Posted on July 3, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The 2017 Home Run Derby is shaping up to be one of the most memorable in recent memory. The event typically overshadows the actual all-star game, but next Monday’s event has the potential to be one of the greatest slugfests of all time. News broke on Monday that baseball’s latest sensation, Aaron Judge, along with his Yankees teammate Gary Sanchez, will be joining the competition. Judge and Sanchez will be two of the challengers for defending champion Giancarlo Stanton, who will be hoping that the home field advantage will help him win the competition for a second straight year.
Judge, along with Sanchez, made their participation in this year’s Derby official Monday afternoon via the Yankees official Twitter account. The news came as a relief to fans who were hoping that the mammoth 6’7” and 282 lbs. Judge would showcase his power at this year’s Home Run Derby in Miami. Judge already has a league-high 27 home runs, many of which have stunned fans with how long they have traveled. There is certainly great anticipation among fans about what Judge may be capable of doing in a Home Run Derby setting.
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“I’m excited,” Judge said Monday. “We’ve got a good group of guys going. Getting a chance to go up against Gary is going to be fun. So I think we’re both looking forward to that.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi appears to share the excitement that most fans have about watching Judge in the Derby.
“I watch him take BP, and he uses the whole field. So he’ll do the same thing,” said Girardi.
Of course, Sanchez is no slouch either when it comes to hitting the long ball. Last year as a rookie, Sanchez hit 20 home runs in just 201 at-bats. This year he already has 13, and that’s after spending nearly a month on the DL.
“I think it’s going to be special,” Sanchez said Monday through a translator. “I’m pretty sure the fans are going to enjoy it. I’m pretty sure that the excitement will be through the roof, and if I don’t win, I want Judge to win.”
Judge and Sanchez won’t be the only set of teammates pulling for one another in this year’s Home Run Derby. Joining Stanton will be his Marlins teammate Justin Bour. Oddly enough, Bour has only the third most home runs on Miami’s roster with 18. He’s behind both Stanton and all-star selection Marcell Ozuna, who currently leads the Marlins with 22 home runs. However, Bour has impressive power and should be considered a dark horse to upset the likes of Stanton and Judge, especially in his home ball park.
Two more participants who have been confirmed for the Derby are Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger and Minnesota Twins outfielder Miguel Sano. Neither player should be overlooked, even compared to Stanton or Judge.
Bellinger currently leads the National League with 24 home runs. Considering the rookie didn’t get called up until the end of April, his home run total this season is even more impressive. Sano, meanwhile, has a meager 20 home runs and has been instrumental in making the Twins a bona fide contender for a playoff spot. Both Bellinger and Sano may be lacking in name recognition compared to the other participants, but that by no means rules them out of the competition.
Even beyond the obvious headliners of Judge and Stanton, this year’s Home Run Derby has some impressive power hitters. Those two are the obvious favorites, but there should be no counting out any of the participants in what should be one of the most entertaining home run slugfests. in recent memory.