Well folks, here it is, the Home Run Derby Preview.
In 2011, Stefan Gartrell of the Gwinnett Braves (Atlanta, International League) won the title, facing high schooler Kayden Porter in the final round, and hitting 7 homers to Porter’s five.
Representing the hometown Bisons and the International League will be fan favourite Valentino Pascucci, aged 33 years, with 13 HR’s, and a .229 batting average on the season. Last year, he finished the season with 21 home runs and a .264 batting average. He has the ability to win, but he will face stiff competition from the other five competitors. He is also the lone National League prospect who will represent the International League in the Home Run Derby, with the only other NL prospect is from the Oklahoma City Redhawks( Houston Astros), who will become an American League team next year, sooo hardly counts. In addition, Hessman was also a former Bison, making all the National League Prospect participants in either league current or former Bisons.
And now, for the rest of the International League.
From the Columbus Clippers( Cleveland Indians) will be Matt LaPorta, who has 17 HRs on the year, and a .304 batting average. He joined AAA baseball in 2009, the year the Buffalo Bisons switched parent clubs to the New York Mets.
Dan Johnson, from the Charlotte Knights(Chicago White Sox) is the final IL representative, and he has hit 21 home runs, and is hitting .276 on the season.
Pacific Coast League
Joey Butler, Round Rock Express (Texas Rangers) 12 HR .273
Mike Hessman, Oklahoma City Redhawks, 27 HR .263
Luis Jimenez, Tacoma Rainiers( Seattle Mariners) 13 HR .318
While Pascucci does not have the most home runs this season, he has the most in his career of the International League players, and his 247 career home runs is only shy to Hessman’s 392.
Also, for those of you that do not know, the format of the Home Run Derby will be each batter will be given 10 outs in the first round to hit as many home runs as they can. Any swing that does not result in a home run will be recorded as an out, but taken pitches will not be recorded. The top four in home runs will advance to the second round, regardless of league affiliation, and will be given ten more outs. The combined total of the first two rounds will determine the final two, where the counters are reset, and the final ten outs will be used to determine the winner, head to head.
The Home Run Derby will be preceded by the celebrity Derby, which Shelby Griswold covered in a previous post. The gates open at 17h00/5PM tomorrow, with the introductions starting at 18h30/6h30 PM.
Enjoy, and I shall be in attendance, so a wrap up will follow the Derby, and many pictures.
Enjoy the Break, and go Bisons and International League.