Shohei Ohtani's road to winning the 2021 Home Run Derby got a bit easier Friday, as one of MLB's premier sluggers said he has no interest in taking part in the event. New York Yankees star Aaron Judge said he won't participate in the Home Run Derby until it returns to New York, according to Laura Albanese of Newsday.
That shouldn't come as a major surprise. After winning the Home Run Derby in 2017, Judge said he was "one and done" with the event. The fact that Judge is open to appearing in another Home Run Derby should be viewed as a positive sign, he just won't take part in the event in 2021. That's a shame, as watching Judge demolish baseballs in Coors Field would have been fun.
Ohtani waiting for rest of Home Run Derby field
Ohtani became the first player to announce he would take part in the Home Run Derby on Friday. Ohtani released a hype video stating he would appear at the event. He'll be the first Japanese-born player to appear in the Derby.
Ohtani will now wait for the rest of the field to make their announcements. While Judge won't participate, there are a number of sluggers who are willing to make an appearance at the event. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Yordan Alvarez have expressed interest, and 2019 winner Pete Alonso wants to defend his title. Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olsen joined that chorus Friday, saying he's interested in the Derby.
Young stars like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Ronald Acuña Jr. sit high up on the home run leaderboard and will likely be asked to take part in the event. Acuña participated in 2019, so he could reprise his role. Tatis said he would wait before making a decision on the 2021 Derby. The event usually features a hometown player, so Ryan McMahon could have the option to participate.
As he waits for other players to join, Ohtani will work to perfect his home run swing. He put those skills on display Friday, smashing two home runs in an 11-3 win over the Detroit Tigers.
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