The Home Run Derby bracket has been announced and it's a pretty good group this year, bolstered by the presence of Giancarlo Stanton, who agreed to participate even though he wasn't selected to the National League All-Star team. Todd Frazier, now with the White Sox instead of the Reds, will also be back to defend his title.
A key factor, of course, will be how the ball flies at Petco Park in San Diego, which historically has been one of the most difficult parks in which to hit a home run. However, that hasn't really been the case since the Padres moved the fences closer in 2013. According to the "Bill James Handbook," Petco had a higher-than-average home run factor in 2013-15 with an index of 110, meaning it boosted home runs by 10 percent. It also has played equally for left-handed and right-handed, so there shouldn't be any advantage there (barring wind direction). This year, it's been about neutral for home runs.
A quick look at the matchups:
No. 1 seed Mark Trumbo (26 home runs) vs. No. 8 Corey Seager (17): Trumbo leads the majors with 26 home runs, and according to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, he's also tied with Edwin Encarnacion for the most "no doubters" in the majors with nine. He loves to yank inside pitches to left field. Seager's rookie season has somehow flown under the radar a bit and he follows in Joc Pederson's footsteps as a Dodgers rookie participating in the derby. After hitting two home runs in April, he hit seven in May and eight in June. Favorite: Trumbo.
No. 4 Robinson Cano (20 home runs) vs. No. 5 Giancarlo Stanton (19): Cano was the winner of the 2011 derby, with his dad pitching to him. He has been in a bit of a home run drought lately, with his home run Wednesday snapping a 17-game homerless streak. Stanton is performing in only his second derby. He hit six in 2014 but lost out in the tiebreaker. Does he have the quick trigger to beat the clock? Favorite: Stanton.
No. 3 Adam Duvall (22 home runs) vs. No. 6 Wil Myers (19): Duvall's dream season continues with a derby invitation, but he'll be matched up against Myers. Last year, Frazier seemed to ride the enthusiasm of the hometown crowd; maybe Myers can do the same. Seven of Myers' home runs have to come right-center or right field, which is a good trait in real baseball, but in a home run derby you want to get in a groove where you're hitting to your pull side. Myers has loved Petco this year, with 13 of his 19 home runs at home. He had a monster June with 11 home runs. Favorite: Myers.
In 146 PA since June 1, Wil Myers - heretofore a disappointment, but still just 25 - is hitting .347/.445/.752. 12 HR, 34 R, 37 RBI in 32 G.— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) July 7, 2016
No. 2 Todd Frazier (23 home runs) vs. No. 7 Carlos Gonzalez (18): Frazier proved last year he has the rapid-fire stroke to beat the clock. Let's see if his brother throws to him again. The ability to swing at more pitches is the key; without as much time to regroup between pitches, endurance becomes as important as raw power. Favorite: Frazier.
Who wins it all? I'll go with Myers to give Padres fans something to cheer for. And let's see how many times Stanton can hit one over the Western Metal Supply Co. building.