MLB moves to new HR Derby format, showcasing brackets, timed rounds

Major League Baseball has overhauled its Gillette Home Run Derby format for this year's All-Star festivities, switching to a more streamlined approach that features brackets and timed rounds.

MLB will use a single-elimination tournament for the eight-player contest in which there is no out limit and the loser of each bracket is immediately knocked out, according to the press release.

Each batter has five minutes to hit as many home runs as he can, with bonus time awarded during the round for belting long shots. The big bopper with the most homers in each head-to-head bracket advances to the next round or, in the case of the third and final round, is crowned Home Run Derby champion.

A timer will count down from five minutes the amount of time left in each round. It will begin with the first pitch and any homer hit after the clock hits one minute remaining will stop the timer; it will not re-start until a swing that doesn't produce a home run. Each batter will also be entitled to one timeout of 45 seconds during a round.

The bracket matchups in the opening round will be seeded based on a batter's home run total for the season as of July 7. Ties in any round will be broken by a 90-second swing-off with no clock stoppage or bonus time added, according to MLB's statement on Twitter.

The competition will be July 13 at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park, site of this year's All-Star Game.

Yoenis Cespedes is the two-time reigning Home Run Derby champ. He became the first repeat winner of the All-Star skills contest in 15 years last year to match Ken Griffey Jr., who took the title in 1998 and 1999.