MLB Dinger Derby Is A Young Man’s Event

MLB’s next generation of stars dominate the T-Mobile Home Run Derby field.

Mets Rookie Pete Alonso is one of the few things that have gone right for the squad during this disastrous season. The Mets are 40-50 entering the All-Star break and 13.5 games behind the Ronald Acuna-led Atlanta Braves in the NL East. 

On Sunday, Alonso belted his 30th home run of the season, breaking Darryl Strawberry’s record for homers by a Mets rookie and joining Mark McGwire and Aaron Judge as the only rookies to jack 30 nukes by the All-Star break. 

Alonso also just set a new National League rookie record with 68 first-half RBI.

So fittingly, Alonzo will be one of the eight young T-Mobile Home Run Derby participants, vying for a cash prize of $1 million. The Derby also gives fans a glimpse into the future of the MLB as the average age of the field (25.43) is the youngest in the 34-year history of this event (last year’s had previously been the youngest). 

The bracket-style Derby features Alonso, plus other up-and-coming stars of the sport. It’s always a fan favorite and the perfect prerequisite for the All-Star game on Tuesday night.

The participants: 

Matt Chapman: The Oakland A’s third baseman was a late replacement for 2018 AL MVP Christain Yelich. 

 

Vlad Guerrero Jr.: Vlad is my pick to win the Derby. Son of Hall of Famer Vlad Guerrero Sr., Junior has been a mash monster early in his MLB career and he is known for hitting moon shots. The ease with which he launches 450-homers and the excitement he brings to the event makes him one of the favorites.

Alex Bregman: The Houston Astros slugger is looking to avenge a past Homer Derby loss. Bregman has solid power, but he’s not your prototypical home run hitter, It would be a huge upset for him to win. 

Joc Pederson: The Dodgers have never had a Home Run Derby winner, despite ample participants. Pederson is no stranger to the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. That could change this year. He competed as a rookie in 2015, making it all the way to the finals before losing to the hometown Reds’ Toddfather Frazier on a misty Cincinnati night. 

Pederson and his first-round opponent Bregman are the only participants in this year’s Home Run Derby with prior experience in the event.

Carlos Santana: At 33-years old Sanatan is the oldest participant in what has become a young man’s event.  

Josh Bell: Bell is the only Black Knight participating in the home run derby.  Bell is looking to join Aaron Judge (2017), Giancarlo Stanton (2016) and Prince Fielder (2009, 2012) as African-American sluggers who have won the Derby in the past decade. 

Ronald Acuna Jr.: The 2018 NL Rookie of the Year continues to rise to star status and winning the Derby would bring him even more national shine.

If you aren’t up on this 20-year-old kid with the hitting talent of a young George Bell and Rickey Henderson swag then you’re in for a treat.  

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.