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Entries in Home Run Derby (5)

Monday
Jul152013

HR Derby Preview: Team Wright

Citi Field's Home Run Apple will get a workout tonight, as some of the game's preeminent power hitters aim for the fences during the 2013 All-Star Home Run Derby (8 p.m. ET on ESPN). Team Robinson Cano (including Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Davis, Prince Fielder) will take on Team David Wright (Pedro Alvarez, Michael Cuddyer and Bryce Harper). Here's a breakdown of dingers hit by Team Wright as you ponder which tally will be higher -- attendance at Citi Field or the number of "backbackback"s belted out by Chris Berman.

Pedro Alvarez

Where he hits 'em: Pedro is a pull hitter, ripping 15 of his 24 home runs to right field. He has gone yard six times to center field and three times to the opposite side.

Alvarez's HR spray chart

 

Hard or soft stuff? He likes pitches that reach home plate nearly as fast as he sends them screaming towards the stands. Alvarez has 16 homers against "hard" pitches (fastballs, cutters and splitters), including 15 off fastballs. That ties him with Adam Dunn for the most HR in the majors against the heat.

HR sweet spot: Alvarez is feasting on belt-high pitches, launching an NL-best 18 home runs on offerings that cross the vertical middle of the plate. Miguel Cabrera (22 HR) and Chris Davis (20) are the only hitters with more belt-high homers.

Pitch location of Alvarez's HR

Michael Cuddyer

Where he hits 'em: Cuddyer has belted eight homers to the pull side, four to center field and three to left field.

Cuddyer's HR spray chart

  

Hard or soft stuff? He's an equal-opportunity slugger, hitting eight home runs against hard pitches and seven off soft stuff. Cuddyer is particularly fond of curveballs (4 HR).

HR sweet spot: Above the belt -- Cuddyer has hit 11 HR off pitches thrown to the upper half of the zone.

Pitch location of Cuddyer's HR

Bryce Harper

Where he hits 'em: Harper has spread the ball around during his injury-shortened 2013 season, hitting seven HR to right field and three apiece to center and left field.

Harper's HR spray chart

  

Hard or soft stuff? Harper runs full-speed into outfield walls -- of course he likes the hard stuff. He has eight combined home runs against fastballs, cutters and splitters, and five off soft pitches.

HR sweet spot: Unlike most of his HR Derby competition, Harper prefers when hitters challenge him with inside pitches. He has eight HR against stuff thrown on the inner half.

Pitch location of Harper's HR

 

David Wright

Where he hits 'em: The home town favorite has seven pull-side HR, five shots to center and one homer to the opposite field.

Wright's HR spray chart

 

Hard or soft stuff? Wright might want to ask his BP pitcher to speed things up, as he thrives against hard stuff. He has belted nine home runs combined versus fastballs, cutters and splitters.

HR sweet spot: He's doing most of his damage when pitchers accidentally put one right down Broadway -- eight of his HR have come on pitches thrown to the horizontal middle of the strike zone.

Pitch location of Wright's HR

Monday
Jul152013

HR Derby Preview: Team Cano

Citi Field's Home Run Apple will get a workout tonight, as some of the game's preeminent power hitters aim for the fences during the 2013 All-Star Home Run Derby (8 p.m. ET on ESPN). Team Robinson Cano (including Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Davis, Prince Fielder) will take on Team David Wright (Pedro Alvarez, Michael Cuddyer and Bryce Harper). Here's a breakdown of dingers hit by Team Cano as you ponder which tally will be higher -- attendance at Citi Field or the number of "backbackback"s belted out by Chris Berman.

Robinson Cano

Where he hits 'em: Cano has been pull-happy in 2013, hitting 13 of his 21 homers to right field. He has also hit four shots apiece to center and left field.

Cano's HR spray chart

 

Hard or soft stuff? He's doing most of his damage against "soft" stuff -- breaking and off-speed pitches. Cano has hit seven homers against sliders, tying Miguel Cabrera for the major league lead. He has four HR off curveballs and three on changeups, giving him a total of 14 HR against soft pitches. Only Cabrera and Chris Davis have more homers against sliders, curves and changeups.

HR sweet spot: Despite his tendency to pull the ball, Cano has hit most of his home runs (13) on pitches thrown on the outer half of the plate. He's also loves stuff thrown at the knees, hitting 16 home runs on pitches thrown in the low half of the strike zone.

