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Hey, MLB: Here are the Giants who need to be on your 2023 Home Run Derby invite list

Here are the Giants we think should be in the 2023 Home Run Derby.

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Has it really been five years since the Ballot Brothers?

Hunter Pence and Derek Holland’s promo to get Brandon Belt enough votes to secure the final roster spot on the 2018 National League All-Star Game roster failed for a variety of reasons:

  • Jesus Aguilar, who won the spot, was better at the time of the vote: .306/.368/.633, 22 HR, 63 RBI vs. Belt’s .300/.393/.509, 13 HR, 42 RBI
  • San Francisco Giants fans — as evidenced by the travesty of Thairo Estrada, J.D. Davis, and LaMonte Wade Jr. having far fewer votes in Phase I of this year’s All-Star Games balloting than other players at their positions they are clearly better than — either just don’t turn out to vote or are a very small fan base in the grand scheme of MLB
  • The actual All-Star Game is too prestigious, too competitive, too scrutinized

That’s why I think the move this year is to stump for Giants to be participate in The Home Run Derby. It is a low priority system and may be accessible.

We’re fast approaching the All-Star Game rosters being finalized along with a list of participants the running tracker as of this morning had just one player on the list: Julio Rodriguez. That’s because this year’s derby will be at Rodriguez’s home stadium, T-Mobile Park in Seattle, a really terrible place to hit home runs.

Major League Baseball, I know you’re reading this! I’m going to make the case for why you should consider placing at least one San Francisco Giant on your Home Run Derby invite list. You’re going to have a long list of players in case of declined invitations, but there’s absolutely a world where you can find space in a field of 8 for one Giant. Consider these worthy candidates!

Michael Conforto

Let’s start with the beauty shots of his home run power:

  • His longest HR of the year (429 ft)
  • This one (424 ft)
  • And this one, just because (418 ft)

His 12 home runs on the season put him in an 11-way tie for 51st on the list of players, sure, but only 240 active players have homered at T-Mobile Park and only 518 active players have a plate appearance there, so we’re dealing with just 46% of the active baseball population. Conforto has hit two home runs there, which is a multi-way tie for 112th. That’s basically 80th percentile of active players, and look who he’s tied with:

Out of that list of 30 dudes, you’d probably distill it down to this list of who you’d actually want participating in All-Star Game festivities that aren’t the actual game:

Mookie Betts
Bo Bichette
Michael Conforto
Anthony Rizzo
Giancarlo Stanton

Conforto has more homers than Stanton and Rizzo, Fernando Tatis Jr.’s situation is fraught and like Jack Suwinski he’ll most likely be a reserve, along with, like, Anthony Santander and Tommy Edman. Do you want roster reserve guys in a Derby?

Too, if we go back to the top of the list (where Nelson Cruz leads all active players with 84 career home runs at T-Mobile), then filter out all the current Mariners (since Julio Rodriguez will be representing them) and everyone he’s currently tied with or has has more homers than, we get a list of just these guys:

Mike Trout, 33 (T-Mobile) / 17 (current)
Kole Calhoun, 11 (T-Mobile) / 12 (current)
Aaron Judge, 10 (T-Mobile) / 19 (current)
J.D. Martinez, 9 (T-Mobile) / 18 (current)
Matt Olson, 9 (T-Mobile) / 26 (current)
Joey Gallo, 6 (T-Mobile) / 13 (current)
Shohei Ohtani, 6 (T-Mobile) / 28 (current)
Salvador Perez, 6 (T-Mobile) / 15 (current)
Rafael Devers, 5 (T-Mobile) / 19 (current)
Jose Ramirez, 5 (T-Mobile) / 13 (current)
Yordan Alvarez, 3 (T-Mobile) / 17 (current)
Byron Buxton, 3 (T-Mobile) / 13 (current)
Adolis Garcia, 3 (T-Mobile) / 20 (current)
Ketel Marte, 3 (T-Mobile) / 15 (current)
Max Muncy, 3 (T-Mobile) / 18 (current)
Jorge Soler, 3 (T-Mobile) / 21 (current)

Now, obviously — obviously — Conforto’s 15 plate appearances across three games doesn’t indicate those two home runs are magical or that he sees the ball better there (especially since the two home runs came in the same game) than other players, and combined with his measly 12 home runs it’s irrational to say that he’d be a better candidate than the 42 other guys with more home runs —


The league does all sorts of whacky things for the sake of entertainment. Why should you, a Giants fan, or you, a league official, want Michael Conforto over some others? I think the New York fans love him and he’s a good story because he sat out a year because of injury and now he’s back and hitting home runs.


