Major League Baseball changed up the format and added some new rules to hopefully speed up the event and create more excitement to the Home Run Derby.
The winner of each head-to-head matchup will move on to the semifinals, while the loser will be eliminated. The two players who emerge from the semifinals will square off in a third and final round.
In the new tournament-style format, the first round will feature Albert Pujols (No. 1 seed) against Chicago’s Kris Bryant (No. 8), Hometown hero Todd Frazier (No. 2) of the Reds vs. Prince Fielder (No. 7), Josh Donaldson (No. 3) vs. Anthony Rizzo (No. 6) and Joc Pederson (No. 4) vs. Manny Machado (No. 5). The seedings were based on each player’s 2015 home run total through July 7.
There won’t be much standing around taking pitches to get a feel for what the pitcher is giving the hitter. There won’t be steps out of the batter’s box while other players fan the hitter with towels or bring up Gatorade for well timed product placement.
This year’s Derby is on a timer that will start with the release of the first pitch. Each batter will have five minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. However, batters can extend their time in four ways:
1. Utilizing their one “time out” per round (OK, I guess there will be product placement and towel fanning)
2. Hitting a home run in the final minute, pauses the clock until the batter hits a ball that does not land in home run territory or swings and misses at a pitch
3. Hitting at least two homers that equal or exceed 420 feet (as calculated by MLB.com’s Statcast technology), earning one minute of bonus time
4. Hitting a home run that travels at least 475 feet, earning 30 seconds of bonus time
The distance-related bonus time will be capped at one minute, 30 seconds.