The new “bracketed” Home Run Derby format is a recipe for disaster

You probably have heard by now, but the Home Run Derby will have a new format this year. It will include semi-timed rounds (it’ll be timed, but home runs in the final minute, as well as particularly long home runs, will increase the amount of time), a limited number of timeouts (so that a player doesn’t take a minute after every swing to goof off with a teammate) and a bracket format.

I have a major problem with the bracket format, however. For the sheer reason that it means that, in theory, the person who hits the second most home runs in the first round could be knocked out, and in theory the person with the second-fewest home runs in the first round could go on.

Here’s an example of how it could happen. Let’s say one of the match-ups is Bryce Harper vs. Joc Pederson. Now, let’s say Harper hits 14, but Pederson hits 15. Harper is eliminated, even if nobody else has 14. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the bracket, it’s entirely possible that a player who had hit 2 HRs- or even just one- is going ahead.

And that… is bad. Sure, go and have the time-limit, it’ll make the event go faster. But the brackets are a disaster waiting to happen.

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