Timing is everything in life.
And so, about 12 hours after the completion of the 2013 Home Run Derby, I somewhat belatedly ask you, dear TDG readers, a simple question:
Who will win the Home Run Derby in 2017?
It’s a more difficult question to answer than you may realize, for as we saw last night, betting on most homers in a season and most homers in a single tournament are very different things. For the Derby, raw power is more important than in-game power, and pure strength has the potential to overcome an advantage in bat speed.
So I’m going to list a few of the more obvious choices here, as well as a darkhorse candidate, and then I want you to do the same. Let’s see what kind of a list we can come up with collaboratively.
The Obvious Choices
Miguel Sano (3B, MIN)
An easy pick for future HR Derby champion, Sano has legit 80-grade power, and many think he’s got the most raw pop of any minor leaguer since Giancarlo Stanton. Some people worry about his position and the hit tool, but no one worries about the boom in his bat.
Javier Baez (SS, CHC)
If bat speed is your thing, perhaps you think Baez should top this list. And the shortstop is making a case for himself as well, mashing 20 homers between High-A and Double-A so far this season. The contact rates are of concern here, but in the homerun derby that doesn’t matter.
Joey Gallo (3B, TEX)
There are a lot of things Gallo doesn’t do well as a prospect. Hitting a baseball far is not one of those things. One of the few players in the minors who could grow into 80-grade raw, Gallo already has 26 bombs in Single-A this season. He’s going to strike out a ton, but when he makes contact, look out.
Xander Bogaerts (SS, BOS)
All the talk about Bogaerts has centered around his defense as of late, but let’s not forget what got him noticed by scouts in the first place: really impressive power. He’ll need to grow into it some, but by the time Bogaerts is in his mid-to-late 20s, he could be hitting 30 bombs a year.
Jorge Soler (OF, CHC)
Some considered Soler to be the superior prospect to Cuban phenoms such as Yaisel Puig and Yoenis Cespees, and power is a big reason why. It hurts owners now that he’ll miss the rest of 2013 with a stress fracture in his tibia, but it won’t hurt his pop in the long run. Between Soler, Baez and Kris Bryant, there are going to be plenty of balls flying out of Wrigley in short order.
Domingo Santana (OF, HOU)
One of the more underrated power-hitting prospects in the game, Santana has a ton of swing-and-miss in him and has struck out in 31.6% of his PAs this season. He’ also slugging .452 and has mashed 23 homers in Double-A, and the power here might be grade-70. He’s probably not an All-Star, but he could make waves in future Derbies.
Anyone else you think we’ll see in a Home Run Derby a few years down the line? I feel like the darkhorse candidates you guys come up with will be especially fun, and I’d love to debate with you in the comments section.
Have at it!