Prior to the 2021 Home Run Derby contestants being finalized, there was some belief the Los Angeles Dodgers would be represented by Max Muncy. However, the field was ultimately set without Muncy included.
It amounted to the Dodgers not having a Home Run Derby participant for the first time since 2013. Muncy likely didn’t lose any sleep over not participating, though, as he previously expressed reluctance to enter into the Derby.
Between injuring his ankle against the Atlanta Braves on June 4 and straining his oblique against the Texas Rangers on June 12, Muncy has missed considerable time for the Dodgers this season.
Participating in the Home Run Derby, he believed, could hinder the road to full recovery, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“It just doesn’t make sense to do it really. I need to be healthy going into the second half. It’s one of those things that puts a lot of stress on the body. Having done one before, it kind of puts you in the gutter for a couple weeks after. It’s one of those things where it just doesn’t make sense this year. I need to get healthy.”
Despite his injuries, Muncy has landed himself among the league leaders in several categories. His .414 on-base percentage ranks second in Major League Baseball, falling behind only Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays (.430).
Additionally, Muncy ranks fourth in the Majors in wins above replacement with 4.0.
Muncy has participated in the Home Run Derby once before in 2018, despite not being selected to the National League All-Star team that year. Though he didn’t win the Derby, Muncy homered 18 times en route to a first-round victory over Chicago Cubs shortstop Jávier Baez.
Although he wasn’t invited Home Run Derby, Muncy was selected as a reserve to the 2021 MLB All-Star Game, marking the second election of his career. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has Muncy as the starting designated hitter and batting second.
Alonso repeats as Home Run Derby champion
L.A. Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani was the headliner heading into the Home Run Derby, but New York Mets first baseman and defending champion Pete Alonso stole the show at Coors Field.
Alonso joined joined Ken Griffey Jr. (three), Yoenis Céspedes (two) and Prince Fielder (two) as multi-time Home Run Derby winners. Alonso (2019, 2021), Griffey (1998, 1999) and Céspedes (2013, 2014) are the only players to win back-to-back Derbies.
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