph.

Why he might not: Because this is the Home Run Derby and not a skills competition. If MLB held an event that combined everything a player can do on the field, Witt would be one of the favorites to win it (along with Cincinnati’s Elly De La Cruz). However, Witt’s 15 home runs rank just 29th in the majors, and he is going to have to muscle a lot of balls out of the ballpark to hang with the larger-framed sluggers he’ll be up against on Derby night.


atl

2024 home runs: 23 | Longest: 446 feet

Why he could win: Ozuna has been one of few offensive bright spots on a Braves team suffering a major power outage from last year’s historic performance. His 23 home runs are second in the National League — behind only Shohei Ohtani — and his barrel percentage and hard-hit percentage have been elite this season to go along with a career-best 93.1 mph average exit velocity at age 33.

Why he might not: Despite his big numbers, there is still a fair amount of swing and miss in his game — his swinging strike percentage is 15th-highest in MLB this year and his 31.9% whiff rate is in just the 10th percentile of hitters. Ozuna has the power to hang with anyone in the field, but he’s got to be locked in to get to it.


cle

2024 home runs: 23 | Longest: 436 feet

Why he could win: Known more for his contact ability than his power, Ramirez is hitting home runs at the highest full-season rate of his career — and without a strikeout rate in line with his career norms. If he can turn that into a steady stream of line-drive home runs pulled just inside the foul pole on Derby night, the Guardians star could surprise some bigger sluggers.

Why he might not: Ramirez stands at just 5-foot-9, 190 pounds, and his 71.4 mph average bad speed ranks in just the 44th percentile of major league hitters. Like Mookie Betts last summer, Ramirez could find that his power plays better in games than it holds up in the Home Run Derby.


2024 home runs: 17 | Longest: 428 feet

Why he could win: First and foremost, home-field advantage. Garcia is going to have the home crowd on his side Monday night, and as we learned throughout the 2023 MLB postseason, the Rangers slugger is more than capable of delivering on the big stage at Globe Life Field. Though his power output is down this season, he still hits the ball really hard — his max exit velocity of 116.1 mph is in the top 2% of MLB hitters this season — and has enough power to catch fire on Derby night.

Why he might not: Garcia is in the 20th percentile of MLB hitters in chase percentage and 7th percentile of hitters in whiff percentage this season, according to MLB Statcast. With this summer’s new Home Run Derby format rewarding efficiency, Garcia’s aggressive approach could spell trouble.


lad

2024 home runs: 19 | Longest: 431 feet

Why he could win: Hernandez has already hit the ball hard. This year, he has become a breakout star by combining that with an elite 14.9% barrel rate and reducing his strikeout rate. That formula that has led to success in his first year with the Dodgers also sounds like a potential winning recipe on Home Run Derby night.

Why he might not: A reduced strikeout rate by Hernandez’s standards is still one of the league’s highest: His 106 strikeouts this season are the ninth-most of any hitter, coming a season after he struck out 211 times, the third-highest total in the majors. That swing-and-miss concern makes him arguably the biggest boom-or-bust slugger in this year’s field.



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