On Monday evening, the two captains of the American League and National League Home Run Derby squads made their respective choices for the contest. And as is normal for these types of events, there were a couple of surprises.
According to Paul Hagen of MLB.com, National League captain David Wright has named Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, and Rockies outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer as his teammates in this year’s battle.
On the other side of the diamond, two-time American League captain Robinson Cano will be joined by Major League home run leader Chris Davis of the Orioles and former champion Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers. That said, if your math is up to par, you will notice that Cano is missing a selection.
Cue the mystery “ba, ba, baaa” tune.
Apparently, Cano is still waiting to hear back from his final choice. Two of the names being bounced around are Toronto Blue Jays sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, both of whom have crossed the 20 home run plateau already in 2013. They are joined in the rumor mill by Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and Adam Dunn of the White Sox.
Now, while it would be interesting to the fan base to see either one of the Blue Jays bombers in the Derby, I think the general consensus would be to have both of them sit it out.
Bautista has participated twice in the past, making it through round 1 in 2011 and then losing in the finals in 2012 to Fielder. He’s already told Eric Koreen of the National Post that he will participate if asked.
However, after recently getting hot with the bat, do the Blue Jays really want Bautista to change his swing for the competition with a very important second half coming up? Also, after participating in the Derby in 2012, Bautista would play in just 6 games afterwards. Is it worth the injury risk?
Then there is Edwin Encarnacion, perhaps Toronto’s most worthy All-Star, who is already nursing a sore hamstring and had the insight to say that he wouldn’t participate if asked. Could he be swayed by Cano?
Personally, I’d prefer to see both sit out and keep focused on playing the game against live pitching and putting good swings on the ball. But who am I?
So Blue Jays fans, how do you feel?