Harper vs. Stanton. Ichiro vs. MadBum? Picking the perfect Aaron Judge-less Home Run Derby field

From ESPN - March 9, 2018

The day after Aaron Judge won the Home Run Derby in July, the worlds best hitter stood near the batting cage and explained why he had found himself awed by Judges power. People dont understand how hard it is to do what he did, Joey Votto said, motioning toward that distant area in right-center field where so many of Judges home runs had landed.

Judge was the perfect Home Run Derby champion: Hes the biggest player in baseball history, he wrecked the competition, and he had fun, with grace -- he would not start the trophy ceremony until Danilo Valiente, his batting practice pitcher, was located and placed by his side to share credit. So yes, its disappointing that we wont see the Judge fireworks again, assuming he doesnt change his mind (and Id pin the odds of that somewhere below the chances of the Marlins winning the World Series this year).

But its his prerogative to do what he wants, maybe to protect his surgically repaired shoulder, and the show must go on. Here is the Judge-less Home Run Derby field wed love to see this July:

Bryce Harper

The All-Star Game is in Washington during the final season before Harper reaches free agency, and he has indicated he will be ready to go, if asked (and if healthy).

Spoiler alert: He will be asked.

Giancarlo Stanton

Extroverts draw energy from those around them, and introverts expend energy when around others. In a smaller parallel world, the same can be said for Home Run Derby participants: Some find it to be a grind, and some really seem to love itand Stanton seems to be a Derby extrovert. He has seemed to love it in the past, and a final between Stanton and Harper might provide the best possible showdown.

Joey Gallo

What the Rangers first baseman hits cant be classified as merely home runs. They are epic; they are moonshots. He hits them higher --and usually fartherthan anybody else and at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Gallo would be a legit threat to win the Derby.

Gary Sanchez

The Yankees catcher took down Stanton last year and is fully capable of winning this event. After a few months of living in the shadow of Judge and Stanton, maybe hed like another shot at center stage. (And if he gets the trophy, maybe he could help coax Judge out of Derby retirement in some future year for a showdown).

Mike Trout

The best player on the planet already has 201 career homers, at age 26, and if he ever wanted to participate, you know Major League Baseball would love to have him. And he should be asked.

But presumably, hell say no. Which leads us to


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