Well, the Cincinnati Reds are officially on the All-Star break. That means no game threads until Friday. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a place for everyone to gather and talk about the baseball events that are happening over the All-Star break, right? We’ll have one for the game itself, too.

Where to watch

The Home Run derby will be on both ESPN and ESPN 2. The traditional broadcast will be on ESPN at 8PM ET. Over on ESPN 2 will be the “Statcast” version of the event, also live at 8PM ET.

The Participants and The Bracket

1. Matt Chapman vs. 8. Vladimir Guerrero Jr

4. Alex Bregman vs. 5. Joc Pederson

2. Pete Alonso vs. 7. Carlos Santana

3. Josh Bell vs. 6. Ronald Acuna Jr

MLB and T-Mobile are offering up a chance at $250,000 if you and get a perfect bracket and predict the longest home run, and who hits it. If you are into that kind of thing, give it a shot right here.

Looking at the Participants

Matt Chapman – Oakland Athletics

  • Home Runs – 21 (388 Plate Appearances)
  • Longest 2019 Home Run – 441 Feet
  • Hardest Hit Baseball in 2019 – 114.4 MPH
  • Average Exit Velocity in 2019 – 93.0 MPH

Pete Alonso – New York Mets

  • Home Runs – 30 (375 Plate Appearances)
  • Longest 2019 Home Run – 458 Feet
  • Hardest Hit Baseball in 2019 – 118.3 MPH
  • Average Exit Velocity in 2019 – 90.7 MPH

Josh Bell – Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Home Runs – 27 (388 Plate Appearances)
  • Longest 2019 Home Run – 474 Feet
  • Hardest Hit Baseball in 2019 – 116.2 MPH
  • Average Exit Velocity in 2019 – 93.3 MPH

Alex Bregman – Houston Astros

  • Home Runs – 23 (394 Plate Appearances)
  • Longest 2019 Home Run – 440 Feet
  • Hardest Hit Baseball in 2019 – 107.4 MPH
  • Average Exit Velocity in 2019 – 88.9 MPH

Joc Pederson – Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Home Runs – 20 (297 Plate Appearances)
  • Longest 2019 Home Run – 445 Feet
  • Hardest Hit Baseball in 2019 – 113.7 MPH
  • Average Exit Velocity in 2019 – 91.4 MPH

Ronald Acuna Jr – Atlanta Braves

  • Home Runs – 21 (412 Plate Appearances)
  • Longest 2019 Home Run – 466 Feet
  • Hardest Hit Baseball in 2019 – 115.3 MPH
  • Average Exit Velocity in 2019 – 91.3 MPH

Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians

  • Home Runs – 19 (378 Plate Appearances)
  • Longest 2019 Home Run – 426 Feet
  • Hardest Hit Baseball in 2019 – 112.8 MPH
  • Average Exit Velocity in 2019 – 92.3 MPH

Vladimir Guerrero Jr – Toronto Blue Jays

  • Home Runs – 8 (253 Plate Appearances)
  • Longest 2019 Home Run – 451 Feet
  • Hardest Hit Baseball in 2019 – 118.9 MPH (#1 this season)
  • Average Exit Velocity in 2019 – 89.0 MPH

The Prize

The winner of the home run derby gets a cool $1,000,000. That’s more money than Matt Chapman, Ronald Acuna Jr, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Pete Alonso, and Josh Bell make for playing the entire season this year. That is a heck of a motivating factor for these guys in particular. Not that Alex Bregman, Carlos Santana, or Joc Pederson would turn away that kind of money – but it’s a different animal for the guys not making 7 or 8-figures this season. That said, the total prize pool is $2.5M, though the breakdown beyond the winner is not specified.

The Rules

The rules haven’t changed in the last few years. Each player just needs to best their opponent in the round rather than everyone in a given round to advance. Each player gets 4 minutes per round. A player can get an additional 30 seconds in a round if they hit two baseballs over 440 feet.

A player can call a time out that lasts for 45 seconds in the first and second round. In the finals a player gets two time outs if they choose – a 45 second time out and then a 30 second time out.

If there’s a tie, each player gets 60 seconds – with no time outs – to hit as many home runs as they can. If they are still tied after that each player gets 3 swings to top their opponent. That format continues until there’s a winner.

The Betting Favorites

Yes, people actually do bet on the home run derby. People will bet on ANYTHING, so this really isn’t a surprise. As I type this, here are the current odds:

  • Josh Bell: 7/2
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr: 9/2
  • Pete Alonso: 5/1
  • Joc Pederson: 5/1
  • Carlos Santana: 7/1
  • Alex Bregman: 8/1
  • Matt Chapman: 8/1
  • Ronald Acuna Jr: 10/1

Photo by Ian D’Andrea. You can find the license for this photo here. It’s been modified from it’s original version.

29 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    When did Yelich back out of this?

