MLB released the format for this year’s Home Run Derby today. It’s, uh, different.
The format move to an eight-player bracket and timed rounds instead of the traditional system of outs guarantees that we’ll see plenty of swinging away and fewer bouts of players taking pitch after pitch or having short, unsatisfying trips to the plate. This is good! In theory! We’ll see how it plays out in real time, as players are up against the clock and the main sticking point is getting enough pitches right in the cradle—something not at all up to the hitter. Then again, it privileges hitters who can crack a home run from anywhere, so that isn’t so bad.
Batters can also earn bonus time for hitting particularly long home runs, which will hopefully lead to a giant man crushing the ball so hard in the first round that he gasses himself in the added time and flames out in the next round—guys hitting too many home runs in round 1 and then getting bounced is one of the great parts of any home run derby, and structuring the contest to encourage it is a good thing.
Just two things now. One, make sure Puig is in the derby, even though he missed a bunch of games. Two, bonus time for cool bat flips.
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