Eight Major League hitters will go head to head on Monday night looking to be crowned King of the Sluggers in the Home Run Derby, and D.C.’s favorite 20-year-old, Bryce Harper, will be representing the Washington Nationals for the first time in team history.
Harper is following Robinson Cano’s lead and having his own father, Ron, pitch to him as he crosses an item off his baseball bucket list.
“This is one of the things that was on the bucket list for playing ball,” Harper said after he got the invite. “I’m excited to win the thing.”
Harper has hit only 13 home runs so far this season, a far cry from the MLB-leading 37 home runs smashed by Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles. However, Harper has seen limited playing time due to an extended trip to the disabled list with bursitis in his left knee.
Though some have doubted his deservedness of participating in the Derby with such a low homer count, anyone who has watched Harper take batting practice knows he is a natural slugger.
Below are the lineups for the event, with each player’s home run tally through the first half of the season.
Robinson Cano, New York Yankees, 95 games, 21 home runs
Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers, 94 games, 16 home runs
Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles, 95 games, 37 home runs
Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland Athletics, 79 games, 15 home runs
David Wright, New York Mets, 90 games, 13 home runs
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals, 58 games, 13 home runs
Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies, 74 games, 16 home runs
Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates, 85 games, 24 home runs