To spice things up in this year’s Home Run Derby, Major League Baseball decided that instead of inviting a bunch of guys and hope that 4 big names for each league say yes, they would have David Ortiz and Prince Fielder be team captains and choose who they want on their side.
The idea, according to sources, was that someone wouldn’t say no to a fellow ballplayer. So Big Papi selected the hottest power hitter in the league for the last two year, Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, teammate Adrian Gonzalez and Robinson Cano of the rival Yankees.
Fielder’s picks were MVP candidate Matt Kemp of the Dodgers, Matt Holliday of the Cardinals and his own teammate Rickie Weeks.
Rickie Weeks? The same Rickie Weeks who never had more than 16 Homers before last season’s 29.
Now I can see why Fielder chose Weeks. Obviously, he is taking care of his boy and by no means is Weeks undeserving based on his totals the last season and a half. As a fan though, there are two candidates who should have been considered above Weeks and maybe even Holliday.
Holliday is a solid power hitter who will no doubt put on a good show, but nobody is going to be on the edge of their seat with each of his swings. Given that the game is being played at Chase Field, why wouldn’t you choose Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks? Sure, his power numbers are not overwhelming, but he is an exciting young player and he gives the home fans a horse in the race.
The other snub is the one that dumbfounds me. Other than the fact that maybe he called Prince Fielder fat, why is Mike Stanton not in the Home Run Derby? Sure, he is a strikeout machine at the early stage of his career, but he is arguably the most prolific young power hitter in the game. When it was announced that Fielder was picking the participants, more than one analyst was excited by the prospect of Stanton launching batting practice fastballs. His pregame batting practice displays are becoming appointment viewing, so why wouldn’t you want to showcase that? Check out below Stanton’s Walk off homer against the Phillies last week. Thankfully the section where the ball landed was empty or a fan may have gotten hurt.
The league tried to spice things up, but I think that without Stanton, the recipe is going to be a little bland.
With that said, my prediction for the winner of the Home Run Derby?