Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger has hit home runs at a faster pace than anyone in major league history to start a career, so it is only natural that he was chosen to participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby.
The All-Star Game is at Marlins Park in Miami this year, and defending Home Run Derby champion Giancarlo Stanton will get to defend his title in his home park. The derby will be held on Monday, July 10 at 5 p.m. PT, and will be televised by ESPN.
Bellinger spent the first 20 games of the season in the minor leagues, but despite spotting everyone a head start he is tied for the National League lead with 24 home runs in just 64 games.
At 57 games, he was the fastest to 24 career home runs in major league history.
Both league leaders in home runs are rookies, and Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge — whose 27 home runs lead the majors — is also in the Home Run Derby field. Joining the two rookie sluggers and Stanton are Marlins first baseman Justin Bour, Twins third baseman Miguel Sano, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, and Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon.
Bellinger was waiting on seeing if his father — former major leaguer Clay Bellinger — could get time off to join him in Miami. The plan is for Clay to pitch to son Cody.
On Sunday Bellinger on MLB Network said, "I'm almost positive that I'm going to be able to do it. I'm looking forward to it."
This is the third consecutive season the Dodgers will have a rookie participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2015, Joc Pederson put on a show with 39 home runs but lost in the final round to Todd Frazier. Last year, Corey Seager homered 15 times in the first round, but was beaten by Stanton, the eventual champion.
Both Pederson and Seager were also named All-Stars as rookies. Bellinger got the All-Star nod on Sunday, one of four Dodgers — for now — headed for the midsummer classic.
Every year with the Home Run Derby, people will complain that participating in the event will mess up a player’s swing, despite countless studies that have debunked that myth. The Dodgers are totally fine with Bellinger taking part in the exhibition.
“If he wants to hit in the Home Run Derby, I support it,” manager Dave Roberts said on the last homestand.
Someone asked if the event would affect Bellinger’s swing, but Roberts answered simply, “No.”