Although Cody Bellinger had already ruled out potentially participating in the 2019 Home Run Derby at Progressive Field, the Los Angeles Dodgers will have a representative in Joc Pederson. He’ll take his swings in the exhibition contest for a second time.
Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich, New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso, Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell, Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana and Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. were previously named to the competition.
Pederson and Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman were the final two additions. Sluggers are seeded Nos. 1 through 8, based on their home run totals through games played Tuesday. Pederson, who has 20 home runs, earned the fifth seed and will face Bregman (fourth seed; 22 homers) in the first round.
Yelich earned the top seed with 31 homers, setting up a first-round matchup with Guerrero (eight home runs). Alonso’s 28 home runs ranked second and has him facing the Santana (18), the No. 7 seed. Bell, seeded third with 25 home runs, faces sixth-seed Acuña, who hit 20 home runs.
The Yelich-Guerrero winner will advance to face the winner of Bregman-Pederson, while the Alonso-Santana matchup will go against the victor of Bell-Acuña.
Players will have four minutes in each round to hit their home runs. They will receive 30 additional seconds in a round if they club at least two homers that travel more than 440 feet. The Home Run Derby winner will receive $1 million.
Pederson returns to the Derby after last participating as a rookie in 2015. He reached the final round before losing to Todd Frazier, then of the Cincinnati Reds who had the support of the hometown fans at Great American Ball Park.
He is back in the Derby under vastly different circumstances, however, as the Dodgers have limited Pederson’s playing time to starts against right-handed pitching. As such, each of his home runs this season have come against opposite pitching.
Cleveland last hosted the Home Run Derby in 1997, which was won by New York Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez in a now-defunct format.
Mike Piazza (1993 and 1994), Raul Mondesi (1995), Hee-Seop Choi (2005), Matt Kemp (2011 and 2012), Yasiel Puig (2014), Pederson (2015 and 2019), Corey Seager (2016), Bellinger (2017) and Max Muncy (2018) are the Dodgers’ all-time participants in the Home Run Derby.