There’s nothing quite like watching a home run swing, when a batter really gets ahold of one and sends the ball into orbit. That only happens a few times per game if you’re lucky, though. During the Home Run Derby, that’s commonplace.
After the 2020 MLB All-Star Game and Home Run Derby were canceled due to the COVID-19-shortened season, All-Star festivities are back in full… swing. The field is loaded with some of the game's top power hitters, and the mile-high altitude in Denver at Coors Field should make dingers even easier to hit.
During the last Home Run Derby in 2019, the Mets’ Pete Alonso defeated Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the final round to win his first derby. The story of the night came in the semifinals, though. Guerrero and the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson went to a one-minute swing off followed by a pair of three-swing tiebreakers before Guerrero finally toppled Pederson, 40-39. It was undoubtedly one of the more memorable derby moments in recent memory.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2021 Home Run Derby:
Who is in the 2021 Home Run Derby?
Shohei Ohtani, Angels: Ohtani is competing in his first derby while in the midst of a career season. Not only is the Japanese lefty leading the league in home runs, he’s also a starting pitcher with a sub-four ERA.
Joey Gallo, Rangers: Gallo is a high-strikeout, low-average hitter who seems perfect for this type of competition. He has two seasons with at least 40 home runs, and he’s on pace for another in 2021 for the lowly Rangers.
Matt Olson, Athletics: The 27-year-old first baseman has been a leading force for the A’s in the first half. He has just one season of 30 or more home runs in his career, but he’ll likely add a second in 2021.
Salvador Perez, Royals: The 2015 World Series MVP leads all catchers in home runs through the first half of 2021. He’s looking to become the first backstop to win the competition in its 35-year history.
Pete Alonso, Mets: Alonso is the only player in the field with derby experience after winning it in 2019. The defending champion hit 53 home runs in his rookie season (2019) and has been a key piece for the first-place Mets.
Trey Mancini, Orioles: Less than two years after he was diagnosed with colon cancer, Mancini is back to mashing baseballs in Baltimore this season. The 29-year-old has hit at least 24 home runs in each of his first three full-time seasons.
Trevor Story, Rockies: Just four players in MLB history have won the derby while competing in their home stadium. Story will look to add his name to that list while he’s still on the team, as trade rumors persist during his contract year.
Juan Soto, Nationals: Soto hit three home runs in the 2019 World Series as Washington won the title, so this stage won’t be too big for him. Just 22 years old, Soto could become the youngest Home Run Derby winner in history.
2021 Home Run Derby bracket
Here are the four first-round matchups in the Home Run Derby bracket:
No. 1 Ohtani vs. No. 8 Soto
No. 2 Gallo vs. No. 7 Story
No. 3 Olson vs. No. 6 Mancini
No. 4 Perez vs. No. 5 Alonso
The winner of Ohtani vs. Soto will face the winner of Perez vs. Alonso, while the winner of Gallo vs. Story will face the winner of Olson vs. Mancini. After the semifinal matchups, the two remaining hitters will face off in the final round.
2021 Home Run Derby format
The Home Run Derby format has remained unchanged since 2015. The eight players were seeded based on their home run totals through July 7. Each player is pitted in a head-to-head match, with three minutes on the clock in the first two rounds to hit as many home runs as possible. The running clock will only be two minutes in the final round.
All hitters will have 30 extra seconds after time is up, and they can earn an additional 30 seconds of time if they hit a 475-foot or longer home run during the round.
Batters will also be granted one 45-second timeout at any time of their choosing during regulation time each round. There are no timeouts during the bonus time.
The bracket is single-elimination, so whoever wins the head-to-head matchup advances while the loser is done for the night.
2021 Home Run Derby odds
Here’s a look at the full odds for the 2021 Home Run Derby, courtesy of our partner, PointsBet:
Shohei Ohtani +300
Joey Gallo +350
Pete Alonso +450
Juan Soto +500
Trevor Story +600
Matt Olson +750
Trey Mancini +1000
Salvador Perez +1000
Editor's note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.