On Wednesday night, the MLB announced the full lineup and first-round matchups for next Monday’s Home Run Derby.
As always, the eight participants were seeded 1-8 based on how many home runs they’ve hit this season, leading to several intriguing matchups. It may not be a dream derby lineup, but it’s certainly close.
#1 Christian Yelich vs. #8 Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
The reigning NL MVP and league’s 2019 home run leader facing off against one of the top slugging prospects in years. Could there be a better matchup? The only bad thing about this is that it’s in the first round and not the finals. Between Christian Yelich zinging lasers and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. tanking moonshots, this should be the best matchup of the year.
#4 Alex Bregman vs. #5 Joc Pederson
Alex Bregman and Joc Pederson were the final two additions to the 2019 derby lineup and they’ll square off to face the winner of the Yelich vs. Guerrero pairing. Both are expected to easily surpass their previous career highs for homers, making them great candidates for the derby. Pederson’s .245 average is the lowest among contestants this season, but fortunately for him, that won’t matter on Monday.
#2 Pete Alonso vs. #7 Carlos Santana
Another solid matchup, the hometown favorite Carlos Santana will face rookie sensation Pete Alonso. Cleveland’s slugger Santana owns a .947 OPS and is right on pace to match his career high of 34 bombs set in 2016. Meanwhile, Alonso is on pace to break a ton of rookie records, on top of the several he’s already surpassed. Alonso will be the heavy favorite, but don’t count the hot-hitting Santana out.
#3 Josh Bell vs. Ronald Acuna Jr.
Finally, a matchup between young NL stars Josh Bell and Ronald Acuna Jr. should be a great one. Bell is leading all of baseball in RBI and extra-base hits, breaking records along the way. Acuna is one of the best five-tool players in the game, clocking 20 homers so far primarily as the Atlanta Braves’ leadoff man. Whoever wins this round has a real shot at taking home the Home Run Derby title.