A new champion of the long ball will be crowned during tonight's T-Mobile Home Run Derby (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), as eight competitors take the field at Nationals Park as part of the festivities leading up to the 89th MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, FOX).
Statcast™ will be there to track each and every big fly, and that's important, because by hitting two home runs that travel at least 440 feet in a round, batters receive 30 seconds of bonus time.
:: Complete Home Run Derby coverage ::
Former National League MVP Award winner and the hometown favorite, Washington's own Bryce Harper, headlines the field, but he will have to take down NL East rival Freddie Freeman of the Braves in the first round of the single-elimination tournament. The other opening matchups feature the Dodgers' out-of-nowhere star Player Page for Max Muncy against electrifying Cubs infielder Javier Baez; red-hot Astros sparkplug Alex Bregman against Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber; and Brewers breakout star Jesus Aguilar against 2017 rookie sensation Rhys Hoskins of the Phillies.
Before they take their cuts in D.C., here is a look at some notable Statcast™ facts for each of the competitors, who are listed in order of seed.
1. Aguilar (24 HR)
Longest HR of 2018: 433 feet, July 6 vs. Braves
Hardest-hit HR of 2018: 108.5 mph, July 6 vs. Braves
• Aguilar didn't hit his first homer of the season until April 21, and through May 12, he totaled just two homers in 33 games (17 starts). But he has been on a torrid pace ever since, walloping 22 big flies in 54 games (51 starts) -- two more than any other big leaguer since May 13.
• Play the T-Mobile Home Run Derby Bracket Challenge game
• Aguilar has proven himself dangerous regardless of count. His 12 homers with two strikes this season tie him with Aaron Judge and the Indians' Jose Ramirez for the MLB lead.
• Only Manny Machado has homered more times against sliders than Aguilar (seven).
2. Harper (23 HR)
Longest HR of 2018: 473 feet, May 4 vs. Phillies
Hardest-hit HR of 2018: 115.1 mph, May 13 at D-backs
• Harper's 473-foot blast to dead center field on May 4 set a record for the longest home run by a Washington player at Nationals Park since Statcast™ began tracking in 2015. The ballpark has seen only one ball hit farther during that time -- a 476-foot shot off the bat of the Brewers' Domingo Santana last July 26.
• Harper not only holds the Nationals' Statcast™ record for exit velocity on a home run (116.3 mph last June 15), he is all over the club's leaderboard. Harper is responsible for eight of the 13 hardest-hit Nats homers in Statcast™ history, all of them registering 112.1 mph or more. Harper's 15 homers of 110-plus mph are more than twice as many as any other Washington hitter has during that time.
• Harper sees pitches in the zone less often than any other big league regular, but when he gets one over the heart of the plate, he takes advantage. His 15 homers against pitches in the middle third of the strike zone -- rather than the inner or outer third -- lead the Majors.
3. Muncy (22 HR)
Longest HR of 2018: 450 feet, June 3 at Rockies
Hardest-hit HR of 2018: 110.6 mph, July 3 vs. Pirates
• Muncy didn't appear in the Majors this season until April 17, and his 279 plate appearances are the fewest of any Derby contestant, but he has made up for lost time with great efficiency, leading the Majors by converting 5.3 percent of his swings and 13.7 percent of his batted balls into homers.
• Muncy prefers moonshots to screaming liners. Whereas the average MLB homer has a launch angle of about 28 degrees, Muncy has connected at 30 degrees or higher on 15 of his 22 big flies, including a 42-degree skyscraper on May 19 against the Nats that is tied for the highest homer at Nationals Park this year. Muncy's average of 31.2 degrees on homers is the highest in the Derby field and is tied for ninth of the 134 players who have gone deep at least 10 times in 2018.
• All but three of Muncy's 22 homers have come with the bases empty, including each of the past 13.
4. Bregman (20 HR)
Longest HR of 2018: 420 feet, June 8 at Rangers
Hardest-hit HR of 2018: 104.7 mph, June 29 at Rays
• Bregman should tell his Derby pitcher to aim high, as he has smacked 17 of his 20 home runs this season off pitches to the middle or upper thirds of the strike zone.
• Check out a complete history of the Home Run Derby
• Don't look for Bregman to take an all-fields approach. More than three-quarters of his homers this year (16) have been pulled.
