Fess up. You watched that Nike commercial and when Greg Maddux turned to Tom Glavine and said, “Chicks dig the long ball,” you know you thought to yourself, “Yeah we do!” If there was a guy in the room, you probably said it out loud.
When a guy hits a majestic, towering shot to deep whatever field, he does, admittedly, look a little sexier rounding third than he did when he stepped into the box to start the at bat.
I bring this up not because I just watched Justin Upton hit a majestic, towering shot to deep left field (and the man looks good standing around drinking Gatorade so…wow…), but because it’s nearly July and that means the All Star Game and Home Run Derby are coming up and the teams are close to being announced.
If you were Robinson Cano or Matt Kemp, who would you pick to be on your team?
For Robinson Cano, the obvious first choice would be Josh Hamilton, but Hamilton announced long ago that he would not participate this year. Beyond Hamilton, a lot of guys bunch up as potential picks. As an Angels fan, my no-brainer first pick would be Mark Trumbo. The man can just flat out hit a baseball. He’s hit what the ESPN Hit Tracker calls “No Doubts” home runs eight times, and his home runs travel an average distance of 417.6 feet, tops in the AL.
Jose Bautista would have to be my second choice. His home runs might not go the farthest, but they all look like they’ve been hit 450 feet. They’re a beautiful thing to watch.
My third choice would be a sleeper: a guy not at the top of any lists, but with the potential to play the role of spoiler. This year, that guy for me would be Mike Napoli. There’s an Angels connection no doubt, but every home run he hits is huge and flat out pretty. There’s a whole lot of sexy in that swing.
If I don’t pick a spoiler, and, in the spirit of getting new guys in the competition every year, I pick Edwin Encarnacion. The chances of two guys from the same team participating in the derby are slim, but his numbers are hard to ignore this year, even way up in Toronto. He’s definitely deserving of consideration.
Matt Kemp definitely has a tougher job putting his team together. No one is running away with the home run race, so there aren’t as many obvious choices but a ton of guys who have the potential to be awesome.
I think my first pick would have to be Giancarlo “Don’t Call Me Mike” Stanton. His 350-foot homeruns are just as impressive as his 450-foot home runs. Big-time sexy factor here.
My second choice would be Carlos Beltran. He’s having a monster year and hitting the ball hard – really hard – almost 409 feet per dinger. He could definitely be impressive in the derby.
I’m at a bit of a disadvantage picking a sleeper. I’m a west coast girl who doesn’t watch a ton of NL games. One guy I see quite a bit and who always impresses me with his power is Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks. He’s probably not even on Kemp’s radar, but he could do some damage. When he hits a home run, you know it as soon as it comes off the bat. You never question if it’s going out, only how far it’s going to go.
If I don’t pick a spoiler, I think I pick Justin Upton as my third team member. He doesn’t have a ton of home runs, but he hits the ball farther than anyone else, on average, in the National League (414.4 feet).
And did I mention he looks good just standing around drinking Gatorade? Wow.
Written by Sandy McKenzie who will be heading up our soon to be launched Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels blog, so keep a look out for it!