Major League Baseball on Monday announced a new format for the All-Star Home Run Derby, featuring more players, fewer outs and a bracket after the first round when this year’s event is held July 14 at Target Field.
Five players from each league, up from four, will hit in the first round, with seven outs — any swing that doesn’t result in a home run is an out — instead of the 10 they had in the past. Upon the completion of the first round, the players with the most homers from each league receive a bye to the semifinals, and the second- and third-place players from each league meet head-to-head in the quarterfinals. The final round features the semifinal winners from each league.
Toronto’s Jose Bautista and Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki were named AL and NL captains. They will announce the four other picks from their respective leagues July 7. The All-Star Game ballot on mlb.com also includes a Home Run Derby fan poll, where fans can suggest up to three candidates in each league.
The new format will reward batters that can win the first round with a break. In 2008 at the old Yankee Stadium, Josh Hamilton hit a staggering 28 home runs in the first round — 20 home runs more than any of the other seven participants — but he hit only four homers in the second round and lost in the final to the Twins’ Justin Morneau.
Speaking of Morneau, Tulowitzki told ESPN — which will televise the Home Run Derby — he would certainly consider his Rockies teammate for the NL. “Justin’s having a great year,” Tulowitzki said. “… I know the fans in Minnesota would love for him to participate.”