For a second consecutive year the Los Angeles Dodgers will have a participant in the Home Run Derby. After Yasiel Puig’s flat performance in 2014 that resulted in him putting up a donut in the competition, rookie Joc Pederson is among eight players who will be part of the 2015 Home Run Derby at Great American Ball Park.
Along with Pederson, the list of participants as announced on ESPN Wednesday includes, Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, Prince Fielder, Todd Frazier, Manny Machado, Albert Pujols and Anthony Rizzo. The derby is staged under a new format this year that includes rankings and timed rounds as opposed to the previously allotted 10 outs.
Under the new format, participants were seeded based on their home run total through Tuesday. No. 1 faces No. 8, No. 2 will be pitted against No. 7, and so forth.
Of the players named to participate, Pujols leads the group with 26 home runs. He narrowly edged out Frazier, who’s tally sits at 25 home runs. Pederson leads all rookies with 20 home runs, which is tied for 10th overall in the Majors. He’s slated to face Machado in the first round, with the winner getting either Pujols or Bryant.
Pederson at one point hit a home run in five consecutive games and regularly has clubbed shots that traveled over 400 feet. He maintained over recent weeks he would participate in the Home Run Derby if he was also named to the All-Star Game.
The first shoe fell into place when he, along with Adrian Gonzalez, Yasmani Grandal and Zack Greinke were named to the National League team on Monday. Pederson said he would take Triple-A Oklahoma City coach Johnny Washington to Cincinnati as his designated pitcher in the event. Washington’s was Pederson’s hitting coach at rookie-level Ogden in 2011.
Dodgers historically haven’t fared well in the Home Run Derby, with Hee Seop Choi’s five home runs in 2005 leading the group. Mike Piazza twice came away empty (1993 and 1994), Raul Mondesi hit two in 1995, Matt Kemp also slugged two in 2011 and followed it up by hitting one in 2012.
Coverage begins Monday at 5:00 p.m. PT on ESPN. 2015 Home Run Derby First-Round Matchups:
No. 1 Pujols vs. No. 8 Bryant
No. 2 Frazier vs. No. 7 Fielder
No. 3 Donaldson vs. No. 6 Rizzo
No. 4 Pederson vs. No. 5 Machado