It seems pretty evident that someday we will see Bryce Harper put on a show in the Home Run Derby contest held during the All Star break. Much to the chagrin of many Nationals fans, it appears this year isn’t going to be the first.
Captain of the National League team, Matt Kemp, revealed to Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today that he’s made his decision on who the NL’s four participants will be in Kansas City. Kemp, however, did not reveal the names, only mentioning that he plans to compete and that much of his thought process was based on the league leaders list.
Kemp did explain some of his reasoning for leaving Harper off the roster, and I can’t say I disagree with his line of thinking:
"It’s not because he’s a rookie. It’s just that there are other guys out there that are capable. I’m not saying he wouldn’t do a good job in the Home Run Derby. He’s going to have plenty of time to participate in many Home Run Derbies. Just not this year. Nothing against him. I love watching him play."
Kemp’s right. There are other players more deserving to compete this year. And Harper will have his chance, in time.
A quick scan of the NL home run leaders, heading into Wednesday’s games, Carlos Beltran and Ryan Braun were tied for the league lead with 20. Carlos Gonzalez, Jay Bruce, and Giancarlo Stanton come next, tied with 17.
Kemp has 12, but spend some time on the DL already this year. Harper has just 7, for comparison.
My guess – Kemp will be joined by Stanton, Bruce, and Beltran. Braun won last year’s NL MVP over a more-deserving Kemp, so maybe the ‘retribution’ is leaving Braun out of the Derby.