06/10/11 11:04 AM ET
Bautista, Pujols out front in Derby fan polling
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
Bautista, who is leading the Majors with 20 longballs for Toronto, is atop your American League choices so far in the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Josh Hamilton of Texas and David Ortiz of Boston -- the 2010 winner -- are second and third, respectively.
Pujols, who has hit 14 homers (422 lifetime) to help the Cardinals stay in front of the National League Central standings, ranks first in NL voting for this category. Prince Fielder of Milwaukee and Ryan Howard of Philadelphia round out the top three.
Now in its third year as a feature of the overall MLB All-Star Game Balloting Program -- the largest such program in sports -- the Home Run Derby Fan Poll gives fans the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the event held the night before the Midsummer Classic at Chase Field. When you vote for starters on your Sprint All-Star Game Online Ballot, the page showing your results shows this slugger poll, with 10 choices per league.
The other AL candidates are Adrian Beltre of the Rangers, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira of the Yankees, Adam Dunn of the White Sox, Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners and Vernon Wells of the Angels.
Remaining NL choices include Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies, Matt Kemp of the Dodgers, Carlos Peña of the Cubs, Joey Votto of the Reds, Jayson Werth of the Nationals and David Wright of the Mets.
The fan results do not determine the field, but they are one more way to gauge overall interest as the list of eight sluggers is finalized closer to the All-Star break. You can write in a candidate for this part of the ballot as well, just in case you're one of those wondering where Curtis Granderson (18 homers) is among the choices.
"Just like last year, it would be an honor for me to be a part of the Home Run Derby," said Bautista, who was the top overall vote-getter in the most recent update of All-Star Game balloting. "Last year I wasn't invited. Hopefully this year I will be. It will be a fun thing to participate in. I'm always one of the people who watches the Home Run Derby, so it will be fun to actually be a part of one instead of watching on TV."
Ortiz won the event last year in Anaheim, beating Florida's Hanley Ramirez in the finals. After watching what Big Papi did this week at Yankee Stadium, it's safe to say the Red Sox slugger is in longball mode and may be sought after for a return engagement in Phoenix.
The Home Run Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN. The 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Phoenix will be televised nationally on July 12 by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage.