The Midwest League announced Monday which eight players will participate in next week’s Home Run Derby. There will be four players from each division.
The Home Run Derby take place at South Bend’s Four Winds Field on Monday, June 17, beginning at 7:30 p.m. EST. It is the final event of the day’s All-Star Fan Fest.
The four Eastern Division participants (and their number of home runs this season, as of Monday morning) are Great Lakes Loons outfielder Niko Hulsizer (13), Bowling Green Hot Rods catcher Chris Betts (11), Lansing Lugnuts first baseman Jake Brodt (8), and South Bend Cubs outfielder Jonathan Sierra (2).
The four Western Division participants are Peoria Chiefs third baseman Nolan Gorman (10), Clinton LumberKings outfielder Jerar Encarnacion (8), Cedar Rapids Kernels first baseman Chris Williams (8), and Kane County Cougars outfielder Alek Thomas (6).
Lake County Captains outfielder Will Benson leads the Midwest League with 16 home runs, but presumably either wasn’t asked to participate or declined to because he was in last year’s MWL Home Run Derby. He finished second in last year’s derby, behind then-Hot Rods catcher Ronaldo Hernandez.
The winner of this year’s Home Run Derby gets $1,000. The second-place finisher wins $500.
The Home Run Derby is a three-round event, with players competing against others from their division in the first two rounds. The final round will be a head-to-head competition between two players, one from each division. There is a time limit of three minutes per player in each round.
The All-Star Game will be played the next day (Tuesday, June 18). The All-Star rosters were announced last week. (Click here to see who the starting players will be, and to find links to both teams’ rosters.)