NL participants in State Farm Home Run Derby announced

Major League Baseball announced tonight the four participants who will represent the National League in the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby, which will be held on Monday, July 9th at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/7:00 p.m. (CT) and will be televised nationally on ESPN.

#NL Derby captain Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers announced the invitations he has extended on this evening’s edition of ESPN’s Baseball Tonight.  Kemp, who led the N.L. with 39 home runs in 2011, has invited outfielders Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals, Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies and Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins to represent the N.L.  The American League’s competitors will be announced by the event’s 2011 champion, #AL Derby captain Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees, on Monday evening’s 6:00 p.m. (ET) edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter.

For the second consecutive year, players will have the ability to use social media during the State Farm Home Run Derby (@StateFarm #HRDerby).  Last year’s first-ever “Social Media Derby” in Phoenix peaked at nearly 5,000 tweets per second during the final round, at the time the seventh-highest figure in the five-year history of Twitter.

The 20 home runs by Beltran (@carlosbeltran15) currently rank second in the N.L.  On June 15th, the seven-time All-Star became only the eighth player in Major League history – and the first switch-hitter – ever to reach 300 career home runs and 300 career stolen bases.  The 35-year-old Beltran is one of nine switch-hitters all-time who have reached 300 career homers.  This will mark the first Derby in the 15-year Major League career of Beltran, whose 322 career homers included a career-high 41 during the 2006 season.  The Puerto Rico native is tied for the Major League record with eight home runs in a single Postseason (2004), and he set a Postseason record by going deep in five consecutive playoff games.  Beltran’s career at-bat per home run ratio of 7.45 (82 AB/11 HR) in the Postseason is the best in MLB history among players with at least 50 at-bats.

The 26-year-old Gonzalez (@CargoMedia5) will take part in the Derby as a part of his first All-Star experience.  Entering Sunday, his 17 home runs were tied for fourth in the N.L, and he was batting .337 with 39 extra-bases hits, 58 RBI and 10 stolen bases.  The .604 slugging percentage of the fifth-year Major Leaguer currently ranks second in the N.L.  In 2010, when the Venezuela native won the N.L. batting crown with a .336 batting average, “CarGo” finished fourth in the N.L. with 34 home runs, second in RBI with 117, third in runs with 111 and second in slugging (.598).  Last year, Gonzalez batted .295 with 26 homers and 92 RBI.  The left-handed hitter currently has a .304 batting average, 94 home runs, 322 RBI and 76 stolen bases in his career.  

The 22-year-old Stanton (@Giancarlo27) will participate in his first Derby as a part of his Midsummer Classic debut.  Now in his third Major League season, the 6’5”, 246 lb. slugger is third in the N.L. with his 19 home runs, 12 of which have come at Marlins Park and including shots on Saturday and Sunday.  The southern California native hit 22 home runs in just 100 games (359 AB) in his rookie season of 2010 after his June 8th debut.  By the end of 2011 – when he smashed a club-high 34 home runs – Stanton’s 56 career homers were eclipsed in the last 40 years only by Ken Griffey, Jr. (60) and Alex Rodriguez (56) among all players before they turned 22.  Stanton was the Budweiser Presents the N.L. Player of the Month for May of this season, hitting .343 with 12 homers and 30 RBI.  According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since 1920, when RBI became an official statistic, the only other player under 23 with as many homers, RBI and as high a batting average in a calendar month was Joe DiMaggio (.430, 15 HR, 43 RBI) in July 1937.

Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp), who is currently on the disabled list, is a part of his second Derby experience after competing in Phoenix last year.  The 27-year-old Kemp was the Budweiser Presents the N.L. Player of the Month for April, when he hit .417 with 12 home runs, 25 RBI and 24 runs in 23 games.  The two-time N.L. All-Star is just the fifth Dodger to participate in the Derby, along with Steve Garvey (1985), Mike Piazza (1993-94), Raul Mondesi (1995) and Hee-Seop Choi (2005).  In addition to Kemp’s league-leading home run total in 2011, his first place finish in RBI (126) and third place finish in batting average (.324) made the Oklahoma native a close contender for the Triple Crown.  He was the first Dodger ever to lead the N.L. in homers, RBI and runs and he became the seventh player ever to rank in the top three in average, homers, RBI and stolen bases in his respective League, joining Hall of Famers Ty Cobb (1907, 1909-1911), Honus Wagner (1908), George Sisler (1920), Chuck Klein (1932), Willie Mays (1955) and Hank Aaron (1963).  Kemp was a 2011 winner of MLB’s Hank Aaron Award as the N.L.’s most outstanding offensive performer. 

Social media stations will be set up on both sides of the Kauffman Stadium field near the dugouts, where players – including those participating in the #HRDerby – will be able to log into their own social media accounts while uploading photo and video content shot on their personal mobile devices.  ESPN will heavily incorporate social media into the television broadcast, creating a fully integrated social TV experience for fans.  Last year’s “Social Media Derby” in Arizona resulted in a significant volume of online activity and considerable increases in Twitter followings for the participating MLB All-Stars. 

This year’s State Farm Home Run Derby will continue to follow the format first introduced in 2011, featuring team competition between the #AL and #NL.  Both captains will select a charity for which they will hit during the Derby.    State Farm and Major League Baseball will donate a significant amount of money for charity through the event.  The donations will be made as follows:

  • $150,000 will be awarded to the winning captain's charity in his name
  • $100,000 will be awarded to Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA) in the name of the winning captain
  • $25,000 will be awarded to the charity of the captain of the losing team in his name
  • The remainder will be donated to BGCA on behalf of State Farm and MLB

 

The total amount of money distributed will be determined by the home runs hit during the competition.  For each Gold Ball home run hit by a State Farm Home Run Derby participant after the 9th out throughout the State Farm Home Run Derby, State Farm and Major League Baseball will combine to donate $18,000 to designated charities.  The dollar figure was selected to coincide with the number of State Farm agents throughout the U.S. and Canada. State Farm will make an additional donation of $3,000 for every non-Gold Ball home run hit throughout the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby.

In addition to coverage on ESPN, the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby (#HRDerby) will be broadcast live on ESPN HD, ESPN 3D, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile TV, and ESPN Radio in the U.S. as well as ESPN International beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/7:00 p.m. (CT) on Monday, July 9th

The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday, July 10th.  The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed.  Pregame ceremonies will begin at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/7:00 p.m. (CT).  ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game.  MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.  For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/2012.