MLB’s Home Run Derby didn’t take place in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’ll make a return to Coors Field in Denver, Colorado this season. The event will begin on Monday, July 12th, and the participants are still being decided. Here are a few names you should get acquainted with ahead of the action. We’ll update this list with players who have formally confirmed participation and those who have formally declined.
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels (Report)
Ohtani is set to become the first starting pitcher and Japanese player to be part of the derby. The 26-year-old Los Angeles Angels star is one of MLB’s best power hitters. He’s gone yard 25 times this year. Only the Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has hit more bombs, so Ohtani is likely to be a real contender.
Pete Alonso, New York Mets (Report)
Alonso is the reigning champ but hasn’t made much noise this year. The Mets first baseman blasted 53 home runs in 2019 but has only managed to tally 11 through 222 at-bats in 2021. Alonso doesn’t get much room to shine on a Mets team that ranks last in runs scored and depends on spectacular pitching to get wins, but he could step back into the spotlight at the derby.
Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles (Report)
Mancini is a fifth-year veteran but is one of the lesser-known competitors. The 29-year-old outfielder is back in MLB after a one-season caused by colon cancer but has made a full recovery. Mancini leads Baltimore with 14 home runs this year.
Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies (Report)
Story is struggling a bit this season with only nine home runs on a slash line of .275/.341/.526, but his history indicates he could put on a show in his home park. Story is the fastest shortstop to 100 career home runs thanks to back-to-back seasons of at least 35 homers in 2018 and 2019.
Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
The Royals All-Star catcher will start in the 2021 MLB All-Star Game on July 13. He’ll also participate in the HR derby. Perez has 19 HRs this season, tied for 12th in MLB, with a .814 OPS. This is the first time Perez is competing in the derby and his just the 8th catcher all-time to participate.
Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics
The Athletics All-Star first baseman will make his first appearance in the derby alongside his first ever All-Star Game appearance. He has 20 home runs, which is tied for 9th in the majors — and is putting him on pace to surpass his career-high 36 in 2019.
Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers (Report)
Now this is another name we can get excited about! Gallo is known for launching some moon balls and should give us a show along with Ohtani and Alonso at Coors. Gallo is currently tied for 6th in MLB with 21 HRs on the season as we enter the final week before the All-Star Break. He doesn’t have much of a history at Coors Field with just 1 HR in 6 games.
Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
Soto appears to be the final participant to be confirmed in the derby, so we’ve got our field of 8. Adding in Soto and Gallo certainly adds to the appeal. Beforehand, it was looking like a two-man shot with Ohtani and Alonso with a handful of unknowns. Soto brings star power but can he bring fire power? He only has 10 HRs in 74 games this season, though he did hit a career-high 34 back in 2019.