Recently, the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star teams were announced for the game on July 15. The game is fun and all, but we all know that the annual home run derby is much more entertaining than the game, which will take place on July 14.
Since the format for the home run derby has changed this year, with five players hitting for each league hitting in the first round, I thought, why not changed it up a little more?
Instead of using active players, why not fantasize about which current MLB coaches or assistants who can still compete and knock it out of the park if they were given seven outs a piece to test out their skills.
Here’s my fantasy lineup for the 2014 MLB Coaches Home Run Derby.
1. Wally Joyner – Detroit Tigers Hitting Coach, 204 career home runs
Okay, just hear me out on this one. I know that when you hear the name Wally Joyner, you don’t instantly think of him being a power hitter. But I bet you didn’t know that he was the c0-winner of the 1986 home run derby, which was also his lone year making the All-Star team. I’m sure Joyner would love a chance to still prove that he just didn’t get lucky back in the mid-80s.
2. Mark McGwire – Los Angeles Dodgers Hitting Coach, 583 career home runs
Yes, I know there’s a huge asterisk next to his name due to the whole steroids scandal, but you can’t deny that this man was one of the best power hitters in the history of baseball. Who knows how many long balls he would have hit had he not taken any juice, and for this competition’s sake, I don’t care. This man can hit and hit the ball far, and that’s fun to watch. Just ask those who watched him win this contest in 1992.
3. Ryne Sandberg – Philadelphia Phillies Manager, 282 career home runs
Ten All-Star appearances, nine gold gloves and an MVP award. This man didn’t make it to the Hall of Fame and win the 1990 home run derby on sheer luck. Ryno is one of only three second baseman in the history of major league baseball to hit at least 40 home runs in a season, and something tells me he still has a few more hacks left in him.
4. Kirk Gibson, Arizona Diamondbacks Manager, 255 career home runs
Gibson will always be known for his pinch-hit, game-winning home run off Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. The man’s leadership and power-stroke was well known during his playing days and was able to hit a home run off a Hall of Fame closer with two bad legs, imagine what he could do with two good legs and many years of rest. I’m curious to see if he still has it.
5. Matt Williams, Washington Nationals Manager, 378 career home runs
Williams is probably best known for his days in San Francisco playing alongside Will Clark where he hit at least 30 home runs a year for six seasons. Although he was also tied to the steroid scandal, I bet his raw power would give him a good chance of winning this derby. It’s that raw power (or steroids if you want to believe it) that got him to lead the National League in home runs in 1994 with 43 bombs.
6. Jim Thome, Chicago White Sox Special Assistant, 612 career home runs
Thome is only a few years removed from his last at-bat, so he may have the very best chance of winning this home run derby. Thome is ranked seventh on the all-time home run list and has never been tied to any of the steroid scandals. It would be nice to see him and his unique batting stance one last time.
7. Don Mattingly, Los Angeles Dodgers Manager, 222 career home runs
Donnie Baseball’s best power years came in the mid-80s and is best known for just being a great overall hitter, who hit mostly for average. With his six All-Star appearances and nine Gold Gloves, Mattingly is shockingly not in the Hall of Fame. I think that if he had a chance, he’d love to tee-off one last time to show people he belongs in the Hall.
8. Vinny Castilla, Colorado Rockies Special Assistant Coach, 320 career home runs
Castilla is one of those players who if you didn’t watch him play, you may have forgotten about him. He was a great power hitter, hitting at least 4o home runs for three seasons straight. Some may say his numbers were inflated due to the stadium in Denver, but it doesn’t matter. A home run, is a home run and I think he can still knock it out of the park at 47 years old.
9. Harold Baines, Chicago White Sox Assistant Hitting Coach, 384 career home runs
Baines had a reputation for his clutch power hitting, which is backed up by his 13 grand slams which ranks 7th on the all-time list. To throw some more stats at you, his 1,628 RBIs is the most of any player who’s not in the Hall of Fame, so I’m sure if he had a chance to prove himself on a stage like this, he’d take full advantage of it.
10. Don Baylor, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Hitting Coach, 338 career home runs
At 65 years old, Baylor is the oldest of the bunch. Not only did he hit over 300 home runs over his career, he was also hit by a pitch 267 times, which ranks fourth on the all time list for a player hit by a pitch. Also, something says that the guy who’s coaching one of the best hitters in the game in Mike Trout, may know a thing or two about how to hit a baseball.
So who do you think would win this Home Run Derby? Do you have any other coaches in mind who you think would do well in this derby?