While the American League and National League rosters for the 2016 All-Star Game are set, save for the final vote spots, the Home Run Derby field has yet to be announced. Los Angeles Dodgers Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw and Corey Seager were named to the NL roster via the players’ vote.
Seager’s first time as an All-Star will also coincide with him taking part in the Home Run Derby. Yasiel Puig did the same in 2014, so too did Joc Pederson last season. According to reports, Baltimore Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo will also participate in the derby.
While the Home Run Derby has always been for position players, fans and players entertained the idea of pitchers participating in the event this year. It was proposed by San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who is known as one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball.
Bumgarner, who has been seen hitting upper-deck home runs during batting practice, is the only player to hit a home run in consecutive seasons off Kershaw. Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta and St. Louis Cardinals righty Adam Wainwright have also expressed their desire to participate if the event was to happen.
After early support, pitchers joining position players in the Home Run Derby has lost steam. Had it taken place, A.J. Ellis believed Bumgarner was well-suited for the competition and would have enjoyed seeing him participate, via Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:
“He has the swing to win the home run derby,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. “I’d love to see him compete against the position players. That would be an awesome addition to the event.”
Brett Anderson sided with Ellis in regards to Bumgarner, but doesn’t believe other pitchers would be successful:
“He’s the only one I think could realistically compete,” Anderson said, “based on what I’ve seen him do against the best pitcher in baseball.”
Kershaw, who has one home run in his career, wasn’t nearly as keen on the idea:
Kershaw said he had no interest in participating in a pitchers’ derby. “I’d like to see the hitters do it,” he said.
While pitchers will need to sit this year out, the response to the possibility of their involvement could potentially lead to changes in years ahead. The 2016 Home Run Derby begins Monday at 5 p.m. PT and will be aired on ESPN. Petco Park in San Diego hosts the derby and Tuesday’s All-Star Game.