Shohei Ohtani will officially compete in this year's Home Run Derby.
Can't. Wait. 🍿 pic.twitter.com/KdLWVFpwa9
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 18, 2021
Ohtani is currently tied for the MLB lead with 23 home runs on the year—that’s a 56-homer pace.
With Ohtani confirmed to be in the field, who should join him in the event?
3. Ronald Acuna Jr. – Atlanta Braves
Ronald Acuna Jr. has lived up to the hype at every turn of his MLB career.
Acuna came into the league and was met with sky-high expectations, and he delivered by winning the 2018 Rookie of the Year Award in the National League.
In 2019, he earned his first career All-Star selection, and he would have gotten his second selection in 2020 had there been a Midsummer Classic.
Acuna earned Silver Slugger honors in both the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
This year, not much has changed.
Acuna has left the yard 19 times in 65 games.
He is slashing .291/.404/.607 and has a 164 OPS+.
He also leads the NL in stolen bases (15) and runs (57).
It’s a shame that his Atlanta Braves are likely not postseason-bound this year, because baseball fans would love to see Acuna play deep into October.
A nice consolation for fans would be a Home Run Derby showing by the 23-year-old.
2. Fernando Tatis Jr. – San Diego Padres
Fernando Tatis Jr. plays for one of the most exciting teams in baseball in the San Diego Padres, and he has a lot to do with the Padres earning that distinction.
477 from @tatis_jr 😱
That's the longest HR of his career. pic.twitter.com/BeNm13cJzV
— MLB (@MLB) June 16, 2021
Tatis leads the NL with 22 home runs on the season.
He also leads the NL in slugging (.675), OPS (1.039), and OPS+ (190).
Tatis is going to be a perennial MVP candidate for years to come, and baseball fans would love to see him in the Home Run Derby this summer.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Toronto Blue Jays
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the only player in baseball with as many home runs as the aforementioned Ohtani.
The American League MVP race could very well come down to Guerrero and Ohtani.
Ohtani’s value is extremely well-documented.
He has a ridiculous 4.6 WAR due to his two-way abilities.
Ohtani has a 2.70 ERA on the mound and a 1.005 OPS at the plate.
Guerrero, on the other hand, leads the AL in almost every major offensive category.
He is batting .337 and leads the AL in OBP (.440), slugging (.671), OPS (1.111), OPS+ (202), total bases (169), and runs batted in (59), and as previously mentioned, he is also even with Ohtani for the league-lead in home runs (23).
Guerrero has a 3.6 WAR.
For all of these reasons and more, having Ohtani and Guerrero in the Home Run Derby would be absolutely electric.
Every player on the list is a young star.
The future of baseball is in great hands, as there is a seemingly endless amount of young talent taking over the game.
There would be no better way to market that young talent than to have those players participate in the Home Run Derby.
With any luck, this year’s All-Star Week could be one for the books.