The 2018 MLB All-Star break is officially here, and one of the stars of the show is the Home Run Derby at Nationals Park on Monday night.
Eight sluggers will be pitted against each other in bracket form to determine the 2018 champion. Last year, Aaron Judge put an exclamation point on his already impressive rookie year, and this year any one of the eight players in the field could show up with a similarly stunning performance.
Hometown hero Bryce Harper will undoubtedly be the crowd favourite entering Monday night, but with the likes of Rhys Hoskins, Freddie Freeman, and Javier Baez also in the field, there’s plenty of exciting players that could light up the scoreboard.
Below is a breakdown of all eight sluggers competing in the 2018 Home Run Derby. Odds to win come courtesy of the Action Network.
Here’s the bracket for the 2018 Home Run Derby
It’s now the fourth year that the Home Run Derby has been played under the new bracket format, and the results have been impressive – last year, Judge hit a whopping 46 home runs en route to taking home the trophy.
Each round, players will be given four minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. They can call one 45-second timeout to stop the clock, and will be awarded an extra 30 seconds should they hit two home runs beyond 440 feet. The player that hits more homers in the allotted time advances to the next round.
Players were seeded 1-8 by the number of home runs hit heading into the weekend – you can see how they stack up below.
1. Jesus Aguilar, Milwaukee Brewers
2018 Home Runs: 24
Odds to win: 5/1
First round opponent: Rhys Hoskins
One thing to know: Aguilar leads the NL in home runs and slugging percentage, making him a worthy recipient of the top seed in the 2018 Derby.
2. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
2018 Home Runs: 23
Odds to win: 9/4
First round opponent: Freddie Freeman
One thing to know: With the All Star Game in Washington D.C. this year, Harper will have homefield advantage at the Derby – the last player to win the slugfest in their home stadium was Todd Frazier in 2015.
3. Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers
2018 Home Runs: 22
Odds to win: 7/1
First round opponent: Javier Baez
One thing to know: Despite starting the year playing Triple-A ball, Muncy has sprinted out to 22 home runs on the year in just 225 at-bats, and is one of the players responsible for keeping the Dodgers afloat through a string of injuries.
4. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
2018 Home Runs: 20
Odds to win: 11/1
First round opponent: Kyle Schwarber
One thing to know: Bregman’s 20 home runs on the season prove he’s got the power to compete, but it’s possible that his most impressive hit of the season was one that barely made it past the plate.
5. Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs
2018 Home Runs: 18
Odds to win: 10/3
First round opponent: Alex Bregman
One thing to know: Schwarber is one of the purest sluggers in the field, smacking balls out of the park at breakneck speeds. If any player is going to put on a show like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have over the past two years, Schwarber is a good pick.
6. Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
2018 Home Runs: 19
Odds to win: 11/2
First round opponent: Max Muncy
One thing to know: Previously known more for his highlight-reel plays on defence, Baez has had a breakout season at the plate this year, his .571 slugging percentage good for fourth in the NL.
7. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
2018 Home Runs: 16
Odds to win: 17/2
First round opponent: Bryce Harper
One thing to know: One of the favourites to win the NL MVP this year, Freeman might not be a traditional power hitter, but he certainly has the talent to make a run in this competition should he escape hometown-favourite Harper in the first round.
8. Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies
2018 Home Runs: 14
Odds to win: 13/2
First round opponent: Jesus Aguilar
One thing to know: When he was called up last year, Hoskins entered the majors blazing, hitting 11 home runs in his first 18 games. He’ll now have the chance to follow in the footsteps of Bobby Abreu and Ryan Howard to become the latest Phillie to take home the title.
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