Here are the participants this year, in order of their
- Chris Davis, Orioles (L) - 2013 HR: 37
- Pedro Alvarez, Pirates (L) - 2013 HR: 24
- Robinson Cano, Yankees (L) 2013 HR: 21
- Michael Cuddyer, Rockies (R) - 2013 HR: 16
- Prince Fielder, Tigers (L) 2013 HR: 16
- Yoenis Cespedes, A's (R) 2013 HR: 15
- Bryce Harper, Nationals (L) - 2013 HR: 13
- David Wright, Mets (R) 2013 HR: 13
It seems like a somewhat underwhelming field this season, only two of the top nine in home-runs thus far taking part in the contest. Admittedly, there are some good reasons - Carlos Gonzalez is not 100% - though it took that to open up a slot for Alvarez. But the lack of the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Adam Dunn, Dominic Brown, etc. leave the field looking more than a little light in actual sluggers this year. Still, at least Citi Field should be more hitter-friendly, now they've moved the fences in. Only 108 home-runs were hit there in 2011, but that figure jumped by almost 50% to 155 last season, the first after the configuration change. There doesn't appear to be a platoon edge thus far.
Also some disappointment that Paul Goldschmidt wasn't asked to take part. I can kinda understand that - since Luis Gonzalez won it in 2001, the only Diamondback to take part was Chris Young, who managed exactly one in 2010. But I'd rather Goldzilla rest up, and not do anything that even risks disrupting his swing for the second-half. The format is the same as usual. Every hitter gets ten "outs" (any swings which do not result in a homer), and at the end of the first round, the top four batters carry their scores forward into the second round, and another ten outs. The top two combined scores then move on to the final, which starts with a clean slate for the last ten outs.
The American League has won it five of the last six occasions, with the only exception when Prince Fielder won it at Busch Stadium, as a Brewer, in 2009. He is also the reigning champion, having won it last year as a Tiger, making him the first player with multiple titles since Ken Griffey Jr. won his third event in 1999. The all-time mark is 41 homers, set by Bobby Abreu in 2005, and the single-round record is the 28 hit by Josh Hamilton in the first round of 2008. He didn't actually end up winning, due to the final round reset, even though he hit as many in that round alone, as Fielder did in the entire competition last year. No-one since has reached even half that in one round.
Proceedings will get under way at 5pm Arizona time, though I imagine, as usual, it'll be a while after that before first pitch, what with all the introductions and general razzmatazz.