MLB All-Star Game 2017: Start Time, Roster Breakdown of 87th Midsummer Classic

The 2017 MLB All-Star Game will take place on Tuesday at Marlins Park in Miami.

Fox will televise the game, with pregame coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Midsummer Classic should get going a little after 8 p.m. ET.

Each team boasts excellent power hitters and deep pitching staffs, so it'll be interesting to watch the one-on-one battles, especially in the beginning when big hitters such as Aaron Judge and Bryce Harper take their cracks at the best pitchers in baseball.

Here's a peek at each team's roster, alongside breakdowns of the starting lineups, reserves and pitching staffs.

      

Lineups

American League Starters

C Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals

1B Justin Smoak, Toronto Blue Jays

2B Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

3B Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians

SS Carlos Correa, Houston Astros

OF Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox

OF Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

OF George Springer, Houston Astros

DH Corey Dickerson, Tampa Bay Rays

Breakdown: The American League starting lineup is still formidable even though Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout will miss the game while he is rehabbing a torn left thumb ligament.

Three players on the Houston Astros, who are on pace to finish with 109 wins, will start for the AL.

Springer is one of the hottest hitters in baseball and has smacked 27 home runs, and Altuve and Correa look like they are on their way to becoming the best middle infield duo in the history of baseball.

Alongside some breakout stars (Smoak, Ramirez and Judge), the AL starting lineup is deep and scary for any pitcher in baseball.

     

American League Reserves

C Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees

1B Yonder Alonso, Oakland Athletics

2B Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles

2B Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners

3B Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins

3B Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals

SS Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians

OF Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians

OF Justin Upton, Detroit Tigers

OF Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox

DH Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners

Breakdown: There's a lot of pop on the American League reserve side. Three Home Run Derby participants (Sanchez, Sano, Moustakas) are on the bench, alongside Cruz, a prodigious power hitter.

Lindor is having a down year at the plate, as he is hitting just .252, but he still has strong power numbers for a shortstop, knocking out 14 homers with 43 RBI.

Then there are some more breakout stars, including Alonso, Schoop and Garcia, each of whom has been playing great this year.

The AL reserve side isn't as strong as the NL's, but that's because some of the best players in the game somehow managed to elude the starting lineup.

       

American League Pitching Staff

SP Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox

SP Jason Vargas, Kansas City Royals

SP Lance McCullers Jr., Houston Astros

SP Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays

SP Ervin Santana, Minnesota Twins

SP Luis Severino, New York Yankees

RP Chris Devenski, Houston Astros

RP Brandon Kintzler, Minnesota Twins

RP Roberto Osuna, Toronto Blue Jays

RP Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox

RP Andrew Miller, Cleveland Indians

RP Dellin Betances, New York Yankees

Breakdown: Sale, who has a chance at striking out 300 batters this season, should get the starting nod for the American League. Backing him up are three of the best young pitchers in the league in Archer, McCullers and Severino. Veterans Vargas and Santana are having the best seasons of their careers.

The bullpen, however, is fantastic, and if the American League has a late lead, then the NL is in trouble. Miller can come in and shut down any three batters for an inning. He's been a lights-out reliever for five seasons, and he is holding batters to a .132 average.

As impressive as that number is, Kimbrel is doing even better, as hitters have only managed a .110 batting average against him.

Given how well Miller and Kimbrel have done, expect them to hold down the fort in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, if the AL is in the lead.

      

National League Starters

C Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

1B Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals

2B Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals

3B Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

SS Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds

OF Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies

OF Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

OF Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins

Breakdown: Three Washington Nationals highlight the NL starting lineup, led by Harper, who has made five All-Star teams before his 25th birthday.

Zimmerman is a candidate to be the National League's Comeback Player of the Year. Last season, Zimmerman hit just .218 alongside 15 homers and 46 RBI. This year, the 32-year-old has already eclipsed the homer (19) and RBI (63) numbers, and he's hitting .330 as well.

And Murphy is perhaps the best contact hitter in the game today. Per FanGraphs, he strikes out just 9.3 percent of the time, an impressive feat considering his .342 batting average.

Elsewhere, Posey and Arenado are two of the best fielders at their position in the game, and Ozuna should have the overwhelming support of his hometown fans.

This is a solid starting lineup that will be backed up by a fantastic reserve squad.

     

National League Reserves

C Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals

1B Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks

1B Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds

1B/OF Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers

2B Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh Pirates

2B DJ LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies

3B Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks

3B Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers

SS Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers

OF Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

OF Michael Conforto, New York Mets

OF Ender Inciarte, Atlanta Braves

Breakdown: The National League has a very deep bench.

For starters, it's nice to have one of the best power hitters in the game (Stanton) just sitting there on the bench, and that's the luxury the NL has here.

They also have Goldschmidt and Votto, two of the best players in baseball, ready as well.

This is in addition to Bellinger, who has hit 25 home runs in 70 games, and Turner, who is hitting .377.

If National League manager Joe Maddon is looking for one batter to crank one out against a right-handed pitcher, Lamb should be his pick. The Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman has 16 homers, 58 RBI and a 1.013 OPS against righties this year.

Overall, Maddon has a lot of players to choose from if he wants to mix and match late in the game.

