The third annual Unofficial Futures Game BP HR Derby picks are in!

July 4th, 2023

With the 2023 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game just around the corner Saturday, it’s time for another annual tradition: MLB Pipeline’s Futures Game Batting Practice Home Run Derby Draft.

There’s plenty of excitement about the seven-inning exhibition game, but scouts' eyes will also be on the batting practice beforehand. BP is a great way to see a player’s raw power potential -- look no further than Joey Gallo smashing a truck in the outfield before the 2014 Futures Game.

So for the third straight year, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo will honor the highly anticipated power display by drafting the players they think will hit the most long balls. On this week’s MLB Pipeline Podcast, they took turns drafting four players apiece serpentine style.

No, there isn’t (yet) an official derby for the Futures Game, but that doesn’t stop the Pipeline team from tracking dingers. Mayo won the first draft in 2021 by a score of 19-10, although Callis trounced him 33-14 last year.

Who will win the rubber match in Seattle this year? Surely all the fans will with some of the best hitters in the Minors showing off. As for the Pipeline crew, Mayo gets the first crack at picking a winning FGBPHRD lineup:

1. Mayo -- James Wood, OF, Nationals (MLB No. 5 prospect): The guys seemed surprised by this, but he’s the guy I’m most excited to see in person overall and is the type of dynamic performer who can put on a BP show.

2. Callis -- Heston Kjerstad, Orioles (MLB No. 38): The Arizona Fall League MVP continues to mash, so he was my top target, and I’m thrilled to get him.

3. Callis -- Colt Keith, 3B, Tigers (MLB No. 41): He already has blown away his previous career total with 16 homers in 64 games, including two in his first three Triple-A contests. He also raked in the AFL, so maybe there’s an unintentional theme to my team?

4. Mayo -- Junior Caminero, 3B/2B, Rays (MLB No. 16): Another guy I’m excited to watch in person for the first time, he’ll have just turned 20 and can celebrate by crushing the ball as he has all year (.614 SLG across High-A and Double-A this year).

5. Mayo -- Jackson Chourio, OF, Brewers (MLB No. 2): This is more of a hunch pick on a guy who I see raising his level of play for the stage, though he did hit 20 homers last year.

6. Callis -- Tyler Soderstrom, C, A’s (MLB No. 35): Given his prospect status and 20 homers in 66 Triple-A games, I’m surprised that Soderstrom lasted this long. He could be the steal of my draft.

7. Callis -- Noelvi Marte, SS/3B, Reds (MLB No. 18): I was torn between Marte and Dodgers catcher Dalton Rushing for my final selection. I love Marte’s raw power and hope he’s recovered from a hamstring injury that bothered him in early June.

8. Mayo -- Yanquiel Fernandez, OF, Rockies (MLB No. 95): Jim won this last year with his later picks, and I’m really happy with this one to finish things off. Fernandez already has 21 home runs this year and a .595 SLG, and that includes slugging .636 since getting moved up to Double-A at age 20.

As an added bonus this year, podcast host Jason Ratliff picked his own team after Callis and Mayo made their selections. With eight names off the board, Ratliff went with Brady House (3B, Nationals, MLB No. 73), Spencer Jones (OF, Yankees No. 3), Jackson Holliday (SS, Orioles, MLB No. 1) and Lawrence Butler (1B/OF, Athletics No. 7).

Heading into Monday, these FGBPHRD teams are in a dead heat for regular-season home runs: Mayo has 60, while Callis has 59 and Ratliff's backups are at 36. But you'll have to watch from T-Mobile Stadium, follow @MLBPipeline on Twitter or tune into the next MLB Pipeline Podcast to see who wins at the Futures Game.