2014 HomeRun Derby Selection Statistics

And the 2014 MLB season is officially under way. There were a lot of pitchers’ duels on opening day today, several 1-0 games, a few games went to extra innings. And then there was the Rangers/Phillies game which looked like a halftime score from an NFL game at 14-10.

But now that the season is in full-swing (pun intended), the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby has also officially begun. The best part about the begin of the Derby is being able to publish the teams’ selections. No one has laid eyes on any of the picks other than myself. But now you, owner of one of the other 95 teams, get to size up the other competition. And let me tell you that there is the competition this season.

With 96 total teams, we have set a new record for participants in a single season. Well done. And because I have to enter each individual team into the contest, I get to analyze every single pick (not going to lie, I enjoy analyzing data). Don’t worry, after the first season I got smart and started scripting a lot of it. But the numbers don’t lie, I think this was the most difficult season to pick a team from the designated groups. What do you think? Even with the difficult choices, as a group we continue to surprise myself by not having a single duplicate team. That’s right, 96 unique teams have been submitted. There are a few teams that match 4 out of 5 choices, but none match 5 for 5.

Before we get into the player selections, one of my favorite parts of the derby are the submitted team names. And this season you guys didn’t let me down. Some of my favorites include: “Cowhide Joyride”, “Don’t Plouffe on your Hanley”, “One Less Aramark Meal For Me”, “Please Neglect The Balls”, “Suppansticious”, “The Fighting John Jaha’s”, “The Something Clevers”, and “You Down With The OBP?” I really do enjoy good puns. Whether it includes player names, baseball terms, or the cost of registration, it really doesn’t matter. The baseball quotes are good too, nothing like quoting a classic baseball movie.

But there are two teams that are head and shoulders above the rest on team name and pick selections. Now I won’t put money on them winning a home run contest (Wait, isn’t that what this is?), but the team of “I picked all Ryans so I can remember who I have” which includes: Ryan Braun, Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Raburn, and Ryan Ludwick, is a great combination of name and player picks. The manager’s reasoning behind this may have something to do with most of the conversations from now until October will include baseball whether they want to talk about it or not.

The second team is probably the most clever and took some effort too. Team “Cuba Libre” is supporting all of the Cuban players in the derby. It was almost possible to have all five selections from Cuba, but Group A lacked a choice with this criteria. However, their team attempted to fill this gap the best they could. Their entire team consists of Giancarlo Stanton, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Abreu, and Yunel Escobar. That Group E write-in must have taken some time to find a player to fit. I probably would have gone with Yonder Alonso or Dayan Viciedo, but this team will go down as one of the most clever and an instant classic.

Ok, onto what most of you probably want to know. How did your picks compare to the rest of the Home Run Derby field. Let’s start with Group A. No surprise that Miggy was the group favorite with 37 of 96 teams selecting him to lead their team. He should be the obvious choice seeing as he’s always competing for the triple crown. Chris Davis was the next obvious choice, with 21 teams choosing the Oriole. Remember, he did just lead the majors a season ago. Then came the big drop off. Goldy came in with 8 teams hoping the youngster develops more power. And then we see how the mighty have fallen. Fielder, Bautista, Pujols, and Dunn all used to be home run threats but this may be their last season in the most elite tier. As always, we have Brewcrew homers and are betting on a clean Braun to use all the jeers from fans to power him to a home run title. And thankfully, Big Diehl’s Bombers chose Pedro Alvarez, otherwise Pedro would have been pretty lonely on the playground with other unselected kids.

I thought Group B was the most difficult group to choose from. Mike Trout was Mr. Popular here with 19 teams choosing the young gun from the West that is stealing all of Miggy’s spotlight. And maybe it was the right choice since he already has a homer after opening day. Jay Bruce was the next one with the most picks at 14. Followed by Longoria at 12. Both are big question marks in my mind as Longoria always seems injured and Bruce just can’t seem to take the next step in the power department. The biggest surprises I thought in Group B were the guys that weren’t selected. I understand everyone avoiding strikeout king, Mark Reynolds. Although he is a Brewer, so I thought we would get one homer to pick him. But no one selected Troy “I’m made of glass” Tulowitzki or Joey “Do Walks count as HRs?” Votto. They both have 30+ home run power but no one was willing to take a gamble on them.

Group C was similar to B. Two popular choices followed by everyone else. McCutchen and Harper were the top two with 18 and 14 teams choosing them respectively. Cespedes wasn’t far behind at 10. I think this shows that more people were willing to gamble on the young phenoms this season than in years past. And I attribute this to how difficult the groupings were. Surprisingly in Group C, there were a fair number of teams willing to take the veteran players. Beltran had 9 picks, Holliday had 3, A-gon got 2, and Konerko got 1 team to select him. Somehow there were 10 players left on the bench in this group. I thought for sure Lind, LaRoche, Willingham, and Zimmerman would have gotten some love. I guess there were too many bright and shiney young players to chose from that distracted managers from these guys.

