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MLB All Star Week! – Home Run Derby – Preview for July 13th, 2014

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MLB All Star Week!

With the Home Run Derby only hours away, what are some of your favourites to conquer the derby contest?

We like Adam Jones this season. By name, he’s a sleeper in comparison to Bautista (2 HR L30Days), or Puig (1 HR L30Days), or Morneau (2 HR L30Days), but in reality, Adam Jones’ stats say otherwise. Jones has marked a red hot 6HR .857OPS L30 Days, and definitely threatens to take this down.

Tulowitzki has marked 4 HR L30Days with a .895OPS and could definitely be a threat, but aside from Tulo and maybe Frazier, Jones looks like he’s a #1 contender for the title of 2014 Derby Slugger Champion.

What are some of your ideas about the new Derby rules (none of them minor) put into effect for 2014?

Let’s review:

Round 1

  • 5 AL batters will compete vs each other
  • 5 NL batters will compete vs each other

Round 2

  • The winner from the first round gets a ‘bye’ in round 2.
  • The 2nd round will have the second best from round 1 face off against each other.

Round 3

  • The round 1 and round 2 winners from the AL league face off.
  • The round 1 and round 2 winners from the NL league face off.

Final Round

  • AL winner vs NL winner takes the title.

Additional

  • Reduced the number of swings from 10 outs to 7 outs per round.
  • Added 1 more contender to each league so it’s 10 to compete instead of 8.

 

Our Critique

So firstly, if they’re going to hold derbies, they should probably have it in the same park. Minnesota is one of the hardest parks to hit the ball out of because where their warning track begins, is easily a home run in other stadiums that have held the derbies in seasons past.

Can you imagine if you had to swim against Michael Phelps’ record in a pool that had an extra 15 feet on each end?

Taking x amount of power-cuts in such a short amount of time is grueling and risks muscle strain, and that’s not even taking into account the post-All Star stigmas attached to Derby participants having issues in the post-derby season.

Whatever the case, with #1 Abreu, #2 Cruz and #3 Encarnacion taking the bench for the 2014 derby, there must be something missing when the league’s top HR drivers don’t feel motivated to get up and peel the Rawlings labels off of some baseballs. It’s-what-they-do.

We propose that the changes should be motivational for the players and not based on the spectator side of things; in doing so, it would not only bring truly the best HR hitters into the picture, but also increase spectator motivation as well.

Having Bautista participate (17 HR this season) instead of Encarnacion (26 HR this season) is peculiar to us fans, to say the least.

One thing is certain, it’s good that they’ve addressed the slobberknocker format of derbies past and have tried to present a more fluid and exciting format. At least they’re working at resolutions.

 

2 things we really like about the changes:

  • We like that there are now 7 outs instead of 10. This is a huge deal because it will shorten the derby and simultaneously make the contest more attractive for the players.
    Where 10 rounds becomes grueling, 7 rounds is more reasonable.
  • We like the bracket style format that they’ve considered. This will set a quicker pace to the proceedings and provide higher entertainment value for the spectator.

 

1 thing we really don’t like about the changes:

  • You can’t have people who have taken 7 outs worth of power-cuts and then pit them vs someone who has just taken 14 outs worth of power-cuts! Can you imagine having to take a 13 mile jog to get to the starting line of a 26 mile marathon where you will meet the other runners who are just starting?

 

What would we change?

We would stick with the spirit of these changes but make them a tiny bit more practical.

We would either stick with the initial 8. In this way, we can resolve the issue of this ridiculous headstart and the unfair effects of a 2nd round ‘bye’ for the winner in the 1st.
True bracket formation. K.I.S.S.

As follows:

Round 1

AL
Player A (5 outs) vs Player B (5 outs)

Player C (5 outs) vs Player D (5 outs)

NL
Player A (5 outs) vs Player B (5 outs)

Player C (5 outs) vs Player D (5 outs)

 

Round 2 Semi-Final

AL
Player A (6 outs) vs Player C (6 outs)

NL
Player A (6 outs) vs Player C (6 outs)

 

Round 3 Final

AL winner (7 outs) vs NL winner (7 outs).

 

  • In this fashion, the final showdown will be 2 sluggers that have both taken 11 outs worth of swings and all things are completely equalish and fair…and most importantly, they’d have plenty left in the tank for the AL vs NL final round showdown.
  • In this fashion, the exciting bracket format abides.
  • In this fashion, the length/duration of the event can be easily and precisely fine-tuned with the amounts of outs, so that the league’s best might want to be more inclined to play in the derby instead of worrying about risking injury in a grueling marathon slobberknocker.

 

Whatever the case, they should be asking Abreu, Cruz, and Encarnacion what they would like to see happen and set the event up around what the leagues elite would want to take part in and then do what it takes to make it happen.

At the end of the day, first and foremost, it should make sense for the players, and whatever they decide, I’m sure the fans would enjoy as well.

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