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2015 MLB Home-Run Derby Preview

A radical shake-up in format and approach for the home-run derby this year. Who'll be holding the Home-Run Derby trophy high tonight?

Who'll be holding the Home-Run Derby trophy high tonight?
Who'll be holding the Home-Run Derby trophy high tonight?
Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Here's the bracket:

In previous years, the rounds have involved each player hitting until they have made 10 "outs" - swings not resulting in a home-run. However, for the first time, this year hitters will be going against the clock, which should at least stop the tedious process of watching Prince Fielder stare as pitch after pitch drifts past him until he finds one just to his liking. The way it'll work is a little complex, so pay attention, as this may be on the end of term test...

  • Each batter gets five minutes per round, beginning when the first pitch is thrown.
  • For any home runs hit in the final minute, the clock will stop, and won't start again until the batter either hits a ball that isn't a home run or swings and misses.
  • Hitters can earn bonus time: 60 seconds if they two home runs that go at least 420 feet, and an additional 30 seconds if they hit one of at least 475 feet.
  • They can call one 45-second timeout at any point.
  • As you'd expect, whoever hits most home-runs moves on to the next round.
  • If the scores are tied, there'll be 90 seconds of extra time, and then three swing sudden-death rounds as needed to determine a winner.
  • The highest seed goes second, and if they pass the tally of the first batter, their round will end at that point.

Here are the eight contestants, in seeding order, along with the number of home-runs hit in the first-half of the season (which appears to have determined the seeding), and their odds to win tonight, from

  1. Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels - 26 HR, 9/2
  2. Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds - 25 HR, 5/1
  3. Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays - 21 HR, 7/1
  4. Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers - 20 HR, 5/1
  5. Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles - 19 HR, 9/1
  6. Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs - 16 HR, 7/1
  7. Prince Fielder of the Texas Rangers - 14 HR, 5/1
  8. Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs - 12 HR, 5/1

The event is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Arizona time, though it'll likely be a while after that before any meaningful swings take place, so you might want to have it just on in the background and do something else at that point. It  will be televised live by ESPN, and also available on ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN and ESPN Radio, though listening to the Home-Run Derby on the radio seems about as appealing as listening to the World Juggling Championships.

So, on whom will you be betting your notional SnakePit dollars?