HR Derby Preview: Team Wright
Citi Field's Home Run Apple will get a workout tonight, as some of the game's preeminent power hitters aim for the fences during the 2013 All-Star Home Run Derby (8 p.m. ET on ESPN). Team Robinson Cano (including Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Davis, Prince Fielder) will take on Team David Wright (Pedro Alvarez, Michael Cuddyer and Bryce Harper). Here's a breakdown of dingers hit by Team Wright as you ponder which tally will be higher -- attendance at Citi Field or the number of "backbackback"s belted out by Chris Berman.
Where he hits 'em: Pedro is a pull hitter, ripping 15 of his 24 home runs to right field. He has gone yard six times to center field and three times to the opposite side.
Alvarez's HR spray chart
Hard or soft stuff? He likes pitches that reach home plate nearly as fast as he sends them screaming towards the stands. Alvarez has 16 homers against "hard" pitches (fastballs, cutters and splitters), including 15 off fastballs. That ties him with Adam Dunn for the most HR in the majors against the heat.
HR sweet spot: Alvarez is feasting on belt-high pitches, launching an NL-best 18 home runs on offerings that cross the vertical middle of the plate. Miguel Cabrera (22 HR) and Chris Davis (20) are the only hitters with more belt-high homers.
Pitch location of Alvarez's HR
Where he hits 'em: Cuddyer has belted eight homers to the pull side, four to center field and three to left field.
Cuddyer's HR spray chart
Hard or soft stuff? He's an equal-opportunity slugger, hitting eight home runs against hard pitches and seven off soft stuff. Cuddyer is particularly fond of curveballs (4 HR).
HR sweet spot: Above the belt -- Cuddyer has hit 11 HR off pitches thrown to the upper half of the zone.
Pitch location of Cuddyer's HR
Where he hits 'em: Harper has spread the ball around during his injury-shortened 2013 season, hitting seven HR to right field and three apiece to center and left field.
Harper's HR spray chart
Hard or soft stuff? Harper runs full-speed into outfield walls -- of course he likes the hard stuff. He has eight combined home runs against fastballs, cutters and splitters, and five off soft pitches.
HR sweet spot: Unlike most of his HR Derby competition, Harper prefers when hitters challenge him with inside pitches. He has eight HR against stuff thrown on the inner half.
Pitch location of Harper's HR
Where he hits 'em: The home town favorite has seven pull-side HR, five shots to center and one homer to the opposite field.
Wright's HR spray chart
Hard or soft stuff? Wright might want to ask his BP pitcher to speed things up, as he thrives against hard stuff. He has belted nine home runs combined versus fastballs, cutters and splitters.
HR sweet spot: He's doing most of his damage when pitchers accidentally put one right down Broadway -- eight of his HR have come on pitches thrown to the horizontal middle of the strike zone.
Pitch location of Wright's HR