Major League Baseball has announced the initial eight contestants in the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby which will be on July 13 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince unveils the powerhouse lineup:
"We don't yet have the full field of guys taking part in the unique form of 'Target' practice known as the 20th annual Gillette Home Run Derby, but the supply of sluggers is taking shape.
"As offiically announced on ESPN's 'SportsCenter' on Tuesday night, Giancarlo Stanton of the (Miami) Marlins, Yasiel Puig of the (Los Angeles) Dodgers, Todd Frazier of the (Cincinnati) Reds, Brian Dozier of the (Minnesota) Twins, Adam Jones of the (Baltimore) Orioles and defending Home Run Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes of the A's have joined National League captain Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies and American League captain Jose Bautista of the (Toronto) Blue Jays in the All-Star Week event.
"They'll be ready to take aim at Target Field at 8 p.m. ET on Monday night (ESPN).
"That leaves one unclaimed spot in each league. Those announcements will come Thursday.
"However the rest of the field shakes out, the Derby will be taking on a much different look than it did not only when it was first unveiled at the Metrodome in 1985 but even from last year.
"A new format has been installed, as the five players from each league will receive seven outs instead of the usual 10 in the first round. The player who hits the most homers in each league will receive an automatic bye to the third round (semifinals). The next two players from each league with the most homers will square off against one another in a head-to-head matchup in the second round (seven outs), with the two winners advancing to the semifinals against the league's top seed (again, with seven outs).
"The final round will also consist of seven outs, and, if necessary, the first tiebreaker would allow each of the two remaining participants three swings apiece.
"Cespedes, who has 14 homers this year, has shown he has a swing perfectly geared toward this event, but he'll have stiff competition in his attempt to become the Derby's first back-to-back winner since Ken Griffey, Jr. (1998-99).
"Stanton stands out as possibly the most intriguing of the Derby contenders, simply because of his size (6-foot-6, 240 pounds) and brute strength.
"'If I didn't get this guy to participate, I'd be in trouble,' Tulowitzki joked at the ESPN announcement.
"Through Monday, Stanton has amassed 138 homers in the first 2,087 at-bats of his Major League career, including an NL-leading 21 homers this year.
"'He's got the strength and God-given bat speed,' teammate Jeff Baker said. 'No one else is close to him. He hits balls that physically are not supposed to happen.'"
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick weighs in on other sluggers who could join the competition:
"Colorado's Justin Morneau would be nice if he makes the NL All-Star team through the online Final Vote, which concludes Thursday. He won an MVP award with the Twins in 2006 and was a fan favorite in Minnesota before concussion problems put a crimp in his career and paved his way out of town. Morneau's final vote candidacy could receive a dual push from Colorado fans, who are enjoying his comeback with the Rockies, and Twins boosters who would love a reunion.
"Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez, another slugger potentially on Tulowitzki's radar, is the National League's answer to Adrian Beltre as the player most likely to need an excavation tool to dig his way back to freedom once he corkscrews himself into the batter's box with a violent swing. As Gomez recently told Milwaukee reporters, 'I go to the Home Run Derby every day.'
"Bautista appears to have fewer options than Tulowitzki in rounding out his roster. White Sox rookie sensation Jose Abreu would be an obvious attraction, but he's been lukewarm, at best, in his public comments about the Derby.
"Oakland's Josh Donaldson (19 homers) and Seattle's Kyle Seager (13) have the highest home run totals among other AL All-Stars available. Donaldson, who once made a splash by hitting a home run into a basket during practice in Oakland, recently told A's beat reporters he would be interested if asked to participate."