Eight of the 10 participants for the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby were announced earlier this evening on ESPN's "SportsCenter" by Derby captains Jose Bautista of the American League and Troy Tulowitzki of the National League.
The A.L. competitors who will join Bautista include 2013 Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics, outfielder Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles and second baseman Brian Dozier of the host Minnesota Twins. Joining Tulowitzki as representatives of the N.L. will be N.L. home run leader Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, outfielder Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers and third baseman Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds. The final competitor in each league will be announced on Thursday.
Bautista, who took part in the 2011 Derby in Arizona and the 2012 Derby in Kansas City, has 17 home runs on the season and ranks fifth on Toronto's all-time home run list with 185 career homers in a Blue Jays uniform behind George Bell (202), Joe Carter (203), Vernon Wells (223) and Carlos Delgado (336). Since the start of the 2010 season, the four-time All-Star has hit 169 home runs, which ranks second in the Majors behind Miguel Cabrera (170) of the Tigers. Bautista, who reached the final round of the Derby in 2012, has hit a total of 24 home runs in his two appearances. The 33-year-old slugger will become the second Blue Jays player to compete in the event three times, joining Carter (1991-92, 1996), and it will mark the 14th appearance overall by a Blue Jays player, extending the Club's Major League record.
Cespedes, who defeated Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper in the final round of the 2013 Derby at Citi Field, has 14 home runs on the season after posting a career-best 26 homers last season. He will become the ninth player (10th time overall) to defend his Derby crown in the year after he won, and it marks the fourth consecutive year that the defending champion is participating (also David Ortiz in 2011; Robinson Cano in 2012 and Prince Fielder in 2013). Cespedes will give the Athletics its 12th appearance in the event in the history of the Derby, which will be tied for third with Seattle among A.L. teams behind Baltimore (13, including Jones) and Toronto (14, including Bautista). The Cuban native is the third player in Athletics history to compete in the event on more than one occasion, joining Jose Canseco (1986, 1990) and Mark McGwire (1987, 1990, 1992, 1996-97). Other Athletics to take part in the Derby include Ruben Sierra (1994), John Jaha (1999) and Jason Giambi (2001). Cespedes, who has 63 career home runs since his debut in 2012, is just six home runs behind Canseco (69) for the most homers among Cuban-born players in their first three Major League seasons.
Jones, who has 16 home runs on the season, will be participating in his first career Home Run Derby. He becomes the eight different Orioles player to compete (13th appearance overall), joining Eddie Murray (1985), Cal Ripken, Jr. (1985, 1991-92), Brady Anderson (1996-97), Rafael Palmeiro (1998, 2004), B.J. Surhoff (1999), Miguel Tejada (2004, 2006) and his teammate Chris Davis (2013). In 2013, Jones set a new career high and led A.L. outfielders with 33 home runs after recording 32 homers in 2012. His 81 home runs since the start of the 2012 season rank sixth in the Majors, and are the most among A.L. outfielders in that span. His 153 home runs in an Orioles uniform rank 10th all-time in Club history.
Dozier, who leads all Major League second basemen with 16 home runs, will take part in his first career Home Run Derby. He will become the 17th player from a host team to participate in the event, and it marks the second consecutive year for the Derby to feature a hometown competitor, following David Wright at Citi Field in 2013. Dozier will be the sixth different player (seventh appearance) in Twins history to take part in the Derby, joining Tom Brunansky (1985), Gary Gaetti (1989), Torii Hunter (2002), former teammate Justin Morneau (2007-08) and current teammate Joe Mauer (2009). Dozier, who has seven career leadoff homers and four this season, is tied for fourth on the Twins all-time leadoff homer list. In addition, his 21 career home runs at Target Field are tied for fourth all-time in the brief history of the ballpark, which opened at the start of the 2010 season. The 27-year-old will become the eighth different second baseman (12th time overall) to compete in the Derby, and this year will mark the fourth consecutive year with at least one second baseman following Rickie Weeks (2011) and Cano (2011-13). Dozier will also become the fifth player not named to the All-Star Game to take part in the Derby, joining Palmeiro (2004), Hee-Seop Choi (2005), Ryan Howard (2007) and Cespedes (2013).
