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Legends On Deck

Pitchers Who Rake: Home Run Derby for Pitchers?

Madison Bumgarner (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Madison Bumgarner (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Players of the Babe Ruth caliber have been long gone and by that I mean, a pitcher who can hit the cover off the baseball. Whenever a pitcher came up with a runner on, we see him bunting. The situation would be irrelevant because all pitcher’s job was to lay down a bunt and move the runner over. If a pitcher stepped up to the plate without a runner on, you would be prepared for an absolutely miserable swing. Or maybe he might even just stand a good 10 feet from the plate making no attempt to take the bat off his shoulder like  Koo Dae-Sung did.

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Even if he could hit, you really didn’t want him to. Coaches and front office executives would be scared to let them run the base paths — especially after Chein Ming Wang almost ended his career while rounding third base back in 2008. He was the ace of the Yankees then and it wasn’t until 2016 where he has come somewhat back to form in the Royals bullpen.

But even Dae-Sung turned it around, he recorded a miraculous double off  Randy Johnson. A pitcher isn’t a guaranteed out anymore.

Clayton Kershaw posts higher batting average for himself than opponents who bat against him. That may just exhibit his dominance as a starter, but it still shows that he’s getting the ball into play.

Then we really get in to the current, big time hitting pitchers. Tyson Ross, pitcher for the San Diego Padres, hits the ball harder than he throws it — he throws 95+ mph.  Zack Grienke leads pitchers in career stolen bases and is posting .290 batting average this year — which is higher than most every day position players. Jake Arrieta is batting .276 with a HR. Patrick Corbin has an astonishing .355 batting average. Yovani Gallardo would have been named with his past success, but playing for the Orioles has limited his at bats.

Then we get down to the two hitters who have really lit up the show with their power this year — Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard. Last season, Bumgarner hit 5 HRs. This year he’s already at 2. If he were hitting as an everyday player, he’d be on pace for 39 HRs years. Syndergaard also has 2 HRs this year, while also legging out a double.

Bumgarner made it clear he wants a separate Home Run Derby for Pitchers. Arrieta was on board along with Adam Wainwright, of the Cardinals. Then, Syndergaard stood apart with his bold statement on Twitter.

A Pitcher’s Home Run Derby would spice the All-Star Game up. But it wouldn’t be a real pitcher’s derby without the man behind the greatest home run (for a pitcher)… the one and only, Big Sexy — Bartolo Colon. As the All-Star Game nears, let’s all jump on board the #PitchersWhoRake train, but even more importantly jump on board for the #WeWantBart in the HR Derby train.

Steven Cardona

Steven Cardona

Steven is an undergraduate student at the University of South Florida who lives in Naples, Florida. At USF, he is studying Business Management. He has an immense love and passion for the game of baseball. He worked with the Fort Myers Miracle in 2014 as a Public Relations intern. In 2016, he continued his work experiences within America's pastime with the New York Mets as an American Culture Instructor at the Mets Academy in the Dominican Republic.
Steven Cardona