2013 MLB Home Run Derby Open Thread

Prince Fielder returns to defend his derby crown. - Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

This year's edition of the MLB Home Run Derby is tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Despite Chris Berman's incessant yelling, the MLB Home Run Derby has seen a rise in popularity among fans in recent years. TV ratings are also on the rise, and this year's group of hitters should provide plenty of reasons to tune in. Here's a quick breakdown of each participant in this year's derby.

American League

  1. Robinson Cano, the 2011 Home Run Derby champ, is the captain of this year's American League derby squad. He leads all Major League second baseman in homers with 21 so far this season, and also is tops in ISO (isolated power) at .229. Cano has an "average true distance" of 401.4 feet on his home runs this season, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker. His longest of the season went 442 feet.
  2. Yoenis Cespedes was the final player selected to the American League team, but has become the trendy pick among both media and fans to at least make the finals if not win the entire event. Possessed with huge raw power, Cespedes jumped on the scene last season with 23 homers and a .214 ISO. This season, he has 15 home runs to go along with a .195 ISO. Former Athletic and current Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy is predicting Cespedes to steal the show. He has an average true distance of 407.9 feet on his homers this year with a long of 440 feet.
  3. Chris Davis' power explosion has been one of, if not the biggest, story lines of the 2013 season so far. Always known as a player who possessed huge power potential, that potential has turned into MVP level production this year as he leads the majors in home runs (37) and ISO at .402. It's worth noting that the MLB leader in home runs at the All-Star break has never won the Home Run Derby. Davis' homers this season have had a true average distance of 403.9 feet, with the longest being a 439-foot blast in Baltimore.
  4. Prince Fielder, a two-time derby winner, returns to defend his 2012 crown which he won in Kansas City. This will be the fourth derby appearance for the portly first baseman, who has just a .190 ISO to go along with 16 homers on the season. In his four appearances, he has combined for 63 home runs. Fielder sports an average true home run distance of just 396.2 feet, but his long for year is a massive 460-foot blast that he crushed on May 10th.

National League

  1. Pedro Alvarez, a late injury replacement for Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, has emerged as the fan favorite to put on a show and win the Derby for the National League. Alvarez sports ridiculous power, as evidenced by his 24 homers and .266 ISO so far in 2013. He is tied for the most "no doubt" home runs in baseball with nine, and has a season long of 456 feet that he hit on May 17th in Houston. On the year, he has an average true distance of 407.1 feet on his homers.
  2. Michael Cuddyer is the one home run derby participant that doesn't really fit. Yes, he has 16 homers on the season and an ISO of .239, but Cuddyer isn't blessed with extreme raw power or known for hitting moonshot home runs. He has a season long blast of 434 feet, and his homers have an average true distance of 406.8 feet.
  3. Bryce Harper's violent swing creates a ton of bat speed and a ton of power, which makes his inaugural appearance in the derby tonight one of the most anticipated among the group. After clubbing 22 home runs in 139 games last season, Harper is at 13 this season in just 58 games. His .259 ISO would rank third in the National League if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. Harper's longest shot this season came against Cincinnati in April when he connected on a 434-foot blast. He has an average distance of 406.5 feet on his homers in 2013.
  4. David Wright is the captain for this year's National League derby team, returning to derby action for the first time since 2006 in Pittsburgh. Wright will be hitting in his home park, but 10 of his 13 home runs this season have come on the road. After posting sub-.200 ISO's the past two seasons, Wright's ISO sits at .203 entering the All-Star break. Braves fans should be familiar with his longest blast of the season, a 464-foot shot off of Craig Kimbrel at Turner Field in May. He's averaging 404.7 feet on his homers this year according to Home Run Tracker.
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