The 2013 Home Run Derby: Should a New York Met Have to Compete?
Kansas City Royals’ fans booed New York Yankees’ second baseman, Robinson Cano during last year’s Home Run Derby. Cano, the American League captain, did not select Billy Butler, a slugger from the host city’s team, to participate in the competition, leading to continual boos from the crowd. This incident was embarrassing for the MLB, leading commissioner Bud Selig put forth the idea that the host team will always have a participant in the competition. The 2013 MLB All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field this summer, and the host New York Mets may have a player represent them in the derby, but who?
The Mets were 22nd in the league last season with only 139 home runs for the entire season. Since moving into Citi Field in 2009, the New York team has finished in the bottom third in home runs all four seasons. Whether it’s the high and deep fences at Citi or lack of power in the lineup, the fact is: the New York Mets do not hit home runs often.
Despite their lack of home run production, third baseman David Wright seems like an obvious choice from the Mets. However, after Wright finished second in the 2006 Home Run Derby, he had the longest hitting slump of his career. Although its tough to blame Wright’s slump solely on the Derby, he and the team definitely want to avoid a post All-Star break slump at all costs.
The issue is that David Wright is the only legitimate star player on the team, and is the face of the franchise. The only other notable power hitter on the team is first baseman Ike Davis, who finished with 32 home runs last season. Davis is a decent young player, but would be taking the spot of a better, more exciting National League power hitter.
Selig has not confirmed that he will put this new rule into effect and should not due to the absence of power on the rebuilding Mets. It made sense with the Royals because they had a legitimate power-hitter who had never competed and wanted to in Billy Butler. The Mets do not have that, and Ike Davis or worse should not be forced upon the National League captain just because of some unruly fans in Kansas City.