MLB Changes Home Run Derby Rules & Format

MLB announced new rules and changes to the 2024 Home Run Derby, which is scheduled to be held Monday, July 15, at Globe Life Field with the Texas Rangers hosting the All-Star Game.

It’s the second time Home Run Derby rules have been adjusted since 2015, when MLB aggressively shifted away from outs (10 outs per round, no time limit) to a clock-based system.

The new Home Run Derby format has eliminated head-to-head knockout rounds as instead the top four of eight hitters get to advance. Once those are determined, the Derby will shift to a bracket format with No. 1 facing No. 4 and the player who had the second-most homers squaring off against the hitter who finished just behind them.

If there is a tie in the first round, the tiebreaker will be who had the longest home run hit. The top two from the semifinals then advance to take swings and become the Home Run Derby champion.

What has remained the same from previous rules is the first round and semifinals are both three minutes. The championship round is also still two minutes. However, within the timed rounds are are a pitch limits — 40 for the first two runs and 27 in the finals.

If a pitch limit is reached before the timer expires, the round is over. The thought process is this factor helps ease some of the need participants have felt to frantically get in as many swings as possible.

For bonus time, hitters now can qualify to earn additional pitches up until they record three outs within the extra period. If a player hits a home run of at least 425 feet within the bonus period, they are granted a fourth out.

Returning Derby rules include batters getting one 45-second timeout per round (can’t be used in bonus time) and ties in the semifinals or championship round being broken by a 60-second swing-off without any stoppage or additional time added. If a tie remains after the swing-off, batters will compete in successive three-swing “swing-offs” a winner is decided.

How new Home Run Derby rules are different

Last year, the Derby was single-elimination and bracket format over three rounds, and the eight participants were seeded by how many long balls they’d hit during the regular season up to that point. That format created a need for the eventual champion to emerge victorious in three one-on-one matchups.

Also, there previously had not been a pitch limit in place for an individual round.

No longer the case is an automatic 30 seconds of extra time being granted to each batter at the conclusion of every regulation period, or chance to earn an additional 30 seconds by hitting two home runs of at least 440 feet.

Is Ohtani in the Home Run Derby?

Shohei Ohtani has expressed an interest to participate in the Home Run Derby for a second time in his career, but the Los Angeles Dodgers may be reluctant to encourage as much.

Thus far, only Baltimore Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson has been named a 2024 Home Run Derby participant. Henderson currently ranks second in the Majors with 26 homers this season.

Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. won the Derby in Seattle last year. He and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. became the first father-son duo to win the Home Run Derby.

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