The 2014 Home Run Derby is set to feature yet another new format. For first time in the event’s history, the Derby will include a bracket system, pitting the AL vs. NL. Three members of each league were already chosen by captains Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Bautista, and now the final members have been selected: Justin Morneau (NL) and Josh Donaldson (AL).
Donaldson has put up better HR and RBI numbers on the year (19, 63), compared to Morneau (13, 59), but Morneau has higher SLG and OPS. You have to believe that Tulo being the NL captain had some impact on his teammate, Morneau, being selected. You can argue that several players should have been added ahead of the Rockies’ first baseman, but it’s hard to say that he’s a bad choice for the NL team.
As far as the new format, it goes something like this:
Five players from each league will bat in the opening round. Each player gets seven outs, compared to the old number of 10. The player who hits the most home runs in each league will receive a bye to the third round. The next two players from each league with the most home runs will face off in a head-to-head matchup in round two.
The winners of those matchups will advance to round three to square off against the league’s top seed. The final round will pit the winners of the AL and NL brackets against each other.
Perfect? Probably not. Better than other skills competition formats (2014 Slam Dunk Contest)? You bet. At least this isn’t a true team competition, as one player will still be crowned as the home run champ when it’s all said and done.