• Bregman has homered three times this season while behind 0-2 in the count. Giancarlo Stanton is the only other player to match that.
5. Kyle Schwarber (18 HR)
Longest HR of 2018: 439 feet, June 15 at Cardinals
Hardest-hit HR of 2018: 117.1 mph, April 24 at Indians
• Schwarber's 117.1-mph laser beam into the right-field seats at Progressive Field on April 24 set a Cubs record for exit velocity since Statcast™ began tracking in 2015. In fact, Schwarber is responsible for three of the Cubs' four hardest-hit homers and six of their top 11.
• Schwarber is one of seven players to hit a home run at least 117 mph this season, along with Joey Gallo, Judge, Nomar Mazara, Marcell Ozuna, Hanley Ramirez and Stanton.
• Schwarber's average launch angle of 26.3 degrees is the lowest in the field, and he has gone deep four times on balls hit at an angle below 20 degrees. Stanton, Machado and Mazara are the only other players with that many low homers this season.
6. Javier Baez (19 HR)
Longest HR of 2018: 434 feet, April 11 vs. Pirates
Hardest-hit HR of 2018: 111.3 mph, April 17 vs. Cardinals
• Baez's three longest homers of the season came in a two-day span from April 10-11, when he put together consecutive multihomer games against the Pirates. Baez is one of five players this season to go deep multiple times in back-to-back games.
• Although he won't have to face any in the Derby, Baez is one of seven players this season to homer at least eight times against curveballs and sliders.
• With a clock now in play, there is an element of speed to the Derby, and that should be fine with the free-swinging Baez, who doesn't tend to wait around. Fifteen of his 19 homers this season have come within the first three pitches of an at-bat.
7. Freddie Freeman (16 HR)
Longest HR of 2018: 426 feet, July 1 at Cardinals
Hardest-hit HR of 2018: 107.9 mph, June 6 at Padres
• Freeman is adept at handling heat -- not that he'll need to during the Derby. His six homers on pitches 97 mph or faster since the start of 2015 tie him for the most in MLB.
• Most Derby contestants try to pull the ball, but perhaps Freeman will spray it around instead. Over the past three seasons, 61.5 percent of his homers have gone to either the opposite field or straightaway. That's the seventh-highest rate among 66 batters with at least 75 total homers during that time.
• Freeman leads all left-handed batters this season with eight home runs against southpaws. Only five right-handed hitters have more.
8. Rhys Hoskins (14 HR)
Longest HR of 2018: 431 feet, May 20 at Cardinals
Hardest-hit HR of 2018: 112 mph, June 16 at Brewers
• Hoskins should be plenty comfortable at Nationals Park, as he has four home runs in 10 career games there over the past two seasons, his most at any road stadium. Hoskins is the only Derby participant other than Harper to have gone deep there multiple times this year.
• Hoskins loves the heat, having smacked 24 of his 32 career big flies off fastballs. No other NL hitter has hit more than 21 homers against fastballs since Hoskins' MLB debut last Aug. 10.
• Hoskins has pulled three-quarters of his home runs in his career and hit just two to the opposite field.
• All you need to know: Home Run Derby rules
• Single-elimination tournament in which loser of each bracket is eliminated.
• Four minutes per batter, per round. Timer starts with release of the first pitch.
• A round ends when the timer strikes zero. A home run shall count provided the pitch was released before the timer strikes zero.
• A pitcher cannot throw a pitch until a batted ball has hit the ground, was caught or left the field of play in foul territory.
• Thirty seconds of bonus time awarded for two home runs that each equal or exceed 440 feet.
• Distances will be tracked and posted using MLB Advanced Media's Statcast™ powered by AWS.
• Any bonus time awarded will be added at the end of the initial four-minute round, and the timer will not stop during the bonus time period.
• Batter with most home runs hit in each matchup will advance to next round.
• Ties in any round will be broken by a 60-second swing-off with no stoppage of time or additional time added; if a tie remains after the swing-off, batters will engage in successive three-swing swing-offs until there is a winner.
• If the second batter hits more than the first batter in any matchup, he will be declared winner and not attempt to hit additional home runs.
• Each batter entitled to one 45-second "time out" in the first round and semifinals. Each batter entitled to two "time outs" in the final round -- a 45-second time out first, and then a 30-second time out.