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OTM Roundtable: To Derby, or not to Derby?

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That is the question.

Boston Red Sox v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Earlier this week, I wrote a column declaring my desire for Rafael Devers to be invited and participate in this year’s Home Run Derby in Denver. He would seemingly have a good chance to participate, as he’ll be an All-Star, is among the league leaders in home runs, is one of the best young overall hitters in the game, and has the personality to be enjoyable in the event. The response to the post was a little more extreme than I would have guessed, with the majority of respondents not wanting him to participate out of fear of him messing up his swing.

I’m not surprised that the sentiment was out there, because it’s not really a new thought, but I was a little surprised by how unanimous it seemed to be. So I put the question over to the staff for this week’s roundtable.

Michael Walsh

I’m pretty indifferent about the Home Run Derby as a whole. Sure, it’s a lot of fun to see superstars showcase their power and raw strength and hit balls into the third deck, but it isn’t something I’d rather watch than a nine-inning game. Also, the format bugs me a little bit — having a time limit rushes guys and ends up measuring how quickly they can get their next swing off rather than their ability to hit the ball out of the park. Let’s bring back the 10 outs format!

Getting way off topic here. Although I’m meh on the Derby, I’d still be excited if a Red Sox player was selected. Having a rooting interest, especially someone as fun to watch as Rafael Devers, makes the contest much more interesting. And no, I don’t believe in any Home Run Derby curse. So if anyone on the Sox gets the opportunity, I hope they accept.

Keaton DeRocher

I think it’s fun when Red Sox players are in the derby. I don’t buy into the Home Run Derby curse so it does not bother me if Red Sox players participate. I’m also just pro-Derby in general. I love watching it, and whether there are Sox players participating or not I’m into it. If a Sox player is in it’s just a fun cherry on top.

Shelly Verougstraete

It has been a while since the Red Sox have had a guy that should be in the discussion of participating in the Home Run Derby. Honestly, I’m all for Devers participating if that is something that he wants to do. If he participates and struggles afterward, I know many fans will blame the Derby but I think that is just an easy excuse. The Derby is supposed to be fun and if Devers is in it, you know it will be, and I will be cheering him on!

2010 State Farm Home Run Derby Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Phil Neuffer

I’ve got a pretty simple answer here: The Home Run Derby is fun and seeing Red Sox players in it makes it more fun for me. I was stoked when David Ortiz won it in 2010 and actually disappointed when Adrián González lost it in 2011 to Robinson Canó. I’ve been just as jazzed about other Red Sox participants, but Ortiz and González are the two standouts since they went so far. I think Rafael Devers would be a fantastic Derby competitor, and if he is not selected for this year’s event, it will prove that the rest of MLB is scared he’d run away with the whole thing.

Mike Carlucci

I love the All Star Game and Home Run Derby. Usually at least one of them is exciting - the Derby more often recently - and it’s fantasy baseball in real life. All (some) of the greats (or very goods) are in one place playing together. While I’m less excited to see a Red Sox pitcher selected to get some work in, seeing guys in the ASG or Derby is a highlight of the summer.

As one of the gifted young hitters in the game, Rafael Devers not only deserves to be in the Derby but would be a thrill to watch. He’s animated and goofy in the dugout. He loves the game and you can see it. The “hangover” from either summer event isn’t a real concern. Watching guys swing for the fences, especially in the new more exciting derby format, is really fun to watch. It’s fun to root for the unexpected star of the night. And it’s fun to see Red Sox players participate.

Jake Kostik

I am completely indifferent on whether or not Devers takes part in the Home Run Derby. It’s not an event I really care a whole lot to begin with, and I actually think I will avoid watching any All-Star festivities (not including the draft) for the first time in a while this year.

I’m generally for whatever lessens risk of fatigue or injury, but the Home Run Derby is glorified batting practice, so I don’t see the risk of injury being particularly high compared to what we’d be having him do on his own through the break. If he wants to do it, I’m fine with it. If he doesn’t, just as fine with it. As long as he maintains focus after, I will survive.

Bryan Joiner

I want Raffy in the derby because he’s very fun and the Derby is about fun and it all seems to work nicely together. I’m not scared about it screwing up his swing or anything. He will be fine.

Jake Devereaux

Would I enjoy Rafael Devers being in the home run derby? Unquestionably, yes. Would I be nervous about him getting hurt or screwing up his swing? Unquestionably, yes. All in all, I would root for him like a mad man and have more fun watching the event with a Red Sox player in it than I would if he were not. With all of this being said the fact that Shohei Ohtani is in this year’s contest makes it a must-watch for me anyway, so Devers can watch on TV like the rest of us.

Brady Childs

The home run derby is one of the best things about the sport. Time and time again people have researched this and discovered that there’s no hangover effect to participating in the home run derby beyond whatever regression would usually occur. There’s no terrifying truth, just watch your favorite dudes sock some dingers. I’d be elevated if Raffy was in the field along with Joey Gallo, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuña Jr., and Bryce Harper and you should want it too.