Last year’s Home Run Derby champion, Robinson Cano, will have his pick of the best sluggers in the American
League to form the league’s team for this year’s derby. Matt Kemp, the National League MVP runner-up, will be selecting the participants for the NL side. Cano and Kemp will both be participating in the Derby, but they will select three additional players each to head to Kansas City in search of the long-ball crown.
Last year was the first time Major League Baseball instituted captains for the Home Run Derby, and it was not without back-lash. With the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby at Chase Field in Arizona last year, Prince Fielder – then of the Milwaukee Brewers – was the National League’s captain. He failed to select the red-hot local hero Justin Upton, and fans at both the Derby and the game let him hear about it.
Of course, the contest is all in good fun, and both Cano and Kemp will select charities for whom they will be performing and donating to. According to MLB.com, both Major League Baseball and State Farm, the Derby’s sponsor for a number of years now, will donate to the Boys & Girls Club of America. $125,000 in total will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club, but with the combined efforts of MLB and State Farm an additional $150,000 will be donated to the winning Derby captain’s charity of choice.
The Home Run Derby will take place July 9th at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, the day before the All-Star Game. The event will begin at 8 ET and will be televised on ESPN. The Home Run Derby is often the most popular event during the All-Star break, and with the shows many of the players have put on in the past few years, there’s no question why. Cano set the final round record last year with 12 dingers, and he will look to build on that this year.