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2013 Home Run Derby: Young Sluggers Take Center Stage

Matthew Tufts |
July 12, 2013 | 9:46 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Defending champion Prince Fielder will have to compete with several emerging stars for this year's Derby title. (Creative Commons / Wikimedia)
Defending champion Prince Fielder will have to compete with several emerging stars for this year's Derby title. (Creative Commons / Wikimedia)

The legitimacy of the MLB All Star Game voting process has been heavily scrutinized by fans and analysts, many of whom argue that it shuts out young talent in favor of popular, yet washed up veterans. While Dodger fans may still harbor hard feelings after Yasiel Puig was not voted in, they can look to a new event as a spotlight for young stars.

This year's Home Run Derby features two squads ripe with young talent. Led by a pair of 30-year old hometown favorites in David Wright and Robinson Cano, the two teams' average age is under 28. With several new names appearing on the roster, let's take a look at the most intriguing players participating in this year's Derby.

The Defending Champ: Prince Fielder

With the utmost respect to Vince Wilfork's grace, Fielder may be the best at putting every ounce of his 275-pound frame to use. When he's not teaching us physics lessons, Fielder is crushing balls out of Comerica Park and setting records like "first father/son duo to hit 50+ home runs in a season" and "greatest seismic activity registered in Milwaukee." He'll be in it every year.

The Young(er) Gun: Bryce Harper

Okay, so the whole field - with the exception of Cuddyer - is young, but Harper takes it to a whole new level. He's 20. Yes, 20. He can't legally buy a drink. He's too young to sign for a rental car. But he's not too young to be one of the most exciting players in the game. Fielding has something to be desired, but his hitting is unreal. Rarely do you see a player whose bat brings this kind of excitement to the game (with one Puig exception), but Harper has managed to do that in just his first couple seasons. We'll see if he continues to shine in the spotlight on Monday night.

Yoenis Cespedes That A's Outfielder With The Impossible Name

If it weren't for some other young outfielder named Mike Trout, Cespedes would have run away with the AL Rookie of the Year last season. Cespedes burst onto the scene last year posting double digits in home runs, doubles, and stolen bases. He's small - only 5' 10" - but has incredible raw power and bat speed that make him a joy to watch. A definite dark horse candidate.

"El Toro:'" Pedro Álvarez

So maybe he's no "Hebrew Hammer" [Ryan Braun] or "Pronk" [Travis Hafner], but "El Toro" is making a name for himself beyond the nickname. Billed by some as the best power hitter to come out of Pittsburgh since Barry Bonds, Álvarez's power is undeniable. If one guy won't be bothered by Citi Field's "pitcher's park" reputation, it's the guy who literally put two home runs out of Dodger Stadium in BP.

The Favorite: Chris Davis

If any explanation is necessary, you should seriously reconsider your job, relationship, or other hobbies which are clearly infringing on your ability to follow sports.

You don't need to have a favorite player to enjoy the Home Run Derby. No one from your team needs to be competing for you to watch it. This year's field of young stars is one of the most fascinating lineups in the history of the event. So grab your glove, your hat, or your beer - head out to the Citi Field bleachers. With the power this year's lineup has, you can bet everyone will go home with a souvenir.


Reach Staff Writer Matthew Tufts here and on Twitter.



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