The last group that had a majority during selection was Group D. Everyone wanted a piece of the young Cuban Jose Abreu, and rightfully so since he is projected for 30+ HR power. But during the grouping process, it was and still is unknown how much playing time he will get or how will he struggle with major league pitching. That didn’t scare off 18 teams (me included). High risk equals high reward but most likely watching your team at the bottom of the standings. Freddie Freeman was the second popular choice with 15. He’s just waiting to show off more power but has yet to top 23 homers in a single season. I thought Han-Ram would be a more popular choice but most must be scared off by his 2013 injuries. Another surprising player lacking supporters was Hunter Pence. He always hits 25 home runs and almost topped 30 last season. The rest of Group D is fairly disbursted with 1, 2, 3, or 4 teams selecting a player.

I’m not even going to attempt to analyze all of Group E because it’s always a shotgun blast. There were 8 write-in choices that weren’t included in my original list. Wil Myers received 6 selections and the Brewer fans chose Khris Davis 5 times. The other 6 write-ins were Lucroy, Molina, Seager, Avisail Garcia, Yunel Escobar, and Ellsbury. If you total up all the teams that chose to write-in a player versus selecting one, there were 19 teams to do so. That right there shows the level of research and competition in the contest this season. Of the choices from the original list, Josh Donaldson, Eric Hosmer, Justin Smoak, and Allen Craig were the most popular choices, but none of them topped 10.

This season there were 121 players on the original list, but in the end there are 129 if you include the 8 that were write-ins. To see the entire selection distribution by group, please continue reading below. If you are sick of numbers, then stop right here. And instead, turn on some baseball and enjoy every second of it for the next 6 months.

    Group A Selection Distribution
  • Miguel Cabrera – 37
  • Ryan Braun – 6
  • Bautista/Encarnacion/Pujols/Stanton – 3
  • Chris Davis – 21
  • Prince Fielder – 5
  • Adam Dunn – 2
  • Paul Goldschmidt – 8
  • Mark Trumbo – 4
  • Pedro Alvarez – 1
    Group B Selection Distribution
  • Mike Trout – 19
  • Beltre/Gonzalez – 8
  • Cano/Granderson/Kemp/Puig – 3
  • Jay Bruce – 14
  • Adam Jones – 6
  • Cruz/Hamilton – 2
  • Evan Longoria – 12
  • Ortiz/Soriano – 5
  • Howard/Napoli/Teixeira – 1
  • Reynolds/Tulowitzki/Votto – 0
    Group C Selection Distribution
  • McCutchen – 18
  • Beltran – 9
  • J.Upton/Zimmerman – 5
  • Holliday – 3
  • Harper – 14
  • Rizzo – 8
  • Adams/Carter – 4
  • A. Gonzalez – 2
  • Cespedes – 10
  • Moss – 7
  • Headley, Konerko, Morse, Rosario, Uggla, Werth, Willingham – 1
  • Gattis, Hart, LaRoche, Lind, McCann, Morales, A.Ramirez, Swisher – 0
    Group D Selection Distribution
  • Abreu – 18
  • Gomez/H.Ramirez – 8
  • Heyward – 6
  • Choo – 3
  • Freeman – 15
  • Hardy – 7
  • Brown/Cuddyer/Pence – 4
  • Arencibia, Gyorko, Ibanez, Rasmus, Santana, Wright – 2
  • I.Davis, Duda, Gomes, Middlebrooks, Pena, Raburn, BJ Upton – 1
  • Francisco, Jones, Moreland, Quentin, Ramos, L.Scott, Wieters, Young – 0
    Group E Selection Distribution
  • Donaldson – 8
  • Craig/Myers – 6
  • Rios – 4
  • Hosmer/Smoak – 7
  • Butler/Morneau/Posey/K.Davis – 5
  • Gordon/Kinsler/Ruggiano – 3
  • Castro, Hunter, Plouffe, Reddick, Sandoval, Utley, Weeks, Molina, A. Garcia – 2
  • Ethier, Frazier, Joyce, Ludwick, Dominguez, Mauer, Viciedo, Lucroy, Seager, Escobar, Ellsbury – 1
  • Hill, K. Johnson, Kubel, Ross, Saltalamacchia, Young – 0
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2 Responses
  1. The Commish says:

    Good catch Gabe. I somehow missed him in the group of 3 picks. It looks like Miami may have a fighting chance at getting him pitches to look at based on their first two games.

  2. Gabe says:

    No mention of Giancarlo “hey it sounds way cooler than Mike” Stanton in Group A? There were surely a few picks there?