Well before Major League Baseball had a plan in place for the 2020 regular season, Justin Turner proposed the idea of using a home run derby in lieu of potentially playing games that went deep into extra innings.
Under Turner’s proposal, teams would play the 10th inning with normal rules, and if the game still remained tied, they would then select three batters each and stage a home run derby. The designated players would have five outs to hit their homers.
The idea garnered plenty of support from multiple Los Angeles Dodgers, including Cody Bellinger, Gavin Lux and Joc Pederson. Dodgers third base coach Dino Ebel also said he would gladly throw to the Dodgers’ batters.
Although Turner had support from his teammates, the plan never seemed to gain much traction in negotiations between MLB and the Players Association. Instead, all games that go into extra innings this season will feature the runner on second base rule that’s already been in play in the Minor Leagues.
Once that was made official, Alex Wood became the latest to seemingly voice support of a home run derby as he questioned why MLB opted for a runner on second base.
We’re ** https://t.co/ZAWeJXHvW5
— Alex Wood (@Awood45) June 24, 2020
While Turner and the league differed on the best solution, both were mindful of protecting players — particularly pitchers — in what’s going to be an unprecedented season. The Dodgers were 6-4 in extra innings last season; seven of those went beyond the 10th inning.
The Dodgers theoretically would have been well-positioned for an end-of-game home run derby. They set a National League and franchise home run record last year with 279 long balls, led by 47 from Cody Bellinger.
Pederson slugged 36, followed by Max Muncy (35), Turner (27), Corey Seager (19), Kiké Hernandez (17) and five others who had at least 11. On top of that, this year’s Dodgers roster will feature Mookie Betts, who has power in his own right.
But rather than entertain fans with an out-of-the-box concept, Turner and the Dodgers will instead be focused on navigating a sprint through the 60-game season.
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