Where is the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby?

Every year, the dog days of summer are punctuated by the MLB All-Star Game. Although the mid-summer classic interrupts the year-round entertainment we’ve come to expect from the Big Four, that blow is softened by the Home Run Derby the night before the game. There is no defensive play, and batters choose their respective pitchers, selecting whoever will serve up the tastiest meatballs.

It’s become a hallmark of the MLB season as baseball’s best hitters vie for the distinction of being crowned the Home Run Derby Champion. 

Where is the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby?

The Seattle Mariners were awarded the 2023 All-Star festivities, meaning T-Mobile Park will be the venue hitters have to conquer. The Mariners’ home field has earned a reputation for being a pitcher-friendly setting, but it’s less intimidating for home runs hitters. In three of the past five seasons, T-Mobile Park ranked in the league’s top half in home run Park Factor.

Left-handed batters have a modest advantage with right field 326 feet away. The left field wall is slightly further, measuring 331 feet, with dead-center 401 feet from home plate. 

The Competition

The contest has undergone several format changes throughout its existence. In its current arrangement, batters go head-to-head with another contestant, crushing as many long fly balls as they can in three minutes. In the event of a tie, hitters participate in a swing-off, with an extra minute to add to their total. The winner of the matchup advances until a lone batter is left standing. 

The Curse

There is some apprehension about participating in the derby. Players believe that swinging for the fences on Monday night of the All-Star break results in decreased power metrics over the second half of the season. Over the past decade, this theory has been disproven by analytics specialists; however, some stats are worth considering. 

The reigning champion, Juan Soto, swatted 27 long balls through the regular season in 2022. Twenty of those dingers came in the first half of the season, with Soto sending just eight balls into the bleachers in the latter half of the campaign. That resulted in a significant decrease in his slugging percentage, dropping from .497 to .387. 

 New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso experienced a similar pattern when he first won the competition in 2019. His home run dropped to 23 in the second half of the season after clubbing 30 before the break. Alonso defied the odds in 2021, watching his metrics improve after the All-Star Game.

Still, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Todd Frazier all saw noticeable decreases in home runs and slugging percentage after their respective wins. Since 2014, Bryce Harper has been the only other player to improve his metrics after winning the derby. 

The Winners

National League players are running hot in the event, winning six of the previous seven derbies. Alonso became just the third batter to win consecutive titles, taking home the award in 2019 and 2021 (no contest was held in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions). He joined Yoenis Cespedes and Ken Griffey Jr. in the achievement, while Prince Fielder is the only other multiple-time winner.

Home Town Representation

The Mariners have a stable of young, talented players who could claim victory at home. Julio Rodriguez leads the charge, but Eugenio Suarez, Cal Raleigh, and Ty France all had 20 or more home runs last year. It’s anybody’s guess who ends up in the 2023 Home Run Derby, but the reigning AL Rookie of the Year would have the entire stadium behind him if he’s chosen to participate.