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5 reasons to root for Bregman in Derby

@MannyOnMLB
July 6, 2019

Of the eight contestants in the 2019 T-Mobile Home Run Derby, which will take place on Monday at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Alex Bregman is the only returning participant from last year. • Play HR Derby Bracket Challenge for chance to win $250,000 Bregman acquitted himself well in his first

Of the eight contestants in the 2019 T-Mobile Home Run Derby, which will take place on Monday at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Alex Bregman is the only returning participant from last year.

Play HR Derby Bracket Challenge for chance to win $250,000

Bregman acquitted himself well in his first taste of the Derby in 2018, when he hit 15 home runs in the first round but fell one short of his competition, Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber.

T-Mobile Home Run Derby: Monday, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN

Here are five reasons to root for Bregman, who has become one of baseball's most exciting young stars:

1) A Derby trophy would look nice next to an All-Star Game MVP trophy and a World Series ring
Bregman's career is young, but its trajectory is undoubtedly one that could take him to Cooperstown someday. The 25-year-old third baseman is an All-Star for the second time -- he hit a 10th-inning, go-ahead solo homer for the American League en route to winning the All-Star Game MVP Award last year in Washington.

Take that All-Star MVP trophy and set it next to Bregman's World Series ring from 2017, when he helped lead Houston to its first championship in franchise history, and that's not too shabby for a guy in his fourth Major League season.

Bregman is certainly a player who is considered a potential MVP candidate every year, so that's another honor that could occupy a place on his trophy shelf one day. When it's all said and done, a Home Run Derby trophy or two would be a good way to garnish the collection of hardware.

2) He'd be the first Astros player to win the Home Run Derby
There have been some great Astros sluggers in Derbies past, but none -- not even four-time participant and Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell -- have hoisted the trophy.

After bowing out in the first round at Nationals Park last year, Bregman will have more friendly surroundings this time around. Progressive Field's left-field wall is just 325 feet down the line, much like the short porch in left at Minute Maid Park, where the Crawford Boxes are 315 feet away down the line. That's a very enticing target for a pull hitter like Bregman.

3) He'd be only the second third baseman to win the Derby
Since the first Home Run Derby in 1985, only one third baseman has ever won the contest, and that was the Reds' Todd Frazier in 2015, at his home venue of Great American Ball Park.

There have been some great sluggers from the position in Derbies past, including Matt Williams, Bobby Bonilla, Gary Sheffield, Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, Vinny Castilla, David Wright, Josh Donaldson, Kris Bryant and Manny Machado.

Bregman could do what those star hitters couldn't.

4) He'll be the little guy
It's always fun to root for the little guy, right? Well, if that's your angle for this year's Home Run Derby, Bregman's your man. He's listed at six feet, 180 pounds, which makes him the smallest contestant other than Ronald Acuna Jr. (also listed at six feet, 180 pounds) in a group that also consists of Matt Chapman, Pete Alonso, Josh Bell, Joc Pederson, Carlos Santana and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

5) A Bregman victory would tie it all together
Bregman will have longtime Astros bullpen catcher and batting practice pitcher Javier Bracamonte throw to him during the Home Run Derby. Bracamonte also threw to him in last year's event. And it was Bracamonte who retrieved Bregman's go-ahead homer in last year's All-Star Game, as the blast landed right in front of him in the AL bullpen at Nationals Park.

Bregman winning this thing just makes too much sense.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.