Michael Conforto was born in Seattle. He was in the Little League World Series with the Northwest Region. He is an all-state athlete from there.

Look, in a field of 8 with no limits on reps from a given league, you’re probably looking at a locked-in field of:

Julio Rodriguez (already committed)
Juan Soto (last year’s champ)
Pete Alonso (obv)
Ronald Acuna Jr. (participated last year, has 19 this season)
Matt Olson (leads NL with 26 HR)

And after that, it gets interesting. Shohei Ohtani hasn’t yet decided if he’ll participate this year after declining an invitation last year. He leads MLB with 28 home runs. Mike Trout has never participated before. Luis Robert is 4th in MLB with 23 home runs, so if he accepts and Ohtani declines, that would still leave two spots.

Sometimes, these Derbys feature one “story guy.” Last year, it was the cremains of Albert Pujols. In 2021, it was Trey Mancini. You’re telling me, Major League Baseball, that you wouldn’t want Seattle’s native son to come back and smack some dingers? He’s a deserving candidate!

... and might be on the IL when the All-Star Game rolls around, so, here are some other candidates...

Joc Pederson

Yes, obviously. I mean, come on, why wouldn’t you want him? Your runner-up in 2015 and 2019 participant who hit the second-most in the entire Derby with


He has just 8 home runs on the season, sure, but his power hasn’t diminished with age, he’s just playing in a stadium that kills power. That said, look at this:

By your logic, he’s hitting the crap out of the ball. Those are the red circles of a Derby Guy.

And to the point about Oracle Park sucking the life out of power bats, he’s -1.8 in actual HR vs. expected home runs (xHR). As of this morning, he’s 8th in baseball in xwOBA.

I mean, come on. 432 feet with ease:

A 112 mph laser:

Plus, Cubs, Dodgers, and Braves fans love him — those are your core constituents! This is the exact kind of weirdo you want on TV to attract casual viewers away from their device or whatever else they were doing besides paying attention to your product:

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants Photo by Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/Getty Images

CASUAL TWEEN: “lol wut?”

CASUAL TWENTYSOMETHING: “Who’s this weirdo?”

CASUAL SOMEONE’S MOM: “That’s a baseball player?!”

Thairo Estrada

I don’t know what to tell you, buddy! He’s the best second baseman in the National League, he’s not on your stupid All-Star roster, but guess what? His average home run distance of 405 feet is 75th in baseball, tied with Luis Robert, who has 23 home runs to Estrada’s 9, but isn’t the best second baseman in the National League.

7 of his 9 dingers are what your own metrics call No Doubters, as in home runs in all 30 parks. Look at this list he’s on!


  • 441 feet straightaway:
  • 424 feet (okay, in Colorado, but still, that’s 100% pull — great for T-Mobile):
  • Here’s 422 ft 100% pulled that’s not in Colorado:
  • And here’s 413 ft at Oracle:

Thairo Estrada is still a very tall 5-10, but he plays short on TV. Give the short kings & queens out there a dinger-hitting hero.

The only time the Giants have won the Home Run Derby was in 1996, when Barry Bonds beat Mark McGwire, 17-15. Bonds participated in 2002 and again in 2004 and then there hasn’t been a Giant since.

Is that because the Giants haven’t had a 30 home run hitter since 2004? Yeah, probably. But Camilo Doval isn’t the only All-Star-worthy player on the 2023 Giants; and if there’s not going to be room for any of these worthy on the game’s actual roster, the long list for the Derby is a reasonable consolation.

I’ve tried appealing to your hearts (Michael Conforto: Native Son), head (Joc Pederson’s Statcast! Conforto & Pederson’s prior histories, current successes), and negging (Thairo Estrada, simply the best) and so if none of these compel you to take a gamble on one Giant for one Derby spot, the only rational conclusion will be that you’re all dumb.