For a while there, it seemed like Bryce Harper might be competing in the upcoming Home Run Derby by himself.
The Washington Nationals star confirmed his participation weeks ago, but all the other high profile names have been dropping out ever since. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, who both wowed the crowds last year during the Derby, bowed out. Mike Trout can’t be bothered. Shohei Ohtani is still nursing an injury.
It went down to the final week, but MLB has finally found enough willing participants for next week’s Dinger Derby.
Joining Harper will be Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Max Muncy, Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Rhys Hoskins, Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber, Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, and Cubs second baseman Javier Baez.
If you’re thinking to yourself: “Hey, isn’t there supposed to be four players from the American League and four players from the National League?”, we don’t know what to tell you. We thought so too. Only Bregman will represent the AL in this year’s contest.
The eight participants are seeded based on their current home run totals, and the contest proceeds in a single elimination bracket format. It looks like these are the first round matchups:
- (1) Jesus Aguilar (23 home runs) vs. (8) Rhys Hoskins (14)
- (4) Alex Bregman (19) vs. (5) Kyle Schwarber (17)
- (2) Bryce Harper (22) vs. (7) Freddie Freeman (16)
- (3) Max Muncy (21) vs. (6) Javier Baez (17)
Only Harper has experience in the Home Run Derby, as he finished second in the 2013 event. He promised fans he would compete in the 2018 Derby if they voted him in as an All-Star, despite his very uncharacteristic hitting slump this season. The fans did their part, so Harper kept his promise to take part in the Derby in his home ballpark.
The Home Run Derby goes Monday night, with the All-Game following on Tuesday evening.