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Updated: June 24th, 2014 2:07pm
Wetmore: Picking AL and NL teams for All-Star Home Run Derby

Wetmore: Picking AL and NL teams for All-Star Home Run Derby

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by Derek Wetmore

Have you heard about the new format for the home run derby at this year's MLB All-Star Game? If not, here's a quick primer on the process.

Five players a side and a bracket-style tournament will pit the American League champion against the National League champion for the title of All-Star Game Home Run Derby Champion. Who will be this year's ASGHRDC? Well, there's some inherent randomness involved, but let's at least pick some teams, so we know the group of 10 players from which we're choosing.

This isn't at all scientific. It's just a way to show some of the best power hitters in 2014. It's how I picked my home run derby team because the results of the home run derby don't matter but it's still fun to assemble A.L. and N.L. teams.

1) I started with the home run leaderboard for each league.

2) Then I recorded each player's isolated power (ISO, which subtracts batting average from slugging percentage);

3) and his home run per fly ball percentage. I included the league ranking of each player on the leaderboard based for each category.

4) Then I added together each player's ranking in each of the three categories, with the lowest total scoring being the best.

5) Then, contrary to logic, I deviated slightly from my rankings just to assemble the team I wanted.


Disagree with my teams? I'd like to hear about it in the comments. Also, feel free to put forth your best 5-man AL and NL derby team.


A.L. Home run leaders

ISO (rank)



Edwin Encarnacion 24

.324 (2)

20.5 (5)


Nelson Cruz 23

.295 (3)

24.0 (2)


Jose Abreu 22

.339 (1)

34.4 (1)


Victor Martinez 19

.271 (5)

18.4 (9)


Josh Donaldson 18

.228 (10)

19.8 (6)


Brandon Moss 17

.261 (6)

18.5 (8)


David Ortiz 17

.223 (11)

17.2 (11)


Mike Trout 16

.287 (4)

17.4 (10)


Albert Pujols 16

.221 (12)

17.0 (12)


Jose Bautista 15

.221 (13)

16.9 (13)


Brian Dozier 15

.205 (17)

16.5 (16)


Adam Jones 14

.193 (20)

16.1 (19)


Yoenis Cespedes 14

.238 (7)

12.4 (24)


Miguel Cabrera 13

.236 (9)

16.3 (18)


George Springer 13

.218 (15)

21.3 (4)


Chris Davis 13

.219 (14)

22.8 (3)



My picks:

Captain Jose Bautista makes the team because he's the captain and his reputation as a long ball threat over the past four years is matched only by the Great Cabrera.

2. Jose Abreu is putting together an awfully impressive season. He doesn't have the track record some of these players do, but that should not be held against this A.L. Rookie of the Year candidate.

3. Nelson Cruz is way outperforming his contract for the Baltimore Orioles. Cruz, like Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew, saw his market severely impacted by draft compensation attached to his signing.

4. Edwin Encarnacion. I considered going elsewhere, but I couldn't leave out the current home run leader. Two Blue Jays on the squad is fine with me--no team has more home runs than Toronto.

The rest of the pack is totally bunched up so one could make a reasonable argument for plenty of these players and it's my list so I'm choosing...

5.  Mike Trout. I think the best player in baseball belongs on the team, partially just for the sake of it. But he also has shown with his power numbers that he belongs in the conversation. Other deserving players who I think would have made solid choices but got squeezed: David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis.


And here are my NL selection:

N.L. Home run leaders

ISO (rank)



Giancarlo Stanton 20

.282 (2)

23.5 (1)


Troy Tulowitzki 18

.283 (1)

23.1 (2)


Todd Frazier 17

.241 (4)

20.5 (6)


Anthony Rizzo 16

.232 (7)

22.9 (3)


Paul Goldschmidt 15

.244 (3)

20.8 (4)


Justin Upton 14

.224 (9)

19.4 (7)


Ryan Howard 14

.186 (30)

18.2 (10)


Ian Desmond 14

.193 (25)

18.7 (9)


Michael Morse 13

.235 (5)

20.6 (5)


Khris Davis 13

.229 (8)

18.1 (11)


Adrian Gonzalez 13

.203 (18)

15.7 (15)


Mark Reynolds 13

.203 (19)

19.4 (8)


Carlos Gomez 12

.213 (11)

15.2 (19)


Charlie Blackmon 12

.187 (29)

13.6 (32)


Justin Morneau 12

.211 (14)

15.2 (18)


Freddie Freeman 12

.213 (10)

14.5 (24)



There is not as much to get excited about in the National League, so to select my team I'm going to deviate even further from something resembling a scientific approach. That isn't really fair but this is the home run derby with nothing on the line but entertainment and pride and I'm not designing this thing to be impartial and equitable.

Captain Troy Tulowitzki. One of the best players in baseball and is a deserving captain.

I pretty much realized who was going to make my team before crunching these numbers. I actually doubt these choices will be controversial to Twins fans.

2. Giancarlo Stanton. Perhaps the best pure power hitter in the game.

3. Justin Morneau. Tulowitzki already has been asked about selecting his teammate. "Justin's having a great year," Tulowitzki told ESPN on Monday. "I know the fans in Minnesota would love for him to participate."

4. Carlos Gomez. Since the derby is merely an exhibition, let's get as many former Twins as possible in the contest. His numbers this year don't necessarily justify my pick, put I wouldn't bet against him if I gambled on things like all-star game home run derbies.

5. Yasiel Puig. He's one of the most exciting players in baseball, so I dug a little deeper on the home run leaderboard to include Puig.

Using my team, notable NL snubs would include Todd Frazier, Anthony Rizzo and Paul Goldschmidt. All would make deserving candidates.

Who would make your home run derby team?

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for His previous stops include and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
In this story: Brian Dozier, Justin Morneau