2024 MLB Home Run Derby Preview

The 2024 Home Run Derby, one of Major League Baseball's highlight events, will take place on Monday, July 15, at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The event is set to start at 8 p.m. ET, promising an evening of exhilarating home run action and dramatic showdowns among baseball's most formidable sluggers.

The defending champion, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who clinched victory at T-Mobile Park in Seattle last year, will face new challengers and an updated format. This year, all eight participants will compete against each other in the first round, which will span three minutes or a maximum of 40 pitches per player, accompanied by one timeout. From this intense slugfest, four leading home run hitters will advance to the semifinals. In the event of a tie, the longest home run will serve as the deciding factor.

The New Format

The updated format introduces extra layers of strategy and opportunity, with players earning three bonus outs after the initial time or pitch limit. Additionally, a fourth bonus out can be secured by hitting a 425-foot home run during bonus time.

In the semifinal round, the four advancing players will be seeded 1-4 based on their first-round home run totals. The matchups will then pair the top seed against the fourth seed and the second seed against the third seed. The same time and pitch restrictions apply: three minutes or 40 pitches, with one timeout.

The grand finale will bring a slightly different challenge, with a reduced limit of two minutes or 27 pitches, along with a single timeout. The player who hits the most home runs in this final round will claim the prestigious title.

Key Participants and Decisions

Among the notable names, Baltimore Orioles’ young star Gunnar Henderson has confirmed his participation, marking his first appearance in the Derby. This continues the legacy of Orioles players, following in the footsteps of past winners Cal Ripken Jr. and Miguel Tejada.

Meanwhile, Shohei Ohtani, the two-way phenom from the Los Angeles Angels, expressed interest in participating but has outlined the necessary approvals he must obtain. "I have to get an offer (to participate) first. I'm also rehabilitating, so I need the doctor's approval and the trainers' approval and the team's approval. Of course I have feelings of wanting to do it. I think any player would. I think it depends on how it lines up with the other parts," Ohtani said on June 26.

On the other hand, Yordan Alvarez, a standout hitter for the Houston Astros, has decided against participating in the 2024 Derby. "Something I'm not super motivated to do at this moment," Alvarez noted on July 1. Despite his impressive record of hitting 30-plus home runs in each of the last three years and being on track to do so again this season, Alvarez remains focused elsewhere. It's worth noting that no Astros player has ever won the Home Run Derby, adding a layer of intrigue to his decision.

Notable Absences

Among the absentees, Aaron Judge’s decision not to participate stands out. Judge, who currently leads in home runs, stated he would only consider returning to the Derby if the All-Star Game is held in New York. Reflecting on his previous experience, Judge emerged victorious in the 2017 Home Run Derby as a rookie, an achievement that still resonates with fans.

Excitement Building

With a mix of seasoned hitters and promising newcomers set to take the stage at Globe Life Field, the 2024 Home Run Derby promises to deliver unforgettable moments. The introduction of new rules and formats aims to keep the competition fresh and engaging, ensuring fans are treated to a spectacular display of power hitting. As the date approaches, all eyes will be on Arlington to see who will rise to the occasion and etch their name in Home Run Derby history.