Excitement Builds for the 2024 MLB Home Run Derby

The 2024 Home Run Derby is shaping up to be an exhilarating event, and fans are eagerly awaiting the showdown in Arlington, Texas. Globe Life Field, the home of the Texas Rangers, will serve as the battleground for some of Major League Baseball's premier sluggers on Monday, July 15, at 8 p.m. ET. This year, the Home Run Derby is not only returning with its fanfare but also introducing a new format that promises to add an extra layer of excitement to the competition.

The New Format

This year's Derby brings an innovative twist to the traditional format. All eight participants will compete in the first round against each other, each getting three minutes or 40 pitches, whichever comes first, plus one timeout. This structure is designed to emphasize efficiency and speed up the event. The four top home run hitters will advance, with ties broken by the longest home run distance. Following the initial three minutes or 40 pitches, each player gets three bonus outs, with the possibility of earning a fourth bonus out with a 425-foot home run during the bonus time. The semifinal round will pit the top four sluggers against each other in head-to-head matchups, and the final showdown will be a test of stamina and precision, with the remaining two competitors battling it out over two minutes or 27 pitches. The player with the most home runs in the finals will emerge victorious.

Confirmed Participants and Their Stories

Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson was the first to commit to the 2024 Home Run Derby on June 30. Henderson, who is on pace to become the second 50-homer shortstop in baseball history, will make his debut in this high-adrenaline contest. Orioles fans will remember triumphs by Cal Ripken Jr. and Miguel Tejada in past Home Run Derbies, hoping Henderson can add another accolade to the Orioles' mantel.

Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Alex Bohm joined the lineup on July 5. Bohm leads the National League in RBIs and the majors in doubles. He is on track to hit around 20 home runs for the season, aiming to become the third Phillies player to win the Home Run Derby, following in the footsteps of Bobby Abreu and Ryan Howard.

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, a seasoned Derby veteran, is set to participate after being selected for his fourth career All-Star Game. Alonso, who claimed the Derby crown in 2019 and 2021, will be entering his fifth Home Run Derby. However, he will look to recover from last summer's first-round elimination.

Potential and Declined Entrants

Dodgers' Teoscar Hernández has also shown interest in participating. Hernández, who boasts a record of 147 home runs from 2018-2023, is eager to make his Derby debut. However, not all the heavy hitters are participating this time around. Yankees star Aaron Judge, despite leading in home runs, has decided not to join the contest. Judge last took part in 2017, where he secured the title. Similarly, Astros' Yordan Alvarez has chosen to sit out the Derby. Alvarez, who has consistently delivered 30-plus home runs over the past three years, cited a lack of motivation for this year's event. Another significant omission is Yankees' Juan Soto, who plans to skip the Derby in his free agent year after experiencing a forearm injury scare last month. Soto, who won the 2022 Home Run Derby, explained his decision succinctly: "No, not this year."

A Possible Return for Shohei Ohtani?

Dodgers' two-way star Shohei Ohtani initially expressed interest in participating again after his first-round tiebreaker elimination by Juan Soto in 2021. However, Ohtani's recovery from elbow surgery in September has cast doubt on his participation. "I'm in the middle of my rehab progression, so it's not going to look like I'll be participating," he shared on July 2.

As the 2024 Home Run Derby approaches, excitement is building around the participants and the new format. With big names like Gunnar Henderson, Alex Bohm, and Pete Alonso ready to showcase their power, and intriguing storylines such as potential debuts and the return of past champions, Globe Life Field is set to host an event brimming with drama and entertainment.