Howard, Mauer leading in Derby poll
Fans can cast ballots reflecting preferences for homer contest
Now that you've seen the initial balloting updates for the 81st All-Star Game to be played July 13 in Anaheim, you should be interested to know that Ryan Howard of the Phillies and Joe Mauer of the Twins so far are the players from each league whom fans would most like to see in the State Farm Home Run Derby a night earlier.
For the second consecutive year, this year's ballot also features the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll. You have the opportunity to select three players in each league, and Major League Baseball ultimately will select the participants at its discretion.
Prince Fielder of the Brewers won the 2009 Home Run Derby in St. Louis, and right now, he is running second in the National League polling to Howard, who has smashed at least 40 homers in each of his previous four seasons. Third in the NL polling is Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols.
Mauer was the leading vote-getter in this week's American League balloting update for the All-Star Game, and so far, he has fans' support in the Home Run Derby polling as well. Although he has hit only a pair of long balls this season, the Twins' catcher is at the top, followed in order by Carlos Pena of the Rays and Mark Teixeira of the Yankees.
Other AL candidates are Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers; 2009 Derby runner-up Nelson Cruz of the Rangers; Aaron Hill of the Blue Jays; Torii Hunter of the Angels; Grady Sizemore of the Indians; Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners; and Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox.
Other NL candidates are Adam Dunn of the Nationals; Andre Ethier of the Dodgers; Adrian Gonzalez of the Padres; Derrek Lee of the Cubs; Mark Reynolds of the D-backs; Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies; and David Wright of the Mets.
The State Farm Home Run Derby, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the U.S. beginning at 8 p.m. ET on July 12 at Angel Stadium. It also will feature pitch-by-pitch coverage on MLB.com, with Twitter integration for live expert and fan involvement.
The 10 candidates per league were selected for the start of balloting in late April, and suffice to say, it has been a surprising start to the season in the long-ball department. Entering Wednesday's games, none of the top six home run hitters in 2010 is in this poll. Two of the candidates appear in the top 11: Ethier and Reynolds, who each has 11 homers.
Do you agree that Howard and Mauer are the most obvious representatives to choose from each league? Disagree? Just follow the link and add your vote. Further updates will be announced. Poll results will in no way determine the actual participants, as player participation is solely at the discretion of the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and is subject to player availability. But it will be fun to see how your opinion matches up with the actual field.
As with the balloting for All-Star starters, you can write in a player in either league if you so desire. Toronto slugger Jose Bautista, leading the Majors with 15 homers, might be considered. So might Paul Konerko of the White Sox, Ty Wigginton of the Orioles, Vladimir Guerrero of the Rangers, Kelly Johnson of the D-backs or Dan Uggla of the Marlins.
The 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau de Sport, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.