    • Doug Gray

      Over the weekend. He said his back was acting up, so he pulled out of the home run derby. He will still play in the All-Star game, though.

      What’s weird is that they just gave Matt Chapman the #1 seed since he replaced Yelich. The seedings are based on total home runs. It’s not like you need to study for your opponent, so I don’t know why they didn’t reseed things. But, I’m just some idiot who writes about baseball things online, not someone that Major League Baseball entrusts to make rational decisions for their product.

  2. Mason Red

    Juiced baseballs flying out in record numbers. Yawn…

  3. Doc

    The interesting bet would be how many contestants hit more in a round than the 13 hit in a real game earlier this year. Baseball has become an HR-or-bust league…double yawn…snooze.

  4. Joe

    Most of these guys are swinging and waiting to see where the ball lands. Just keep swinging. That’s why Vlad did so well. He didn’t stop to admire his work.

  5. Steve Mancuso

    Thom Brennaman said on the FSO broadcast that Vlad Jr. didn’t belong in the Home Run Derby.

    • Doug Gray

      I’m shocked by the fact that he was incorrect.

    • Mason Red

      Yeah what does he know? Only been around the game all his life and calls games professionally. The Brennaman bashing here is unbelievable. Talk about negativity.

      • Scott C

        The fact of the matter is that Thom did say that. Thom is constantly wrong, In my opinion it is because he doesn’t prepare and study for the game, he has been riding on his Dad’s coattails.

      • Doug Gray

        Being able to broadcast a game doesn’t make you Branch Rickey.

      • RojoBenjy

        Being in a coop doesn’t make you a chicken. Being in a garage doesn’t make you a car. Broadcasting baseball doesn’t make you an expert in baseball.

      • Michael Smith

        My sister has been around insurance products her whole life so she should know how to write the algorithms for policy risk.

      • Mason Red

        Neither does being a writer in RLN.

      • MrRed

        Mason, you’re correct that writing for RLN doesn’t necessarily make one an expert about baseball. But, when you consider that these folks do this voluntarily, on their own time, and clearly have put in research and effort on their posts – we can safely give them the benefit of a doubt.

        If you want to complain about people complaining – well, that’s just asinine. But it’s your prerogative, I guess.

      • Mason Red

        Mr Red it didn’t take a lot if research for DG to take a swipe at TB. Vlad G wasn’t invited to the HR Derby because of his accomplishments. It was because of his name. Yes he put on a show….with juiced baseballs….and it showed he deserved to be there. I just don’t see it as validation that Thom B doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to baseball. There are this here who don’t like Thom or Marty. That’s their right. I do like them and that’s my right. You posted talking about those who complain but you yourself are complaining too. I’m not taking anything away from the writers here and the research they do but it doesn’t mean everyone is going to agree. This has been the debate here the past few days about those who disagree with the writers especially about the “improvement” of the Reds. Those who disagree…who still see a losing team and are frustrated about it…are deemed as being negative. I have been deemed as being negative which is fine. I have my opinions and I don’t care if there are those…including writers here…who disagree. I thought it was disrespectful what DG said about TB. He knew he would have supporters who dislike Thom and Marty. I saw it as an unnecessary swipe so I responded. It wasn’t complaining. It was posting my opinion.

      • rex aultman

        I think Thom doesn’t pay attention to the very game he is calling.

      • MrRed

        I’m actually just observing (bemusedly) not making any complaint on your comment. It just seemed silly for you to take a stand on this particular thread to defend Thom or Marty. This was just one example of Thom throwing out an opinion (albeit uninformed).

        Not that I need to defend him, but I don’t think Steve’s comment was “unnecessary”. It’s a blog and opinions are shared. With his platform, Thom deserves to be called out if he’s not on point, which occurs frequently. A lot of people listen to him and many take his words as fact when they aren’t necessarily true. He should be held to a higher standard than us amateurs and should be criticized when he falls short.

        I haven’t seen the “negative” labels you mentioned when you or others have disagreed. Although I haven’t read every single comment thread in the last several days. Seems like there’s always disagreement. But as long as it’s civil and substantive, I still think this is a great forum for discussion the Reds and baseball in general.

      • Matt WI

        @Rex. I’ve thought the very same thing. Thom could have been a relief pitcher given his ability to forget the last outcome and just go on plowing ahead with whatever he wants to say next. Makes one quite resilient to the negative outcomes. Golfing with him would be a hoot too!

        IMO his weaknesses far outweigh his strengths in broadcasting and I would relish a new voice.