Tulowitzki, who is tied for second in the N.L. with 18 home runs this season, will compete in the Derby for a first time and become the ninth different player in Rockies history to do so (10th appearance overall). The 29-year-old will give the Rockies a competitor in the Derby for a third consecutive year following the participation of his teammates Carlos Gonzalez in 2012 and Michael Cuddyer in 2013. Other Colorado players to participate include Dante Bichette (1994), Ellis Burks (1996), Larry Walker (1997, 1999), Vinny Castilla (1998), Todd Helton (2001) and Matt Holliday (2008). Tulowitzki will become just the seventh different shortstop to take part in the event since its inception, joining Ripken (1985, 1991-92), Hubie Brooks (1986), Nomar Garciaparra (1997, 1999), Alex Rodriguez (1998, 2001-02), Tejada (2004, 2006) and Hanley Ramirez (2010). Among the previous six shortstops, Ripken (1991) and Tejada (2004) won the Derby. Since 2007, Tulowitzki has hit 172 home runs, which is tied with Ramirez for the most among all Major League shortstops.
Stanton, who leads the Senior Circuit with 21 home runs on the season, will participate in his first career Derby. The 24-year-old was slated to compete in the event in 2012, but an injury kept him out of the competition and the Midsummer Classic. Stanton will become just the fifth different Marlins player to partake in the Derby, joining Gary Sheffield (1996), Cabrera (2006), Dan Uggla (2008) and Ramirez (2010). Stanton has 138 career homers, which is tied with Cabrera for fourth-most in Marlins history, and he is just 16 away from Uggla, who is the franchise's all-time leader with 154 homers. His 21 home runs prior to the All-Star break are currently tied for the fifth-most in Club history, and the most since Ramirez and Uggla each had 23 at the break in 2008. Since the start of 2010, Stanton's first season in the big leagues, his 138 homers rank fifth in the Majors.
Puig, who has 12 home runs on the season, will compete in his first career Derby after hitting 19 home runs in his first big league season in 2013. His 31 homers over his first two seasons are currently the fourth-most by a Cuban-born player in MLB history behind Cespedes (49), Canseco (38) and Alexei Ramirez (36). Puig will become the sixth player (eighth appearance) in Dodgers history to take part in the Derby, joining Steve Garvey (1985), Mike Piazza (1993-94), Raul Mondesi (1995), Hee-Seop Choi (2005) and Matt Kemp (2011-12).
Frazier, who leads N.L. third basemen and ranks second among all Major League third basemen with 17 home runs, will become the first Reds player to compete in the Derby since Ken Griffey, Jr. in 2000. Overall, Frazier will be the eighth player in Reds history (ninth appearance) to participate in the Derby. The others include Dave Parker (1985-86), Eric Davis (1989), Paul O'Neill (1991), Chris Sabo (1991), Ron Gant (1995), Reggie Sanders (1995) and Griffey. On the season, the 28-year-old Frazier is already just two homers shy of matching his career best of 19 set in 2012 and matched in 2013. During the month of June, he hit eight home runs, which tied for the most in the N.L. and was his personal best for any calendar month.
This year's Home Run Derby will introduce a new format, which features a maximum of seven outs per round and bracketed play after the first round. The player who hits the most home runs in each league in the first round will automatically receive a bye to the third round (Semi-Finals). The next two players from each league with the most home runs will square off against one another in a head-to-head matchup in the second round. The winners of these matchups will advance to the third round to face-off against their league's top seed. The final round will feature the winners of the A.L. and N.L. Semi-Finals matchups going head-to-head for the 2014 crown.
The Gillette Home Run Derby will once again raise funds for MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as well as charities selected by the captains. More than $3 million has been raised for charity over the past 10 years, including an all-time high of $615,000 donated in 2012. Gillette and Major League Baseball will donate a significant amount of money to charity through the 2014 event.
The donations from the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby will include $95,000 to the local RBI and Boys & Girls Club programs; $50,000 to the winning participant's charity in his name; $25,000 to each League captain's charity of choice; $20,000 to a charity of choice for each of the winning participant's Derby teammates; and $8,000 to a charity of choice for each of the competitors from the League opposing the Derby winner. The remainder of the money raised by home runs will be donated to RBI and to Boys & Girls Clubs of America on behalf of Gillette and MLB.
The total amount of money distributed will be determined by the home runs hit during the competition. For each orange FlexBall home run hit by a participant throughout the Gillette Home Run Derby, Gillette and Major League Baseball will combine to donate $10,000 to designated charities. Gillette and MLB will combine to make an additional donation of $5,000 for every non-FlexBall home run hit throughout the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby.
In addition to coverage on ESPN and MLB.com, the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby, which is part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, will be broadcast live on ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN 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 14th. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.