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Every team’s best Home Run Derby option in 2023

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Fun trivia question: Who is the last player not playing for a team in either of the East Divisions — National or American Leagues — to win the T-Mobile Home Run Derby? The answer, amazingly, is Todd Frazier, who won it in his home ballpark in Cincinnati in 2015. Every hitter since then — Juan Soto, Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Pete Alonso (twice) — has been from an East Division team. They’re hogging the competition!

We bring this up because it truly is exciting to see one of your guys, someone from your team, in the Home Run Derby. We’ll only get eight competitors, but every team has someone who could conceivably make the case for inclusion. Today we take a look at the player on each team who would make the best Home Run Derby participant on July 10 at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park.

Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Vlad Jr. still owns the record for most homers in a single Derby round with 40 in 2019, but he has never actually won one of these. It has been 16 years since his dad did, though.

Orioles: Gunnar Henderson
He might not lead his team in homers right now, but he very well may by the end of the season, and we’ve clearly seen what happens when he really gets into one.

Rays: Yandy Díaz
Díaz always has one of the top exit velocities in all of baseball, but until this year, that exit velocity was mostly focused on balls heading straight into the grass. He’s getting the ball up this year, and it’d be a joy to see him flexing those massive arms as he tries launching balls into the Seattle night.

Yankees: Aaron Judge
He hasn’t taken part since winning in 2017, partly because his numbers did dip after that event. We should still all demand to see it anyway.

Guardians: Josh Naylor
José Ramírez has never been in it, and it’s safe to say he just doesn’t want to at this point. Naylor may have the most raw power on this roster. It might be fun to watch him unleash it.

Royals: Salvador Perez
Salvy was terrific in his one Derby appearance in 2021, hitting 28 homers in the first round, but unfortunately for him, he ran into Pete Alonso and his 35.

Tigers: Spencer Torkelson
Maybe the Home Run Derby would unlock all that potential we saw in his swing? He has already hit three homers in June after swatting just four over the first two months.

Twins: Joey Gallo
Gallo has already been in one Home Run Derby in 2021, losing to Trevor Story in Story’s home ballpark. It would be fun to see him get another chance.

White Sox: Jake Burger
Luis Robert Jr. would be another possibility, but Burger’s hitting the ball as hard as anyone in the sport right now.

Astros: Kyle Tucker
With Yordan Alvarez on the injured list, Tucker’s the next logical choice. It would be quite the irony if the perpetually underappreciated Tucker got grand exposure like this in the midst of what’s been a slightly subpar season for him.

Athletics: Brent Rooker
Even if his bat has cooled off, how could you not cheer for him?

Mariners: Julio Rodríguez
Maybe the best hometown favorite pick in years for the Home Run Derby. He could give us a night we never forget.

Rangers: Adolis García
The Rangers haven’t had a participant reach the final round since Nelson Cruz finished second at Busch Stadium in 2009. (This would not be Cruz’s last big moment in Busch Stadium.) García would be an excellent sleeper pick in your pool.

Braves: Ronald Acuña Jr.
He bowed out early last year, but he’s due to have a Derby where he just levels the competition. Maybe this is that Derby.

Marlins: Luis Arraez
Sure, Jorge Soler is probably the “correct” person here, but come on, wouldn’t it be hilarious to see what Arraez came up with for this?

Mets: Pete Alonso
Will he be healthy by then? We should all hope so, because there is no more consistently enjoyable show than Pete Alonso in the Home Run Derby, win or lose.

Nationals: Joey Meneses
We’re not getting the Joey Meneses monster season we were promised, but maybe he’d well and truly cut it loose in the Home Run Derby.

Phillies: Bryce Harper
It’s a bad idea for Harper to do this after returning from Tommy John surgery earlier this season. But it would be his first time in the Derby since winning in 2018, and he’d bring down the house if he did.

Brewers: Rowdy Tellez
MLB.com researchers have reliably informed this columnist that this would be the first participant in Home Run Derby history to be named “Rowdy.”

Cardinals: Nolan Gorman
Gorman has been one of the few bright spots for this Cardinals team, and that’s entirely because of his easy, titanic power.

Cubs: Christopher Morel
Would you believe he has the best home run rate on this team by a pretty wide margin?

Pirates: Andrew McCutchen
It wouldn’t be as emotional as seeing Albert Pujols in the Derby last year … but it’d be kind of close, right?

Reds: Elly De La Cruz
There is no “skills competition” at the All-Star Game, which is a shame, because De La Cruz would likely win it. Alas, the Home Run Derby will have to do.

D-backs: Corbin Carroll
A Home Run Derby really isn’t the best showcase for all the things Carroll can do, but for what it’s worth, he would hit a lot of home runs.

Dodgers: Max Muncy
Muncy finished fourth in 2018, and the Dodgers are still looking for their first Derby champion.

Giants: Michael Conforto
Which former Met hitting homers for the Giants would you pick: Conforto or J.D. Davis?

Padres: Juan Soto
As tempting as it would be to see Fernando Tatis Jr., we’ve got to go with the defending champ here.

Rockies: Ryan McMahon
Do you realize the Rockies only have one player with double-digit homers? It’s McMahon of all people; he’s the only person with more than six, so he gets the call here.

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