Well here we are already. It’s time for the mid-summer classic – the 2016 MLB All-Star Game, which will take place on Tuesday evening at Petco Park in America’s finest city: San Diego, Calif.
And before the game itself is played, we get to enjoy yet another spectacle as part of the festivities on Monday night, the annual Home-Run Derby, which should be full of excitement once again as it boasts a star-studded lineup of young talent in its second year under the timed format.
So before we say “play ball” for either of the two events, let’s take a look at what to expect this week as the baseball world shifts focus to Southern California, shall we?
The 2016 T-Mobile Home Run Derby – Monday, July 11 – 5 p.m. PDT (ESPN)
Yet again the Home Run Derby has a new sponsor, but what really matters is that we have a lot of new contestants alongside some of the greats from past home run derbies. Under the format that was introduced last season, the derby now pairs up players in a seeded bracket rather than by taking the players in the top half of the homer count to the next round. So let’s met the contestants for Monday night.
1. Mark Trumbo (BAL) – 28 HR (leads MLB)
2. Todd Frazier (CWS) – 25 HR (won in 2015)
3. Adam Duvall (CIN) – 23 HR (1st appearance)
4. Robinson Cano (SEA) – 20 HR (won in 2011)
5. Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) – 19 HR
6. Will Myers (SD) – 19 HR (1st appearance)
7. Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – 18 HR
8. Corey Seager (LAD) – 17 HR (1st appearance)
First things first, you should now that Petco Park is one of the most spacious stadiums in all of baseball, and that’s even after they brought in the walls prior to the start of the 2013 season. Also consider that San Diego is anything but a hot and humid Cincinnati that we experienced last year, so expect the total home run count to be down considerably from last year, or at least the average distances of home runs.
It’s also important to remember that while each player has 5 minutes to hit in each round they play in, 30 additional seconds are added to the clock if a player hits a home runs of at least 475 feet while an entire minute is added if the player hits two homers of at least 420 feet (that additional time can only be added once per round). That said, raw power could be the determining factor in this derby. I’d love to see another hometown hero story in the form of Will Myers like we did with Todd Frazier last year, but I wouldn’t put my money on it.
The 87th MLB All-Star Game – Tuesday, July 12 – 4:30 p.m. PDT (FOX)
The first thing you need to know is that the American League will be the home team, even though the game is being played at the home of a National League team. Secondly there will be A LOT of Cubs and Red Sox players in this game. Lets take a look at the line ups to give you a better idea.
AL – 1B: Eric Hosmer (KC) 2B: Jose Altuve (HOU) SS: Xander Bogaerts (BOS) 3B: Manny Machado (BAL) C: Salvador Perez (KC) OF: Mike Trout (LAA), Mookie Betts (BOS), Jackie Bradley Jr. BOS) DH: David Ortiz (BOS) SP: TBD (as of Sunday night)
NL – 1B: Anth0ny Rizzo (CHI) 2B: Ben Zobrist (CHI) SS: Addison Russell (CHI) 3B: Kris Bryant (CHI) C: Buster Posey (SF) OF: Starling (Marte), Jay Bruce (CIN), Bryce Harper (WSH) SP: TBD (as of Sunday night)
As you can see, there four starters from the Red Sox. The same goes for the Cubs, who comprise the entire infield. That number could rise to five if Jake Arrieta is chosen to be the starting pitcher, though it may be unlikely as he has had an awful past week. Previously, Dexter Fowler was also slated to start in the outfield before injuring his hamstring on Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh. He joins Yoenis Cespedes in the club of starting outfielders who were scratched.
As far as the game goes, while the NL may technically be the away team, they will certainly have an edge in the sense that the players are far more familiar with Petco Park than those of the American League, especially players from teams in the NL West such as Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Corey Seager, just to name a few. The downfall believe it or not for NL could be the vast amount of starters from Chicago. Despite all the hype surrounding the franchise and their incredible start to 2016, Chicago is coming off a 2-5 week and are a dismal 2-8 in their last ten games. Of course players don’t last more than a few innings in the game, but it’s not exactly an opportune time for the Cubbies to go so cold.
For the American League, the same could almost be said regarding the Red Sox, who have also hit a bit of a rough patch in recent weeks. Nonetheless, the squad has two defending world champions on their team in the form of Perez and Hosmer, one of the most talented players in all of baseball in the form of Mike Trout, and two individuals on an absolute tear at the moment in the Altuve and Machado. I’d certainly call the American League the “hotter” team as it stands – simply because there is so much more diversity. Of course, it’s not the MLB that decided the lineups; it’s the
fans cities of Chicago and Boston that did (right?).
Home Run Derby winner: Giancarlo Stanton
All Star Game winner: American League
MVP: Manny Machado