Monday, July 14, 2014

#TripleAHRDerby Live Blog

I am looking forward to tonight's Triple A Home Run Derby in Durham, North Carolina and will be live blogging this event.  This is my second attempt at live blogging an event.  I also tried to live blog a Durham Bulls game earlier in the year, but it ended up being a pretty non-competitive affair.  Tonight's Triple A Home Run Derby features 6 Triple A players: three from the Pacific Coast League and three from the International League.  Here's a look at the six players:

Mikie Mahtook- Durham Bulls 

Mahtook was a late addition to the home run derby after Toledo Mud Hens slugger Mike Hessman bowed out of the derby because of an injury.  Mahtook is the hometown guy and will be the crowd favorite to win the home run derby.  I am a big Mahtook fan, but this is a home run derby and Mahtook has a grand total of 24 career minor league home runs in three years of minor league play.  He also has 80 doubles and 21 triples during that same time.  If this were the extra base hit derby or the double derby I would give Mahtook good odds, home run derby..... Believe me I would love to see Mahtook win, and could easily pick him to win for the sake of feeling good, but I am also going to be fair.  Mahtook's one advantage, since he is not a true power hitter, is that he knows the ballpark and is right-handed.  I think that a right-handed batter will do better in Durham since the left field fence is shorter.  Here's a look at a Mahtook home run in the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Jesus Aguilar- Columbus Clippers

The Indians catching prospect has shown good pop this year blasting 12 home runs in the International League.  He has also had a few good years hitting home runs during his minor league career.  Last season he posted 16, in 2012 it was 15, and in 2011 hit a career high 23 playing in A ball.  Aguilar seems like he could be a legit contender for the home run derby crown, but he has been ice cold with the home runs of late.

Aguilar started off the 2014 season with a bang posting a .356/.440/.667 line in April with 7 home runs and 16 RBIs.  In May, Aguilar hit less than .200 before he regained his form in June hitting 5 home runs with a .259/.351/.459 line.  Then in July Aguilar is back down to hitting with little power, though his average has rebounded.  He is just inconsistent, but he is a right handed bat.

Matt Hague- Indianapolis Indians

Hague was a late addition to the home run derby after the Blue Jays called up former Durham Bull, and International League MVP, to the majors.  Hague seems a lot like Mahtook, a little more power, but tons of doubles.  During his seven seasons in the minors Hague has a high of 15 home runs and currently has 13 on the season.  Hague's double totals have been consistently over 30 with two seasons of 30 and two seasons of 37.  Hague is also a righty, which makes him a contender.  Here's a look at the swing and the power.  Pretty impressive shot.  Might be my dark horse.  

Allan Dykstra- Las Vegas 51s

Dykstra has a local connection to Durham as a former Wake Forest baseball player.  While Wake Forest is a little bit of drive from Durham, he still visited the Triangle often to play Duke, State, and Carolina.  Currently Dykstra has 12 home runs playing in the hitting friendly Pacific Coast League.  Last season he won the Eastern League MVP award playing for the Mets Double A team in Binghampton.  His career high in home runs is 21, but Dykstra seems to be a pretty consistent power threat.  He's a lefty, but he has good opposite field pop.  

Mike Jacobs- Reno Aces 

I think that Mike Jacobs is the favorite now that Mike Hessman is going to be out of the Home Run Derby.  Jacobs has a significant amount of playing time in the Majors with exactly 100 career home runs.  Jacobs has also shown off some good power in the Pacific Coast League this season with 12 home runs.  Last year he blasted a total of 28.  He is a lefty, but those Major League home runs make him the favorite in my book.  

Francisco Pena- Omaha Storm Chasers 

Pena is the hardest Home Run Derby contestant to measure.  On one hand he is about the hottest hitter in Triple A baseball right now and has been an absolute monster during the past month or so.  For those dismissing his performance as a simple function of the Pacific Coast League being a hitters league, know that it's not like he's been on a twenty game road trip through Salt Lake, Tucson, and Colorado Springs.   The home runs have come in places like Iowa, Oklahoma City, and at home in Omaha (a pitcher's park).  Before this season, however, Pena did not show a lot of power.  His career high for home runs entering this season was nine.  He is a right-handed bat and he is also Tony Pena's son, bonus point.  The swing:

I will post my predicted winner shortly....Who do you think will win?  

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