Will The Home Run Derby Mess With Joc Pederson’s Swing?
By Scott Andes
It was announced this afternoon that Joc Pederson will compete in the 2015 Home Run Derby. Joc will be paired with the Oriole’s Manny Machado in the first round of the derby. MLB has changed the rules of the derby this year. They will be implementing a clock and timing each round. Each player will have five minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The old way they used to do it was to give each player ten outs. Meaning anything hit that wasn’t a home run would be counted as an out. This year a hitter can stop the clock by hitting a home run within the final minute. The clock can start again if the hitter does not hit a home run in fair territory, or swings and misses at a pitch.
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Hitters can be awarded bonus time based on home run length. If a batter hits two homers that exceed 420 feet, then one minute is added. For long balls that exceed 470 feet 30 seconds will be added. Eight hitters will be competing in the home run derby with one hitter from each league squaring off against the other slugger in each bracket. The winner of each bracket moves on to face the next hitter. There will be two rounds before the final round that will determine the winner. Any ties will be broken by a 90 second swing-off. If the two are still tied than a three-swing swing-off will determine the winner.
The batters are seeded by their current season home run totals. In the first round Albert Pujols of the Angels will be going against super prospect Kris Bryant from the Cubs. Reds Todd Frazier will go up against Ranger’s first baseman Prince Fielder. Josh Donaldson of the A’s will take on Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs, and Joc will be up against Manny Machado. Joc is seeded number 4, while Pujols is seeded number 1. The rest of the seeding is as follows, Frazier-2, Donaldson-3, Machado-5, Rizzo-6, Fielder-7, and Bryant-8. Statcast will be the technology used to measure all of the home runs.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The question is, will the home run derby mess up Joc’s swing? The usual theory is that when a hitter enters the home run derby he struggles to hit for power afterwards. Supposedly the thinking is that the derby changes a hitter’s swing. Despite Joc being an all-star, he has been struggling in the month of July. Joc batted just .222 (22 for 99) in June, and has hit just .050 (1 for 20) in July.
If you remember Matt Kemp participated in the Home Run Derby a few years ago. His power dropped significantly in the weeks following the derby. Many people felt that the derby messed with his swing too. Will it do the same to Joc?
Call to the Pen
The rookie center fielder has been having a tremendous power season. Joc has hit 20 home runs this year and has 38 runs batted in. However he is hitting only .230 and has struck out 100 times in 346 plate appearances.
I don’t really think there is much truth to the theory of the home run derby messing up a slugger’s power stroke in the second half. I think major league hitters can adjust their swings for different situations. Normally they are that good. Joc Pederson is very good. He has been slumping over the last few weeks, and the concern is there. What do you guys think?
The 86 annual all-star game will be played at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park on Tuesday July 14. The 2015 home run derby will be held on Monday July 13 at 5 PM PST.