David Ortiz could not have possibly drafted a better group of hitters for this year's State Farm Home Run Derby. This year, a captain was picked for each side. David Ortiz was picked to represent the American League as last year's champion. Prince Fielder was selected to represent the NL as the 2009 champion. Each player drafts 3 players from their league to accompany them in the Home Run Derby.
The rules regarding the individual winner go unchanged. However, the team that racks up the most combined home runs will have a $150,000 donation made in it's captain's name to the Boys and Girls Club of America, and an additional $100,000 donation will accompany it. On top of that, a $25,000 donation will be made to a charity of the team captain's choosing.
State Farm will still honor the Gold Ball, donating $18,000 for each home run hit with 9 outs.
The American League is represented by David Ortiz, teammate Adrian Gonzalez, rival Robinson Cano, and close personal friend and home run leader Jose Bautista. Ortiz is off to his best start in years and is on pace to have one of his best seasons ever should he keep it up. Adrian Gonzalez has been baseball's best overall player, with the possible exception of the injured Jose Reyes. He has certainly flashed his power after a slow April to join the league leaders in the American League. Cano's power numbers have risen steadily every year, and many hitters including Bryce Harper believe he has the sweetest swing in the game. Jose Bautista, well what else is there to say about this guy? No one has hit more home runs in the last calendar year. No one has more home runs this year. No one else has as many walks. This is as much respect as we have seen a player get since Barry Bonds.
The National League will not go down easy though. Prince Fielder has selected teammate Rickie Weekes, perhaps the best of the young position players in the game Matt Kemp and rival slugger Matt Holliday.
When looking at the numbers, it seems like the AL should walk away winners of this year's event. However, the event has had some very surprising winners and performances from the likes of Josh Hamilton, Jason Giambi, and most recently, a David Ortiz whose bat speed was supposedly gone. Anything can happen.