The Home Run Derby has been an annual festivity since 1985. Taking place during All-Star Week, the Derby pits some of baseball’s biggest guns against each other in a competition for the home run crown. This year, the KC Royals will have their lone All-Star, Salvador Perez, representing them in an attempt to win the trophy.
The 2021 T-Mobile Home Run Derby will air on ESPN Monday, July 12 at 8 p.m. ET. A Statcast edition will air alongside on ESPN2, for those interested in the statistical array of launch angles, exit velocity, and other numbers that go into hitting home runs.
The event will take place in the Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field home, the host venue for Tuesday’s All-Star contest.
What does the format look like for Monday’s 2021 T-Mobile Home Run Derby?
The Derby’s format has changed through the years, but the concept perhaps had its roots in a 1959 television program entitled Home Run Derby that paired players against one another to hit homers for a $2,000 pot.
The format hasn’t shifted much since 2015, though.
All eight Derby participants (more on them momentarily) will be placed in a single-elimination bracket-style tournament of three rounds. The first and second rounds will give batters three minutes to belt homers, and the final round allots two minutes apiece. MLB starts the clock for each batter when his first pitch is thrown.
Each player gets a 30 second bonus after his turn in each round, and can earn another 30 second bonus by hitting a 475-foot (or longer) home run, but that extra 30 seconds can be earned only once per round.
Players have a 45-second timeout to recharge in each round they take part in.
There will be plenty of talent and a KC Royals star in this year’s Derby.
Although some notable hitters like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres chose not to participate in this year’s Derby, there are still plenty of great hitters to watch.
Seeding for the Derby was determined by home run totals entering Wednesday’s games. Shohei Ohtani of the Angels is the No. 1 seed with 32 homers and will face No. 8 Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals, who had 10 home runs. Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers has the No. 2 spot with 23 home runs, and will face off against No. 7 Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies with 11 home runs. Matt Olson of the Oakland A’s is seeded No. 3 with 21 homers, and faces No. 6 seed Trey Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles, who had 15 homers.
Kansas City fans will, of course, be on the watch for No. 4 seed Salvador Perez, who had 20 homers. Perez will compete against defending Home Run Derby champion and No. 5 seed Pete Alonso of the New York Mets, who had belted 15 homers.
How far can we expect baseballs to travel through Colorado’s thin air?
The Derby-host Rockies have long stored game balls in a humidor to keep them from losing moisture and to limit the effect of Colorado’s thin air, which tends to promote longer flight of balls that haven’t retained their original moisture content.
But that won’t be the case for this year’s Derby: contest balls won’t see time in the humidor, so expect Derby homers to soar faster and farther.
In the Statcast era, Giancarlo Stanton hit the longest recorded home run in Coors Field at 504 feet as a member of the Marlins in 2016. Current KC Royals outfielder Michael A. Taylor hit the second longest Coors Field homer—493 feet in 2015 when he played for Washington.
Without the use of a humidor, these distances could be smashed by the 2021 Derby participants.
Will Salvador Perez of the KC Royals be able to break any Derby records?
Though Salvador Perez isn’t on opposing fans’ radar as much as Shohei Ohtani or Pete Alonso, making him a dark horse pick to win the Derby, KC fans can expect to see their beloved catcher make a splash.
No KC Royal Derby participant has ever survived the first round of the Home Run Derby—not Bo Jackson, Danny Tartabull, or Mike Moustakas. Perez may be able to end that trend, though.
This year, Perez has 20 home runs. His longest came at Kauffman Stadium May 4 when he blasted a 460-foot shot against Cleveland. The ball splashed into the fountains, and had an exit velocity of 114.2 mph.
In Denver’s arid climate, Perez may be able to smash that personal record in the Derby, and Kings of Kauffman will be on the watch in covering the tournament.
With the annual Home Run Derby airing on ESPN Monday, KC Royals fans are anxious to see what Salvador Perez will bring to the table.