On The Field: 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby Presented by Head & Shoulders

2015 MLB Home Run Derby

Monday July 13, 2015 – 5:15pm Pacific

Great American Ball Park – Cincinnati, OH

TV: ESPN & MLB.com

Radio: ESPN Radio & ESPN Radio Deportes

The 30th Annual MLB Home Run Derby comes to us tonight with a completely new format, a couple of legendary sluggers, and a pair of the best power-hitting rookies to come along in a long time. The field for this year’s Home Run Derby was set on Wednesday July 8 and seeding was determined by each participant’s 2015 home run total at the close of play on July 6. TV coverage of the Derby on ESPN & MLB.com begins tonight at 5 PM Pacific. First pitch is slated for roughly 5:15 PM from Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

The New Format:

Past Derbys had featured rounds in which players were given 10 outs. Any swing that did not result in a home run (swing & miss, foul ball, etc.) constituted an out. As a result, participants would watch several pitches go by waiting for their perfect pitch. There were also as many as 12 participants in double-elimination brackets that would make for quite a long evening at the Home Run Derby.

This year’s format hopes to cut down not only on all of the pitches taken, but also the total amount of time it takes to complete the Derby. There will only be 8 participants (4 from the AL and 4 from the NL), the rounds will be timed (no outs), and the brackets are single-elimination.

Each batter will have 5 minutes to hit as many home runs as possible in each round, with the timer starting with the release of the first pitch. Any home run hit within one minute remaining will stop the timer immediately when the ball lands in home run territory. The timer will not then restart until the batter hits a ball that does not land in home run territory or swings & misses a pitch.

Additionally, batters can be awarded extra time based upon home run length. MLB’s new Statcast technology will provide official measurement of all Derby home runs. If a batter hits 2 or more home runs of more than 420 feet in a round, he will be awarded 1 additional minute. For every home run of at least 475 feet, 30 seconds of additional time will be added. Batters can earn no more than 1 minute, 30 seconds of total bonus time.

Ties in any round will be broken by a 90-second swing-off. If the batters remain tied after the 90-second swing-off, they will engage in successive 3-swing swing-offs until there is a winnter. If at any time the 2nd batter eclipses the first batter’s total, the round will immediately end and the 2nd batter will advance.

The Matchups:

1-Albert Pujols-LAA (26 HR) vs. 8-Kris Bryant-CHC (12 HR)

Albert Pujols follows through on a grand slam that put the Angels ahead 11-7 in the 7th inning of a game against the Oakland A's at O.co Coliseum on June 19, 2015 (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Kris Bryant drives a home run during the 8th inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field on June 22, 2015 (David Banks/Getty Images)

David Banks/Getty Images

The Angels’ Albert Pujols will get the honor of being the #1 seed as he is 2nd in all of MLB with 26 home runs on the season. Only the injured Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins has more (27). This first round matchup will be dubbed “The Legend vs. The Kid” as Pujols, in his 15th MLB season, is already a first-ballot Hall of Famer, while Bryant is a yound 23 year-old who just made his MLB debut on April 17 this season. The winner of this matchup will go on to face the winner between 4-Joc Pederson & 5-Manny Machado.

2-Todd Frazier-CIN (25 HR) vs. 7-Prince Fielder-TEX (14 HR)

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Here we have a matchup between the hometown hero and the savvy HR Derby veteran. Fielder is one of only 3 players (Ken Griffey, Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes being the other 2) to have won multiple Home Run Derbys. Fielder will be trying to join Griffey as the only players to have won 3 Derbys. Frazier is back for his 2nd Home Run Derby after competing last year in Minneapolis. The winner of this matchup will go on to face the winner between 3-Josh Donaldson & 6-Anthony Rizzo.

3-Josh Donaldson-TOR (21 HR) vs. 6-Anthony Rizzo-CHC (16 HR)

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Much like Frazier, Donaldson is returning for his 2nd Derby after participating last year in Minneapolis while Rizzo will be making his first appearance in the Home Run Derby. An interesting development to watch tonight will be whether Rizzo & Bryant advance. If they do, there will be a possibility of seeing two teammates square off in the final round. The winner of this matchup will go on to face the winner between 2-Todd Frazier & 7-Prince Fielder.

4-Joc Pederson-LAD (20 HR) vs. 5-Manny Machado-BAL (19 HR)

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

David Banks/Getty Images

David Banks/Getty Images

Pederson, another hot young 23 year-old power hitter who made his MLB debut last September and has really broken onto the scene here in 2015, will be taking on Machado, another of the games bright young stars. Even though he’s already in his 4th MLB season, Machado is also only 23 years of age and will be making his first appearance in the Home Run Derby. The winner of this matchup will go on to face the winner between 1-Albert Pujols & 8-Kris Bryant.

-Aaron Forstner

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