When Kansas City slugger Mike Moustakas takes the national stage Monday night, he will become just the third Royal ever to compete in Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby.
The 28-year old third baseman has already set the franchise record for most home runs before the All-Star break, and if Moustakas hits just three balls over the fence at Marlins Park, he will surpass the totals set by both Bo Jackson in 1989 and Danny Tartabull in 1991.
Breaking down the numbers
Moose, as he’s affectionately called in Kansas City, has grown into a pull happy hitter over the last year with 24 of his 25 home runs flying over the right field fence this year. That’s more pulled home runs than any other player in the majors.
Marlins Park does not have the short porch in right field like Fenway Park and the field dimensions are very similar to Kauffman Stadium. The right field foul pole at the K sits at 330 with dead center at 410, while Marlins Park goes from 335 to 410 as well. Right center at the K is around 387, with Marlins Park reaching 392.
This means Moustakas will have any easier time making the adjustment to such a large park than the likes of Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.
Distance for Moustakas has never been a problem either, as 14 his 25 home runs have carried least 400 feet, tied for four best of the eight competitors. His 440-foot bomb of Chris Sale is his longest of the year.
Twenty-two of the 25 first half home runs have also left that bat with an exit velocity above 100 mph, which is the best rate of any left hander in the game.
Moustakas also enters the derby on a hot streak, with 12 of his 25 home runs coming since the calendar flipped to June. He also went deep in six of his last eight games. Over his last 165 games, Moustakas has crushed 46 home runs. He’s also on pace to easily break the top franchise mark of 36 homers in a season set by Steve Balboni in 1985.
The Home Run Derby has been around for 32 years, but the rules were altered in 2015 with the elimination of outs and inclusion of a clock. The new format brings a fast-paced energy to the event.
It’s a single-elimination bracket format with three total rounds and each batter has four minutes per round. The clock starts once the first pitch is thrown and the clock only stops early if the batter surpasses his opponents total.
The goal is to just hit more home runs than your opponent before the clock runs out. The home runs are not cumulative from round to round.
Players may stop the clock once with a 45-second timeout in each of the first two rounds. They are allowed two timeouts in the championship round.
Thirty seconds of bonus time will also be given if a player hits two home runs of 440 feet or more. The Statcast tracker tool will calculate the distance of each home run in real time and the time is added on to the end.
While it has not occurred in either of the past two years, ties for any round are broken by a 60-second wing off with no stopping the clock and no added time.
Defending Home Run Derby Champion and home crowd favorite Giancarlo Stanton has 26 home runs on the year and holds the derby’s top seed. Current home run king Aaron Judge takes the second spot, as he leads all of baseball with 30 first-half home runs.
Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers has 25 on the year and helms the third seed, with Moustakas coming in at four, facing off against division rival Miguel Sano. The Twins’ corner infielder has 21 home runs on the year.
Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon, Miami’s Justin Bour and New York’s Gary Sanchez round out the rest of the derby bracket.
Moustakas will be joined on the field by fellow Royal All-Stars Salvador Perez and Jason Vargas.
The Home Run Derby airs live from Marlins Park at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
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