Orioles slugger leads Majors with 28 homers at All-Star break
By Daniel Kramer and Megan Zahenis
The T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Petco Park in San Diego (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ESPN and MLB.com) is just hours away, and the contestants' All-Star peers have chimed in with their picks. And the general consensus is steering in Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo's direction.
"It's flattering," said Trumbo, who leads the Majors with 28 dingers in his first year with the Orioles. "I'll give it the best I have and see what happens."
Goldschmidt played with Trumbo with the D-backs from 2014-15, and he knows the power he packs, even though Trumbo has hit just one homer at Petco Park in 54 plate appearances.
"I'm rooting for Trumbo," Goldschmidt said. "Being a past teammate of mine, I think he's my only past teammate in there, and I've seen his BP."
Kluber has held Trumbo hitless in three career at-bats, but the Indians right-hander has been impressed with his power from afar.
"It's hard to argue with Mark Trumbo right now," Kluber said. "I mean, some of those balls he's hitting are pretty crazy. He can put a charge on them."
Miguel Cabrera is rooting for fellow Venezuelan Carlos Gonzalez, whom he competed against in a comparable homer contest last November in their homeland. With a time-limit format similar to the one installed last year by MLB, Gonzalez -- who leads all Derby contenders with an average distance of 424.3 feet on his 18 homers, per Statcast™ -- outlasted Cabrera in the final round of that event.
"Hopefully Carlos wins," Cabrera said on Monday of Gonzalez, who blasted a 443-foot bomb at 111.4 mph at Petco Park on June 5 -- the second-highest exit velocity of the year on a homer in San Diego, per Statcast™, behind only one hit by Wil Myers, who calls the park home.
Dexter Fowler and Salvador Perez are picking Robinson Cano, who took part in the Derby from 2011-13 and was a captain in those latter two years when that format was still in place. Cano won the '11 edition at Chase Field.
"I've got to go with Robbie, Robbie Cano," Fowler said. "He's won it before, and I've always wanted to see him come back and do it again."
Perez added: "He's strong," when answering why he chose Cano.
Giancarlo Stanton -- who won't play in the All-Star Game but is in the Derby after blasting five of his 20 this year in the past week alone -- got the nod from A's catcher Stephen Vogt.
"I just want him to hit the ball 600 feet," Vogt said.
White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, who will try to defend his Derby title, got a vote of confidence from fellow Chicago star Jake Arrieta.
Here is the full set of rules for tonight's slugfest:
• Single-elimination tournament in which the winner of each matchup advances and the loser of each matchup is eliminated.
• If the second batter hits more home runs than the first batter in any matchup, he will be declared the winner and not attempt to hit additional home runs.
• Four minutes per batter for each round. Clock starts with the release of the first pitch. In the first round and semifinals, each batter is entitled to one 45-second "time out." In the finals, each batter is entitled to two 45-second "time-outs."
• Thirty seconds of bonus time will be awarded for two home runs that each equal or exceed 440 feet.
• Ties in any round will be broken by a 60-second swing-off with no stoppage of time or additional time added. If a tie remains after the swing-off, batters will engage in successive three-swing swing-offs until there is a winner. Distances and exit velocity during the event and in the player profiles below come courtesy of Statcast™.