Major League Baseball has reached its All-Star break, and with it comes the mostly annual Home Run Derby. Last year, the All-Star break was canceled due to COVID-19. That leaves New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso as the defending champion. In 2019, he hit 57 home runs across three rounds en route to defeating Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. in the finals at Progressive Field.
The Derby returns this year, and aside from Alonso, the remaining seven participants are all first-timers. The event is taking place at Coors Field on Monday, July 12, with the first batter getting started just after 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
MLB unveiled the rules for the event, and there is one particular to Coors Field. The baseballs used for the Home Run Derby will not be placed in the “humidor” prior to the event. Due to the thin air in Denver, the Rockies instituted what is effectively a large humidor to keep balls from drying out. Denver remains a great park for hitters, but the “humidor” has helped. However, we will not see it in use for the Derby, which hopefully means we see a boost in home runs.
The event is set up as a single elimination bracket. The participants were seeded and paired off based on their home run totals as of last Tuesday. Ties were broken by awarding the higher seed to the player with a higher home run total in 2020. Trey Mancini did not play in 2020, however, so the tie between him and Pete Alonso was broken using 2019 home run totals. Here’s what the bracket looks like for the first round.
(1) Shohei Ohtani vs. (8) Juan Soto
(4) Salvador Perez vs. (5) Pete Alonso
(2) Joey Gallo vs. (7) Trevor Story
(3) Matt Olson vs. (6) Trey Mancini
Here is a complete list of rules for participation and determining the winner.
- The regulation period of rounds 1 & 2 will be 3:00 minutes per batter.
- The regulation period of the final round will be 2:00 minutes per batter
- The timer starts with release of the first pitch, and a round ends when the timer strikes zero. A home run shall count provided the pitch was released before the timer strikes zero.
- Each batter is allowed to call one 45-second time out in the regulation period of each round (including in the final round). No time outs are permitted in the bonus period.
- All batters will be awarded 30 seconds of bonus time following the regulation period of each round.
- A batter will be awarded an additional 30 seconds of bonus time if he hits at least one home run that equals or exceeds 475 feet in the regulation period of that round. If this occurs, the bonus time for the round will be 60 seconds.
- The bonus period – whether it is 30 seconds or 60 seconds – is a single time segment, with no time outs.
- After the regulation period, a batter is allowed a break of up to one minute before his bonus period begins.
- During the bonus period, a special T-Mobile magenta ball will be used.
- Batter with most home runs hit in each matchup will advance to next round.
- 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.
- If the second batter hits more than the first batter in any matchup, he will be declared winner and not attempt to hit additional home runs. If this occurs during the regulation period, the batter will not need the bonus period.