The 2014 Home Run Derby is Monday night at Target Field in Minneapolis, home of the Minnesota Twins. The 10 participants will be taking part in a new format, one where each hitter is limited to seven outs instead of 10 in each round to speed up the competition and reduce fatigue. Six players will advance out of the first round, with each league-leader getting a bye to the semifinals. Two players then go to the final. In the event of a tie, batters will each get three swings.
Fans of the host team have two storylines to follow — Twins 2B Brian Dozier is taking part in the contest for the American League, while former Twins 1B Justin Morneau, the 2008 Derby winner, was added to the N.L. team by current Rockies teammate Troy Tulowitzki. Morneau spent the first 11 years of his career with the Twins in Minnesota, where he was a four-time All-Star and the 2006 A.L. MVP.
Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes is the defending champion of the event, and he is trying to become the first player since Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) to win back-to-back derby titles.
And how about this final storyline — does Yasiel Puig flip his bat higher than ever if he wins this contest?