In just days, All-Star Week begins. Instead of focusing on the All-Star Game itself, the Home Run Derby may be a favorite for Chicago Cubs fans in 2018.
Chicago Cubs star Javier Baez not only starts the All-Star Game at second base, but is also taking part in his first Home Run Derby. Joining him in the Derby? Fellow slugger and teammate Kyle Schwarber. Folks, buckle your seatbelts.
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Pundits and writers alike make much about how the Home Run Derby can impact a player’s swing down the stretch.
I’m not worried about that in this instance. While these two have proven to be effective Major League hitters in different ways, they swing to hit the ball as hard and far as they can with virtually every swing.
That strategy fits perfectly in glorified batting practice. So far this season, Baez and Schwarber tie for the team lead with 17 home runs apiece. Baez overall has been a big breakout candidate. As it stands right now, he is a legitimate MVP candidate, and Schwarber has improved vastly from his 2017 as well.
This is not the first time a pair of Cubs’ teammates on this team have competed in the derby. Back in 2015, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant both competed in the event. Unfortunately, neither advanced past the first round. The Home Run Derby fits these two fun-loving guys perfectly. That rings especially true for Baez. We all know – Javy always has a good time and stays loose out on the diamond.
The rest of the National League field includes breakout star Max Muncy, and hometown hero Bryce Harper. An announcement regarding American League participants will be made in coming days. Reigning champion Aaron Judge has announced he will not take part and neither will his Yankees teammate Giancarlo Stanton.