MLB Home Run Derby: Who Is Busting Your 2015 Brackets?


Not Yoenis Cespedes. The back-to-back MLB Home Run Derby champion isn’t even in the field of competitors this year. The big Cuban representing the Detroit Tigers in the regular season was not selected for this year’s American League All-Star roster, making him ineligible for this year’s Derby, regardless of his face being on Major League Baseball’s current Derby game app.

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A largely new field of home run hitters takes center stage in Cincinnati, the home of the 2015 MLB All-Star Game and its festivities, including the Derby. Every home run fan, likely excluding the majority of pitchers around the world, is expecting a ton of long balls clearing the fences at the Great American Ball Park.

This year, the rules have changed. MLB has implemented a bracket system. Here are your options to choose from (excuse the crudeness of the graphic, as it was approved by MLB):

You can win $5 000 if you complete a perfect bracket ballot. Joey Nowak of provided even more information to excite us: “The Derby, which will be televised live by ESPN and streamed on, will follow an exciting new format featuring brackets, timed rounds and bonuses based on HR distances, with players seeded from the start according to their season home run totals prior to July 7.”

The Rules (according to

  • Each player gets a time out per round.
  • The loser of each round bracket (head-to-head matchup) will be eliminated.
  • Each batter will have 5 minutes to hit, with a timer starting with the release of the first pitch. Considering you choose who pitches to you, that could be the difference in the speed as well as the stroke that players decide to take.
  • Any home run hit within one minute remaining will stop the timer immediately when the ball lands in home run territory. The timer will then not start again until the batter hits a ball that doesn’t land in that area or he swings and misses at a pitch.
  • Batters can be awarded bonus time based on home run length: If a batter hits two homers during a turn that equal or exceed 420 feet, one minute of bonus time will be added. For every home run of at least 475 feet, 30 seconds will be added. Players can earn a total of one minute and 30 seconds of bonus time.
  • Ties in any round will be broken by a 90-second swing-off.
  • If the batters remain tied, they will engage in successive three-swing swing-offs until there is a winner. At any time the second batter eclipses the first batter’s total, that round’s matchup will end and the second batter will advance.

That last rule is important, as how many times have we seen players hit a ton in the early rounds only to be out of gas and easily eliminated? So many first-timers do that, making it easier for the veterans to move on to the next round. That advantage will be gone with MLB saving the younger All-Stars from themselves.

Now that you know the rules, let’s look at each bracket and check out our BoSox Injection staff predictions. The players were ranked and bracketed in the following order:

Round One Brackets

Albert Pujols (#1) vs. Kris Bryant (#8)

  • The veteran St. Louis Cardinal is tied for second place in both leagues for regular season home runs before today. Giancarlo Stanton leads all of MLB with 27 home runs. Pujols, Bryce Harper, and Mike Trout have 26 homers.
  • Bryant is a rookie and tied for 22nd in only the National League with 12 home runs, while not cracking the top 45 in both leagues. He even falls behind fellow Cubs hitter Anthony Rizzo (16).
  • Pujols has been in the Derby three times, making it to the final in 2003, while stagnating in the second round twice. In 2007, he hit four in round one and nine in round two. In 2009, he fell even shorter by hitting five in the first and six in the second round. Being in St. Louis, in front of the home crowd, may have had something to do with it.

Todd Frazier (#2) vs. Prince Fielder (#7)

  • Frazier will have home crowd advantage/impairment being a Cincinnati Reds player. He was in the Derby final last year, but only hit 10 homers in total for the night. He made it to the end due to one good burst of six in round two and the total inept totals from other players.
  • Fielder is one of only a couple two-time champs at this event (Cespedes & Ken Griffey Jr.). Fielder won in 2009 and 2012, but struggled in other nights. He hit only nine in 2011 and five in his last opportunity in 2013.
  • Fielder had 14 home runs, while Frazier’s been on fire with 25 home runs for fifth place in all of MLB Pre-ASG break.

Josh Donaldson (#3) vs. Anthony Rizzo (#6)

  • Donaldson won the top All-Star fan vote around all of MLB, this year. He has 21 home runs to be tied for ninth in both leagues. Last year, he didn’t get passed the first round, as his counterparts from the American League hit more than three home runs. The eventual champion Cespedes beat Donaldson in a first round tiebreaker 2-1. Donaldson was also sick the last few days before the break.
  • Rizzo is a first-timer, even though he is a veteran player. He’s hitting .298 with a .542 slugging percentage (1oth place in MLB).

Joc Pederson (#4) vs. Manny Machado (#5)

  • Pederson is another rookie, but the 23-year-old has 20 home runs this season that say differently. He’s hitting just .230 but also has a .487 SLG.
  • Machado has hit 19 home runs and 48 RBIs this season for the Baltimore Orioles, with a .298 batting average and .525 SLG. Machado, even though he is the three-year veteran, is also a rookie to the Derby.

BoSox Injection Staff Picks:

Round One

Brandon Nickel’s Picks

  • Kris Bryant – Pujols is great in the regular season, but will choke again. Bryant is used to drilling balls out of the park in batting practice and will rise to the occasion to bust up everyone’s brackets. Sorry, everyone!
  • Todd Frazier – I was going to say Fielder if he got on a good line of swings, but you have to go with the hot hand right now. That person is the Cincinnati favorite. With a twist on the boxing reference: Down goes Fielder! 
  • Josh Donaldson – He will want to redeem himself from last year, with the advantage of the knowledge of what he did wrong. It will be too great for Rizzo to overcome. And besides, Donaldson has looked like he is in beast mode for the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Joc Pederson – Both should come out firing, but the kid should edge Machado in a close battle.

Cam Hasbrouck’s Picks

  • Albert Pujols
  • Todd Frazier
  • Anthony Rizzo
  • Manny Machado

Drew Peabody’s Picks

  • Kris Bryant
  • Todd Frazier
  • Josh Donaldson
  • Joc Pederson


Round 2

Nickel’s Picks

  • Josh Donaldson – His lesson will be to be more consistent, while Frazier’s love of the fans will push him too hard, pressuring him for a big total and coming up empty.
  • Kris Bryant – Pederson’s lack of a keen eye will overwhelm him trying to drill balls over the fence. Bryant will be more patient in the battle of the youngsters.

Hasbrouck’s Picks

  • Albert Pujols over Manny Machado
  • Todd Frazier over Anthony Rizzo

Peabody’s Picks

  • Joc Pederson over Kris Bryant
  • Todd Frazier over Josh Donaldson


Final Round

Nickel’s Derby Winner – Donaldson will be too consistent, as Bryant will be finally spent at the end.

Hasbrouck’s Derby Winner – Albert Pujols

Peabody’s Derby Winner – Joc Pederson

Who do you think more correct from BoSox Injection? Nickel? Hasbrouck? Peabody? None of us? Have your say here, Facebook, or on Twitter!

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