Toronto Blue Jays and slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. leads all players in the final round of voting for the All-Star game, meaning he will likely be a part of this year’s MLB All-Star Game in Colorado.
However, Guerrero has decided not to participate in the Home Run Derby to “mentally refresh” himself for the second half of the 2021 season, according to Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae Barker.
Guerrero participated in the 2019 Derby Home Run, setting the record for most home runs in a single round (29) and in a single Derby (91). However, he fell in the final to New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso.
The 22-year-old is in the middle of a discovery season, hitting .337 / .440 / .671 with 23 home runs and 59 RBI in 70 games. Guerrero ranks first in MLB in home runs, RBI, percentage base, OPS and wins over replacement. It ranks second in slugging percentage and fourth in batting average.
With Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout still left, Guerrero is the betting favorite to win the Most Valuable AL Player Award at -125, according to BetOnline.ag.
Even if he doesn’t compete in the Home Run Derby, the competition is still expected to have some stellar power. Angels double-threat Shohei Ohtani has already announced his commitment to compete in the event, and it is possible that Alonso will seek to defend his title.