      • Chris

        Mason Red, I used to feel very much like you do. I grew up with Marty and Joe, and lived in Chicago for a few years after college and listened to Harry when the Cubs played the Reds. I forgave them the broadcast errors because they were getting older, and i didnt expect them to be perfect. They entertained me. That was enough. Marty is going to mis-speak, get a name or a count wrong, and that doesnt bother me. Marty is going to speak his mind, and sometimes I agree, sometimes I dont, but I still give him a pass and will miss him after this year. Now, as time has moved on, and broadcasters have changed, so have my expectations. I never had a strong opinion one way or the other regarding Thom in years past. He was ok, but I liked listening to Chris Welch. What I have noticed this year is that multiple times a game Chris will contradict Thom. Some recent examples that come to mind are Thom questioning a batter taking a fastball “right down the middle” when the box on TV (not perfect) showed the pitch low and outside. Chris chimed in saying he felt the batter was right to take the pitch, it should have been called a ball, and the hitter couldnt have done much with it had he hit it. Chris added a strikeout is better than grounding into a double play in that situation. Thom has also been questioning pitching changes and double switches made during the game, in a tone that implies the manager doesnt know what he is doing. Chris countered with the fact the coaching staff probably has better information/stats to base their decision on that he and Thom. I I want my broadcasters to report what is going on, give me the facts and accounts of things going on that are not on my screen. Dont question managerial moves made during real time. Thom, in those instances has been unprofessional in my opinion due to the negativity he introduces to the broadcast. Not trying to pile on, just saying i think he has changed, and not for the better. Sad thing is, he can do 98% of his job well, but if he is openly sarcastic and negative the other 2%, that ruins it for me. The post game show can question the manager about his moves. Not mid game. My two cents.

      • Mason Red

        Chris I don’t consider your comments as piling on and I agree with just about everything you said. I knew what the response would be to my comments due to the anti Marty and Thom crowd here. My thing too is it can’t be easy covering a losing team year after year after year. I’m sure Marty thinks back to the 70s when he started here and remembers what is was like calling games for a winning team and franchise. The Reds were competitive when Thom came here too. I too will miss Marty when he’s gone. He is the last link to the glory days.

      • redhead2019

        Mason, look at the Pot calling the Kettle black. You say that Vlad was thee because of his name? How do you think Thom got started into broadcasting? He was one of the most iconic broadcasters on radio’s son. It is routine in almost every game that Thom broadcasts that he says things off the cuff that are most of the time uninformed, which isn’t untrue. Neither Doug nor Steve took a shot at Thom or Vlad, they were just stating their opinion. People may complain about the Brennamens is because they have been around for a long time and tend to open their mouths before they think, that’st how they are, years of service aside. Stop complaining about those who are complaining, and enjoy the game or don’t comment on the page.

      • Grand Salami

        This year (early), Thom saw the Puig Fans with their horse heads and a Cuban flag. He called the flag Venezuelan and then went on a tirade for the rest of the inning about the number of Venezuelan players and how horrible it’s been for their families back home. All true but the entire monologue was based off Puig and Cuban flag. It was epic.

  6. Jreis

    I think I am not alone here when I say I love the reds but I dont love mlb much anymore. In fact I really don’t even like it.

    One of the reasons was on display tonight. I mean these guys are huge. Forget looking like NFL linebackers they are starting to look like offensive linemen. Seems like these guys just bulk up to get a couple of 30 home run years, sign there 5 year huge contract which is peppered by injury then pull a Prince Fielder and retire before age 30.

    Let’s just say the longevity records are Extremely safe at this point.

    • Mason Red

      I agree totally. The HR Derby now overshadows the ASG. I watched last night because it’s an annual tradition for me as is watching the ASG . I saw juiced players hitting juiced baseballs 450 feet. MLB feels HRs brings fans to the bandboxes like GABP built specifically for HRs and now MLB owns the company that makes the baseballs which are juiced. Records were set last night in the HR Derby but like the records set by Barry Bonds those records have a huge asterisk.

      • VaRedsFan

        Where are these fans at GABP that you speak of? The Reds hit HR’s, which seems to be the majority of their runs. If the Reds start winning, then the fans will come.

  7. Don A

    Something Definitely “up” with these baseballs. Verlander is right! This Homerun Derby was a joke!

  8. TR

    I have no interest at all in the Homerun Derby. Major leaguers hitting slow pitches into the stands is like kids hitting on the sandlot. Frazier winning the Derby in 2015 is one of the highlights of the Red’s last four seasons.

  9. Centerfield

    I noticed that some of the “pitchers” in the HR contest were throwing a little harder/straighter than in the past, maybe because most hitters can’t handle the slow stuff. MLB is struggling to compete with other sports in terms of fan interest, so I understand the juiced baseballs. Unfortunately the pace of a baseball game just doesn’t translate well to the microwave generation. I think MLB is going about addressing it somewhat “backwards.” They need to shift the game to hit and run, stolen bases, steady action as opposed to the hitter looking at 5 pitches and then swinging for the fence. But I’m an old-timer so what do I know….

    • Jreis

      Yes centerfield I totally agree. The stolen bases and hit and runs are what make baseball exciting. I honestly enjoy going to minor league games much more. You see more fundamental baseball played at a much faster pace.