2024 Home Run Derby Format Changes & Early Participants

2024 Home Run Derby Format Changes & Early Participants article feature image

Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images Pictured: Pete Alonso of the New York Mets bats during the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at T-Mobile Park on July 10, 2023 in Seattle, Washington.

Everyone loves the Home Run Derby, but this year’s contest will look different from years past when it takes place on Monday, July 15, at Globe Life Field.

Perhaps the most significant change is that hitters will see a maximum of 40 pitches each time at the plate. Ever since the Home Run Derby moved to a timed format in 2015, players got as many swings and pitches they could squeeze into the allotted time. According to ESPN, last year’s participants averaged over 43 swings per round.

Now, they’ll be seeing a max of 40 pitches with the hope it’ll lead to a less frenetic pace. Players in the past noted how exhausted they felt later in the night after going all-out in earlier rounds. There have also been private fears of injuries due to constant, frantic power swings in such a limited amount of time.

Another massive change is that there is no bracket in the first round. The sluggers won’t go mano-a-mano, but instead the four leading home run hitters will advance. Tiebreakers will be determined by the longest home run hit by each player.

The four remaining players will then be seeded with 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3. Hitters will have three minutes and 40 pitches (whichever comes first) in the first two rounds and two minutes and 27 pitches in the finals.

Another significant change is that the bonus portion of each round will no longer be timed. Players will continue to hit until they’ve made three outs. Additionally, they can earn a fourth out by clubbing a 425-foot home run.

As always, there are eight players taking part in this year's Derby . They are New York Mets’ two-time winner Pete Alonso, Kansas City Royals' Bobby Witt Jr., Baltimore Orioles’ Gunnar Henderson, Philadelphia Phillies’ Alex Bohm, Atlanta Braves' Marcell Ozuna, Cleveland Guardians' Jose Ramirez , Texas Rangers' Adolis Garcia and Los Angeles Dodgers' Teoscar Hernandez.

This is Alonso’s fifth Home Run Derby. He won his first two in 2019 and 2021 before being eliminated by Julio Rodriguez in each of the last two. Alonso won the 2019 Home Run Derby as a rookie when he narrowly beat Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 23-22 in the final round in Cleveland.

He defended his crown the next time they held the Derby in 2021 by beating Trey Mancini by an identical score. He’s looking to become the second three-time Derby Champion, joining Ken Griffey Jr. who won in 1994, 1998 and 1999. Alonso ranks 15th in the league with 18 homers as of Sunday.

Meanwhile, Witt joined the 30-30 club last year by clubbing exactly 30 homers with 49 steals. He's halfway to 30 again after hitting 15 thus far. Witt hopes to become the first Royal to win the Derby. He's the fifth player in franchise history to participate, joining Bo Jackson (1989), Danny Tartabull (1991), Mike Moustakas (2017) and Salvador Perez (2021).

Henderson has 27 homers in 2024, which is one shy of his total from a year ago. He’s on pace to become only the second shortstop to hit 50 dingers in a year, joining Alex Rodriguez who accomplished the feat in 2001 (52) and 2002 (57). He’s looking to become the third Oriole to win the Derby as Cal Ripken Jr. won it in 1991, and Miguel Tejada won in 2004.

Bohm has hit only 11 bombs thus far, but he’s destroyed those that went over the fence with nine having an exit velocity of 101.9 miles per hour or more. He’s also aiming to become the third player in his franchise’s history to win the Derby, joining Bobby Abreu (2005) and Ryan Howard (2006).

Ozuna was just named to his third All-Star Game, but first since 2017. His 23 home runs as of Sunday were tied for fourth in all of baseball. He's hoping to become the first Brave to win the Derby, which says a lot considering the likes of Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman have participated in recent years.

Ramirez returns to the Home Run Derby after taking part in 2022's festivities. He also has 23 homers on the year, which again is tied for fourth in the league. He's looking become the first player in Cleveland history to win the Derby.

Garcia will represent the Rangers since the host team always fields a participant. However, this isn't simply a token gesture.  Garcia took part in last year's Derby, but was eliminated immediately after clubbing 17 home runs, which were the second-fewest in the first round. Garcia hit 39 home runs last season, and is slightly shy of that pace so far with 17 on the year.

Hernandez will make his Derby debut in Texas. He's been terrific in his first year for the Dodgers, mashing 19 home runs thus far. Hernandez is on pace to shatter his previous high for homers when he hit 31 for the Blue Jays in 2021.

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