Imagining best opponents for Barry Bonds in hypothetical Home Run Derby

Imagining best opponents for Barry Bonds in hypothetical Home Run Derby

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

Vlad Guerrero Jr. beats Matt Chapman in MLB Home Run Derby first round

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AP

Vlad Guerrero Jr. beats Matt Chapman in MLB Home Run Derby first round

Matt Chapman never really had a chance on Monday night in Cleveland.

The Oakland A's third baseman stepped into the batter's box in the first round of the 2019 MLB Home Run Derby needing a record 30 home runs to advance. He didn't come close.

Toronto Blue Jays rookie sensation Vladimir Guerrero Jr. broke Josh Hamilton's first-round record by hitting 29 home runs.

Chapman, who had his dad Jim throwing to him, finished with just 13 home runs in the round.

Chapman wasn't originally scheduled to participate in the Home Run Derby, but was added as a replacement for Christian Yelich, who is dealing with a back injury.

Chapman leads the A's with 21 home runs this season.

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Despite the lackluster showing in the derby, it's still a banner week for Chapman, who will play in his first All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

Watch Vlad Guerrero Jr. hit first two MLB home runs against Giants

Watch Vlad Guerrero Jr. hit first two MLB home runs against Giants

It took 14 games, but Vlad Guerrero Jr. is finally on the board.

In the top of the first inning on Tuesday night, baseball's top prospect crushed a four-seam fastball from Nick Vincent over the center field wall at Oracle Park for his first major league home run.

The solo shot gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead over the Giants.

The Giants installed Vincent as the opener in an attempt to solve their problem of giving up runs in the first inning. It clearly didn't work, as Toronto would go on to add two more runs in the inning.

But Vlad Jr. wasn't done. In the sixth inning, Guerrero broke the game open with his second homer of the contest. And this one was no cheapie either.

As NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic noted, this has been a common theme for opponents playing the Giants.

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But this isn't about the Giants. It's about Vlad Jr. This was the first of many home runs. The Giants may not be entertaining us right now, but the son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero will likely be hitting homers for the next 20 years.