Now that we know the Home Run Derby Captains ... who are the other contenders?
By now, you're probably aware that Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Bautista will captain the teams for this year's Home Run Derby, which will feature a new schoolyard bracket format. Basically, Tulo and Joey Bats will each get to pick four sluggers from their respective leagues, who will then be seeded into brackets in an effort to find this year's Home Run Derby Champion.
Just in case the captains are too busy knocking in runs and helping the Rockies and Blue Jays notch games in the win column to do their due diligence, we went ahead and rounded up some of the top talent they have at their disposal. Best of luck to the Derby hopefuls listed below ... no one likes to get picked last at recess.
First, a look at the captains ...
Jose Bautista, OF, Blue Jays - 15 HRs - Though he's never won this thing, Joey Bats was the runner-up of the 2012 contest. That, coupled with his 15 longballs in 2014, including this 438-footer from May, make him a more-than suitable captain for the AL team.
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies - 18 HRs - Tulo has been absolutely on fire through the first three months of the 2014 season, leading the league in BA, OBP, SLG and OPS. If he's half as productive at selecting talent as he is at knocking around baseballs, the American League squad is in some serious trouble. Especially if he breaks out the real power like he did when he launched a 447-footer back in April.
And now, a glimpse at the raw power in Bautista's talent pool ...
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH, Blue Jays - 24 HRs - Encarnacion leads the bigs in dingers right now with 24. If chicks dig the longball, then Encarnacion is the prom king, the starting quarterback, the class president, and the sensitive artist all rolled into one for the Blue Jays this year.
Nelson Cruz, OF, Orioles - 23 HRs - The O's big offseason acquisition has only hit 30 homers in a season once in his career. This year, he's on pace to hit 29 by the All-Star break. Don't consider it a shock if Joey Bats calls Cruz's number.
Jose Abreu, 1B, White Sox - 20 HRs - When you're a Major League rookie drawing comparisons to Thor and you've got 20 dingers to your name through your first 62 games, it's almost like you were born to participate in the Home Run Derby.
David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox - 17 HRs- This is his event, everyone else is just playing in it, really. Big Papi has launched 17 dingers thus far in 2014, but he also has experience on his side. The 38-year-old won this thing back in 2010, but also participated in 2011, 2009, 2006, 2005 and 2004. Yeah, we think he knows how to hit a ball over the fence, by now.
Mike Trout, OF, Angels - 17 HRs- Is there anything this guy can't do? So long as Iron Man isn't there to cheer on
Thor Abreu, Trout and his 17 HRs in 2014 should provide ample power for the AL side.
George Springer, OF, Astros - 16 HRs - His 16 home runs in 2014 are even more impressive when you remember that: A. He's a rookie and B. He didn't get the call up until the middle of April. Also, Springer cranked seven homers in seven days at the end of May, so you know he can heat up in a hurry.
Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Athletics - 14 HRs - He won this thing last year, so he's got that feather to stick in his cap along with his 14 2014 dingers. Also, if they run out of bats and these guys have to throw the ball over the fence, Cespedes will have it all wrapped up before you even realize what's going on.
Clearly, Bautista and company will be packing some power. But Tulowitzki will hardly have trouble matching that umpf with his own crew of sluggers from the National League ...
Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins - 20 HRs - If you've ever stopped to ponder life's more palpable moments and looked skyward only to see a flash of light shoot across the sky, it's safe to assume it was one of this man's 20 home runs this season. To call them moonshots would be to underestimate the vastness of space. Stanton, ladies and gentlemen, is your 2014 Home Run Derby favorite before the teams have even been picked.
Todd Frazier, 3B, Reds - 17 HRs - Don't sleep on Frazier and his right-handed power. Nearly half of his 17 homers were measured to be longer than 400 feet.
Evan Gattis, C, Braves - 16 HRs - El Oso Blanco earned his nickname while leading the Venezuelan Winter League in home runs, but proved his worth in the bigs when he hit the longest home run of 2013, a 486-foot bomb off of Cole Hamels that is also the longest HR ever hit in Citizens Bank Park. Tulo could certainly do worse than Gattis and the NL's fourth highest home run tally so far.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks - 15 HRs- On May 28, 2014, Paul Goldschmidt launched a 470-foot home run off the center field scoreboard at Chase Field. Between that and the 14 other longballs he's got to his name this season, Goldschmidt's a safe bet for this year's Derby.
Hunter Pence, OF, Giants - 11 HRs - We're mostly crossing our fingers that Pence hears his name called because his swing is unpredictable and he's been known to tomahawk balls out of the yard. Although he's "only" hit 11 homers so far this season, seven have traveled more than 400 feet and this blast went 450-plus.
Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers - 11 HRs - Puig has 11 home runs in 2014, but imagine how great it would be if he flipped his bat after every home run he cranks at the Derby. He certainly has a high standard to live up to in that department.
Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals - 1 HR - Remember him? Harper's been on the shelf after a head-first slide into third forced him to undergo thumb surgery earlier this season. But his early July return date, the impressive showing at last year's Derby and his, um, competitive spirit(?) make him a prime candidate for darkhorse of the National League. Plus, anyone who's capable of hitting a baseball 500 feet when they're just 16 should be grandfathered into every Home Run Derby ever held at any level, just in case he should want to come by and put on a show.
With all this power and only eight spots available (four AL, four NL), it would seem that nobody's name is etched in stone. Who ya got? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @Cut4.