Saturday Rockpile: Choosing Home Run Derby participants

Carlos Gonzalez took part in the 2012 Home Run Derby and could do so again in 2013. - H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY

The rosters for the 2013 All-Star Game will be released today, but who should be in this year's Home Run Derby?

As has been the case for the last couple years, both the National and American leagues will have a captain who will pick three league-mates to join them in the Home Run Derby. This year, the captains are David Wright from the host Mets and Robinson Cano from the Yankees. Here is who I would pick for each league were I in the position of Wright and Cano:

American League:

Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland Athletics

Cespedes has struggled this year, hitting just .221/.282/.436, but he has still hit 15 home runs and that's really all that matters in the Home Run Derby. Cespedes has some serious raw power and is capable of putting on a show on the right day.

Chris Davis, 1B, Baltimore Orioles

This one is a no-brainer. Davis has 32 home runs this year, six more than anyone else in baseball. Add to that the fact that he's never participated in the Home Run Derby before and it becomes an even easier choice.

Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/3B, Toronto Blue Jays

Despite hitting 42 home runs last season, Encarnacion was not invited to join his Blue Jays teammate Jose Bautista at the 2012 Home Run Derby. He already has 23 home runs in 2013 and is definitely worthy of selection for this year's Derby.

Cano, Cespedes, Davis and Encarnacion form a strong and entertaining AL squad, but let's take a look at who should join Wright in the NL squad to take them on.

National League:

Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies

The NL home run leader, Carlos Gonzalez, was in last year's Derby and I'm not a fan of repeat participants, so I'll take the guy in second place. The 25-year-old Brown certainly has the power to be a contender if Wright selects him for the squad.

Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

While I'm not in favor of putting him in the All-Star Game, I feel like having Puig in the Home Run Derby would be a good compromise move that would allow him to be showcased as a part of the All-Star festivities while allowing another player to be recognized in the All-Star Game itself. Puig certainly has the prodigious power necessary for the Derby, as well.

Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami Marlins

He only has eight home runs this season, but anyone who does this can and should be in any and every Home Run Derby. He will certainly put on a show for the crowd and would likely enter the derby as one of the favorites to take home the title.

There you have it, a powerful, crowd-pleasing field for this year's Home Run Derby. Also note that were he healthy, I'd put Troy Tulowitzki in Brown's spot.

Links:

Putting Michael Cuddyer's Hit Streak Into Perspective - Fangraphs
Paul Swydan takes a look at Michael Cuddyer's recently-completed 27-game hitting streak, comparing his overall production throughout the streak to other streaks of similar length.

Troy Tulowitzki a step closer to returning to Colorado Rockies after taking batting practice - Denver Post
Troy Renck catches up with Troy Tulowitzki, who took batting practice in Arizona yesterday and is hoping to return to the lineup Thursday against the Dodgers.

Jonathan Gray good to go for minor-league Grand Junction Rockies - Denver Post
Irv Moss talks with Rockies first-round pick Jonathan Gray, who is getting ready to make is professional debut Wednesday with Grand Junction.

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