Monday, July 13, 2015

My Derby bracket

I have a love/hate relationship with the Home Run Derby.

Yes, it is fun watching the game's best smash balls out of the ballpark. There's no doubting that, and, for that reason, I've almost always tuned in to the Derby. It's provided a handful of memorable moments that I was lucky enough to see live. (Josh Hamilton, 2008.)

But then again, the fun of the Derby starts to wane after about a half-hour. And it doesn't help that guys take three out of every four pitches. My attention starts to dwindle after the first round, and I know I'm not the only one.

Thankfully, it seems like MLB finally got the memo this year. The (now) four-minute rounds are a good way to steer the Home Run Derby away from a Who Can Take the Most Pitches Derby. While there are still a few kinks I'd like to see fixed (get Chris Berman as far away from the All-Star Game as possible, please), I'm actually looking forward to tonight's Derby.

Plus, the new bracket format allows me a nice, tidy way of predicting my picks, because it's almost impossible to resist filling out a bracket.

#1 seed -- Albert Pujols vs. #8 seed -- Kris Bryant

It's experience against youth in the opening matchup.

If we were still going by the old Derby rules, I'd probably take Pujols, but I feel like the youth of Bryant will help him in this year's format. Plus, Bryant has one of the purest power strokes I've seen in a long, long time. Perhaps since Pujols himself.

I'm taking the upset here.

Winner: #8 Kris Bryant

#4 Joc Pederson vs. #5 Manny Machado

I've barely heard anyone mention Manny Machado's name in correlation with the Derby this year.

It seems like people are forgetting he's even in the thing, which, now that I say it, might make him a sleeper candidate. But, like Bryant, I have to go with the upstart rookie in this matchup.

Joc for the win.

Winner: #4 Joc Pederson

#3 Josh Donaldson vs. #6 Anthony Rizzo

This isn't easy to say.

Even though Anthony Rizzo is a supreme power hitter, even though he's one of the best all-around talents in the game, even though he's one of my favorite players in baseball, and even though he's the face of my beloved Cubs...

I have to go with Josh Donaldson.

Please forgive me, Rizz.

Winner: #3 Josh Donaldson

#2 Todd Frazier vs. #7 Prince Fielder

I'm thinking this will be the best head-to-head matchup of the first round.

Part of me wants to go with the fun-loving Prince, but it's hard for me to root against the hometown guy in this year's Derby.

The Toddfather gets the nod in the final first-round clash.

Winner: #2 Todd Frazier

#8 Kris Bryant vs. #4 Joc Pederson

Kicking off the semifinals is a battle of youth.

Bryant and Pederson are both fresh-faced rookies, and both should be in competition for the NL Rookie of the Year award come December. This is the one instance where I really hope I'm right with my predictions, because this youth vs. youth matchup would be a treat to watch.

It'll go down to the wire, but I can't go against the Chicago kid.

Winner: #8 Kris Bryant

#3 Josh Donaldson vs. #2 Todd Frazier

If Josh Donaldson can take down Anthony Rizzo, then the rest of the field shouldn't be much of a problem.

The last thing I want to be is a hometown party-pooper, but I have to go with the Blue Jays slugger here.

Winner: #3 Josh Donaldson

#8 Kris Bryant vs. #3 Josh Donaldson

And we've come to the final.

Two of the finest sluggers the game has to offer. Donaldson (a former Cubs farmhand) has already taken down one Cub, and looks to do it again here in this Hot Corner matchup.

I've had the privilege of watching Bryant play day-in and day-out this year, and, while I'm usually a skeptic when it comes to hot prospects...I'll just say that this kid is the real deal, and I look forward to watching him slug on the North Side for many years to come.

But I've seen quite a bit of Donaldson this year as well (Jays-White Sox contests in particular), and I'd argue that the guy has one of the sweetest swings in the game.

Once again, it pains me to say this, but...

2015 MLB Home Run Derby Champion: #3 Josh Donaldson

...I'm giving the crown to Donaldson.

Why the A's ever let this guy go is beyond me.

I'm notoriously bad at predictions with any sport, so take this post with a grain of salt and please feel free to laugh in my face if Donaldson gets eliminated in the first round without hitting a single dinger.

If nothing else, I cared about the new format enough to specifically comb through my selections. I can't say I remember the last time I put this much stock in the Derby.

Maybe this is the shot in the arm the Derby needed.


Zippy Zappy said...

"Why the A's ever let this guy (Donaldson) go is beyond me."

Money. The A's know that he's talented. But they also know that he was going go get expensive, not just as a free agent but now that he's in his arb years. Given that he's on pace to have one of the greatest seasons ever as Blue Jays third baseman (you can hear Rolen & Glaus crying in the distance) the A's were correct.

I would watch the home run derby but only if half of the participants were sluggers who did nothing BUT hit majestic home runs like Chris Carter (and Luis Valbuena apparently lmao) and if the other half of the participants were players who'd have to hit the ball twice to send it out like Munenori Kawasaki and Ben Revere. Oh and Bartolo Colon MUST be a participant. MUST. It would also really be a big help if none of the Derby Participants were players who're actually in the All Star Game.

Mike said...

I got Rizzo winning it all...

Say it with me : baaack...baaaack....baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Tony Burbs said...

Forget the A's.... why did the Cubs ever let this guy go??

Well, I know the answer to that question; but, I reserve the right to unfairly gripe!

Drew said...

What a great derby, best I've seen since Hamilton won in 2008. I picked Fielder to beat Pederson, and came pretty close if I say so myself. It was a lot of fun though; the new format was smoother than I expected.

Red Cardboard said...


DaddyMike said...

I was a Berman for years, but his act is just past its time. He seemed to miss a lot of calls tonight. As if he was watching a video feed and there live.

Fuji said...

I had your back on Donaldson... he was my pick too. But in the end... I was glad to see Frazier win it in front of his fans.

BobWalkthePlank said...

I liked the new format. Helped keep a better pace. Glad to see the Todd Father get the win.

The Junior Junkie said...

Great derby.