The four best Home Run Derby candidates are participating in the Midsummer Novelty, and that’s all that matters. I could spend a paragraph or two complaining that Justin Bour or Mike Moustakas might take some of the attention away from our sweet brobdingnagian dinger angel Aaron Judge, except that’s just petty. The Home Run Derby will feature the four contestants I wanted, and four others to round out the numbers.
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Here’s the full list of Home Run Derby participants, in order of how excited I am to watch them:
Here’s a little bit on how these minor league equivalencies work. They’re not projections of what might happen in the future, but they’re a good way to look backward at how a player would’ve done in a major league environment.
That makes sense given their physical builds. Jordan’s baseball size, as listed by Baseball Reference, was 6’6 and 205 pounds. Tebow’s is 6’3, 255. Tebow is only slugging .364 for his entire minor league career, but again, Jordan slugged .266 in Double-A. That’s couldn’t hit your way out of a wet paper bag territory. He had 21 extra-base hits in almost 500 at-bats, which is brutally hard to do if you’re not a pitcher.
Both of these guys are bad hitters by the standards of the professional game. Tebow’s extra oomph probably makes him better on the whole, though.
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They need a starter who can match up with the other team’s top two pitchers just in case their lineup is getting bested, a complement to Keuchel at his best. Verlander might be that guy. Or he might be a rich man’s Samardzija at this stage of his career — good for keeping his team in the game and giving them a chance to win, but not necessarily dominating or putting said team on his back anymore.