There might not be a more perfect candidate for an all-time MLB Home Run Derby than former Giants legend Barry Bonds. His 756 home runs are the most in baseball history, and no single player’s power has been as intimidating as Bonds was in his heyday.
MLB.com recently came up with a hypothetical matchup for Bonds in their “#WhatIf Derby” series, choosing Los Angeles Dodgers star and 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger.
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It’s safe to say fans clearly favor one side in this showdown of sluggers.
Who you got? ⬇️— MLB (@MLB) May 31, 2020
Bellinger’s power is no joke, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Bonds’ prowess at the plate.
This got us thinking, who would make the most formidable foe for Bonds in an imaginary home run derby?
Sticking with current players, there are plenty of viable candidates to challenge Bonds in a home run-hitting duel.
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. put on an absolute show in last year’s derby, smashing a ridiculous 40 home runs to overtake Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson in the second round. Guerrero Jr.’s dad famously won the 2007 derby at Oracle Park while playing with the Los Angeles Angels.
Vlad Jr sets a Home Run Derby record with 29 bombs in a single round 🔥pic.twitter.com/iIDBkZUDq9— Starting 9 (@Starting9) July 9, 2019
Another player who, if fully healthy, could give Bonds a run for his money is New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton. While he’s battled injuries in recent years, Stanton’s raw power and force he puts into each swing doesn’t have many parallels in any era of MLB.
Giancarlo Stanton sets Marlins single-season record with his 43rd home run 😮 pic.twitter.com/bCmxmrHT5U— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) August 14, 2017
Completing the ideal foursome of participants would be Stanton’s New York teammate in outfielder Aaron Judge. The Fresno State product won the 2017 derby in an effort that included four home runs traveling further than 500 feet.
Aaron Judge’s performance during the 2017 Home Run Derby was one for the record book. pic.twitter.com/PoIOyNovUQ— Justin Diamond (@_justinddiamond) April 21, 2020
These four sluggers together all in their prime competing in one home run derby would be an unreal scene. There aren’t many in today’s game who even come close to Bonds’ strength in the box, but Guerrero Jr., Stanton and Judge are about as close as it gets.