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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Home Run Derby Looks To Repeat Recent Fireworks

  • Several of this year's participants are outside the top 50 home run hitters in MLB this season.
  • Four of the top six home run hitters will battle for the title but not league leader Shohei Ohtani.
Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The most prominent MLB All-Star Week festivities get underway Monday night with the Home Run Derby at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Two-time winner Pete Alonso is back in the bracket-style event at T-Mobile Park, but MLB’s top two home run hitters this season, Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani and Braves first baseman Matt Olson, aren’t part of the field.

While the derby’s top four seeds — Luis Robert, Alonso, Mookie Betts, and Adolis Garcia — are in the top six of home run leaders, the other participants are much further down the list. Randy Arozarena is 26th, while Julio Rodríguez (last year’s runner-up), Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Adley Rutschman are outside the top 50. Defending champion Juan Soto elected not to participate this year — but even he’s down to 31st in home runs.

Monday night’s winner will take home a $1 million prize and the Home Run Derby Chain — a three-pound necklace with 75 carats of white and yellow Swarovski Crystal embellishments.

Big Business

The popular StatCast alternate feed of the derby will return to ESPN2 with analytics-driven graphics and data, along with real-time ball-flight animations. 

ESPN’s major effort has helped the Home Run Derby to strong ratings in recent years — last year’s coverage was down just slightly from the record seven million-plus in 2021. Those numbers aren’t far off from the 7.51 million viewers Fox drew for the 2022 All-Star Game itself.

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