By Matt Weitz
ATLANTA – After being announced as a starting outfielder for the National League All-Stars last week, Braves slugger Ronald Acuña Jr. declared that he would take part in the 2019 Home Run Derby. With 20 home runs and counting before the All-Star break, Acuña hopes to become the first Atlanta Brave to win the derby.
Last year, Freddie Freeman was in the Home Run Derby, but performed poorly after recovering from a wrist injury the year before. Acuña has greater natural power than Freeman and has shown that no pitcher in baseball is too great for him to hit home runs against.
The Home Run Derby currently consists of six players including: Acuña, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Pete Alonso, Christian Yelich, Josh Bell and, Cleveland’s hometown favorite, Carlos Santana . With eight players required for the derby, two more players will declare by Wednesday when the official bracket is revealed. The derby will be played in Cleveland the night before the All-Star Game, July 8.
Though the Home Run Derby’s format has changed over the years, the current format has an eight-player bracket, with three rounds featuring head-to-head matchups. This means that in the first two rounds, the two players with the most home runs could play each other, resulting in only one of those two advancing. This means players who hit less home runs in those rounds could still advance and have more power left in the tank for the later stages of the derby.
Acuña currently holds the Major League Baseball statcast record for the longest home run since MLB created the statcast. Since the people who throw baseballs to the hitters at the home run derby want those hitters to hit a home run, it is likely that Acuña will hit home runs further than anything that has been seen from him in a normal baseball game.
Tune in Monday July 8th at 8 p.m. ET to see if Acuña can win the 2019 Home Run Derby and take home $1 million.