Several ballplayers in the past have either flatly declined an invite to the glorified skills competition or expressed extreme regret for taking part in the event, as some have argued that swinging so mightily for the fences in such a manner can have an adverse effect on one’s swing, setting up a player for offensive failure and/or swing fatigue in the second half of the season.
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The Chicago Cubs rookie, who possesses a natural, uppercut swing perfect for hitting dingers, was asked if he was worried about such an unfortunate outcome happening to him and he expressed no concerns whatsoever.
“Not at all,” he said, via a report from the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan. “If you talk to any baseball player, they’ll tell you they try to hit some homers in BP, so it’s no different. … I won’t change anything. I may just swing a little bit harder.”
But swinging harder is precisely the thing that is believed to cause problem for participants in the first place. Although it warrants mentioning that Byrant has competed in a Home Run Derby last season, winning the 2014 Southern League (Double-A) Home Run Derby last year, crushing 14 homers during a minor league season during which he knocked out 43 home runs and was named minor league player of the year. In other words, the fact he competed didn’t seem to hurt him much down the stretch.
Cubs skipper Joe Maddon has in the past expressed reservations about having any of his players compete in the Home Run Derby, although he has softened his stance a bit now that both Bryant and Anthony Rizzo have been selected to compete on Monday night at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.
Maddon conceded the new format where players are timed won’t make the event as lengthy. He also noted that he understood the desire of of Bryant and Rizzo to compete in the Home Run Derby.