We are—dare I say—excited about next Monday’s Home Run Derby in Cincinnati. A radical new format promises more action in less time, and the eight participants, announced last night, don’t have a stinker among them.
Yes, it’d be nice to have Giancarlo Stanton (injured), Bryce Harper (skipping because his father, who pitches to him, is recovering from rotator cuff surgery), or Mike Trout (“I’m eventually going to do it”). But the field has a little bit of everything: there’s resurgent superstar Albert Pujols; hometown hero Todd Frazier; standby sluggers Josh Donaldson and Prince Fielder; emerging power threat Manny Machado; and three young mashers in Joc Pederson, Anthony Rizzo, and Kris Bryant. And they’ll be paired off in a brand-new bracket format, seeded by number of home runs on the year.
Gone will be the days of players waiting forever for the perfect pitch; now, the limitations on rounds will be time instead of swings. Each player gets five minutes to hit as many home runs as possible, with a running clock (which can be temporarily stopped in the final minute by homering).
Bonus time will also be added on according to the home runs’ distances. Here are the full rules:
We’ll have to see how this promising format plays out in reality. But the fact that we want to see it play out makes this the most anticipated Home Run Derby in years.