Eye on the prize
While it ultimately sounds as though Bryant may be a long shot, at least this year, there is a possibility other members of the club could be in line to step into their chance at the $1 million prize. Last year, for instance, Javier Baez put on an absolute fireworks display bashing 16 in a tough first-round loss to Muncy. Baez did, however, account for the longest home run of the night at 479 feet.
Anthony Rizzo is someone who could bring some serious firepower into the Derby, as well Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber, as we won’t soon forget bashed his way to the finals last year, narrowly losing to Bryce Harper in a thrilling championship round.
Concerning the fallout, the perceived notion circulating the game about the Derby is that of which it could create a problem for a players swing, leading many to shy away from participating. It did not affect Baez, to say the least, as he slashed .289/.326/.540 with 15 home runs in the second half of the season. Meanwhile, as a rookie, Bryant slashed .282/.361/.505 with 14 home runs in the second half of his Derby participating season and won Rookie of the Year.
The proposition is intriguing. More than likely there will be increased growth in interest this season, and the Cubs have many players who could easily represent the club in the Home Run Derby in Cleveland this July. It would certainly be a fun proposition.