Pitch location of Cano's HR

 

Yoenis Cespedes

Where he hits 'em: Cespedes just about never goes oppo (he has just one HR to right field), but he has plenty of power to right field (8 HR) and center (6 HR).

Cespedes' HR spray chart

  

Hard or soft stuff? Cespedes likes high-velocity stuff, hitting 11 of his homers against fastballs, cutters and splitters.

HR sweet spot: Like Cano, Cespedes hammers knee-high pitches. Twelve of his HR have come on stuff thrown to the lower half of the zone.

Pitch location of Cespedes' HR

 

Chris Davis

Where he hits 'em: Everywhere. Davis has 14 homers to the pull side, 12 to center, and nine to left field. His next opposite-field shot will make him the first batter to hit double-digit homers to all fields this season, a feat that only Miggy pulled off in 2012.

Davis' HR spray chart

  

Hard or soft stuff?  It doesn't seem to matter what pitchers throw to Davis, as he leads all hitters with 20 HR against hard pitches and is tied with Cabrera for top honors against soft stuff (15 HR).

HR sweet spot: As you might expect from a slugger with so many opposite-field and center field homers, Davis is crushing pitches thrown to the outer half of the plate. His 24 outer-half HR lead the majors -- and it's not even close. His closest competition, Raul Ibanez, has 18.

Pitch location of Davis' HR

 

Prince Fielder

Where he hits 'em: While Fielder has yet to go oppo this season, he has 11 homers to the pull side and five to center field.

Fielder's HR spray chart

  

Hard or soft stuff? He has gone deep nearly an equal amount against hard pitches (9 HR) and soft stuff (7 HR).

HR sweet spot: Unlike Cano and Cespedes, Fielder is a high-ball hitter. Prince has pounded 10 HR against pitches thrown in the upper half of the strike zone.

Pitch location of Fielder's HR

Monday
Jul092012

HR Derby Tidbits: NL Edition

Team Cano (Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder, Mark Trumbo) takes on Team Kemp (Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Andrew McCutchen) tonight at Kauffman Stadium in the 2012 Home Run Derby (8 PM EST, ESPN). While the Royals' home digs aren't particularly friendly to power hitters during regular games, decreasing homers hits by 27 percent for lefties and 15 percent for righties according to StatCorner, these guys should have little trouble reaching the waterfalls beyond the outfield fences. Here's a closer look at the shots hit by Team Kemp in 2012.

Carlos Beltran

Home Runs: 20

The switch-hitting Beltran, returning to spot where he gracefully roamed the bases and outfield from 198-2004, hasn't yet decided which side he'll swing from tonight. StatCorner's park factors suggest slugging righty would be better, though Beltran has crushed it from both sides this season (.520 slugging percentage and five homers as a right-handed hitter, .550 slugging and 15 HR as a lefty). Beltran might want his BP pitcher to speed it up tonight, as he has hit 14 of his 20 homers against "hard" pitches (fastballs, sinkers and cutters).

Pitch location of Beltran's HRs

Carlos Gonzalez

Home Runs: 17

CarGo doesn't fit the "pull everything in sight" power hitter archetype, hitting eight of his home runs to center field in 2012.  He's extremely adept at clearing the fence on pitches thrown to the outside portion of the plate:

Pitch location of Gonzalez's HRs

Thirteen of his 17 homers have come on pitches thrown away. Gonzalez's middle field power might not serve him especially well at Kauffman Stadium, however, considering that the center field fence is 410 feet from home plate and the power allies are 387 feet.

Matt Kemp

Home Runs: 12

Kemp, on the DL twice this season for left hamstring trouble and making his first appearance on a big league field since late May,  nonetheless ranks in the top 20 among MLB hitters with nine home runs cracked against fastballs. He has spread his homers around, too, going oppo seven times, hitting four to center field and pulling just one ball over the fence this season. He hit seven opposite-field home runs total in 2011.

Pitch location of Kemp's HRs

Andrew McCutchen

Home Runs: 18

'Cutch has made a habit of providing souvenirs for bleacher creatures in all parts of the park this season, blasting six home runs to the opposite field, four to center and eight to the pull side. He has done most of that damage against fastballs, with 13 of his 18 home runs coming against the heat. Pitchers have thrown McCutchen a heater in the strike zone nearly 57 percent of the time despite his fastball mastery, well above the 51-52 percent league average.

Pitch location of McCutchen's HRs