      

National League Pitching Staff

SP Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

SP Alex Wood, Los Angeles Dodgers

SP Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals

SP Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks

SP Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks

SP Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

RP Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers

RP Corey Knebel, Milwaukee Brewers

RP Wade Davis, Chicago Cubs

RP Greg Holland, Colorado Rockies

RP Brad Hand, San Diego Padres

RP Pat Neshek, Philadelphia Phillies

Breakdown: Scherzer is the best pitcher in baseball this year, and with all due respect to Sale and Kershaw, there is no close second.

Scherzer is holding batters to a microscopic .163 batting average against this year. To put that number in perspective, Kershaw is second at .195 and Sale is next at .200.

Scherzer has a tough draw to start the game, but he should be able to do well.

Otherwise, the NL starting staff is formidable, even though Kershaw is ineligible for the game because he started on Sunday. Fellow Dodgers lefty Alex Wood will replace Kershaw, and he's been fantastic this year, sporting a 10-0 record and a 1.67 ERA.

How strong is the starting pitching staff overall? Strasburg, who is one of the best pitchers in baseball when he's rolling, has the worst ERA of the six NL starters at 3.43.

The bullpen is strong, led by Holland, who leads the league with 28 saves. Jansen is also in the mix, and he has a microscopic 0.96 ERA.

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Home Run Derby 2017: Breaking Down Bracket’s Top Participants

The 2017 MLB Home Run Derby will take place on Monday at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN will broadcast the event, and fans can live-stream the action on WatchESPN.

This year's contest should be one of the best we've seen since the Derby began in 1985. We have rookie sluggers tearing up the league alongside the defending Derby champion Giancarlo Stanton playing in his home stadium.

The new timed format has also proved to be an exciting success (and efficient, as the Derby no longer drags on forever), so this should be a fun exhibition.

Here's a look at the bracket and a quick breakdown of each participant. The batters are ranked from least to most likely to win the Home Run Derby.

      

Bracket

 

      

8. Mike Moustakas

The Kansas City Royals third baseman is enjoying the best season of his career, as he's hit 25 home runs in the first half of the year. To put that number in perspective, Moose's previous season high is 22, so he's eclipsed that mark by three dingers in just 78 games.

Moustakas is on pace for nearly 50 home runs, but eventually, he will come back to Earth at some point. Still, his numbers this year are undoubtedly impressive, and it begs the question as to whether we'll see increased power numbers from him over the next few seasons.

          

7. Justin Bour

Like Moustakas, Miami Marlins first baseman Justin Bour is having the best power year of his career, and it isn't even close. Bour has hit 20 home runs in his first 77 games this year, with his previous high being 23 in 129 games during the 2015 season.

Bour joined the bigs during his age-26 season in 2014, so he's emerged a bit later than usual. He has a tough matchup with Aaron Judge in the opening round, although Bour should have the Miami home crowd cheering him on.

      

6. Gary Sanchez

Keep an eye on the New York Yankees catcher for a possible dark-horse run to the final. Yes, he has a difficult matchup in the first round, as he faces Stanton, the hometown favorite, but Sanchez can hit the ball to orbit.

According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Sanchez is second in the MLB in true home run distance at 420.9 feet. If he gets into a groove, then Stanton could be out in the first round.

Still, Sanchez's chances are hurt significantly by his difficult draw. He could potentially face a murderer's row of Stanton, Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano and Judge in order, and that's probably too tall of a task for any player to handle.

      

5. Cody Bellinger

The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/first baseman has hit home runs in bunches this year, as he smacked 10 dingers in 10 games during one stretch this season.

Bellinger, whose father Clay was a utility man for the New York Yankees and is now a firefighter in Arizona, has hit 25 homers in just 70 games. To put that number in perspective, Bellinger is hitting one out every three games he plays on average.

Naturally, he hits the ball very hard. According to FanGraphs, Bellinger's hard-hit contact rate is 46.0 percent, which is seventh in all of baseball.

The problem for Bellinger is his draw, as he has a tough matchup with an MVP candidate in Round 1 and would likely face Aaron Judge in Round 2. Still, Bellinger has been fantastic this year, and a Derby run wouldn't be surprising.

     

4. Charlie Blackmon

A candidate for the National League MVP award, the Colorado Rockies outfielder is one of the main reasons why the Colorado Rockies are holding down one of the National League wild-card spots.

Blackmon is leading MLB in hits, triples and total bases, and he has 20 home runs to go along with a .955 OPS. While Blackmon is helped significantly by playing in hitter-friendly Coors Field half the time, he is still a solid home run hitter regardless.

According to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, Blackmon is 16th in the league in true home run distance at 416.4 feet. He should have a good Derby, although like Bellinger, he has a tough draw.

     

3. Miguel Sano

The Minnesota Twins third baseman is sixth in the league in hard-hit contact rate at 46.4 percent, per FanGraphs. In tough Marlins Park, where it's difficult to hit homers, that's a huge boost to Sano's chances to advance through the Derby.

Sano has 21 home runs, which doesn't rank as well as others in the Derby field, but keep in mind that he is boom-or-bust at the plate. He leads the league in strikeouts with 120 this year. In other words, he is striking out more than one out of every three times he goes to the plate. That obviously lowers his power numbers.

But striking out isn't going to be an issue when people are throwing batting practice lobs, so that's a huge advantage in Sano's favor. If Stanton or Judge don't win this event, then the pick is Sano to take the crown, as the Derby is right in his wheelhouse.

      

2. Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton has three obvious advantages.

First, he dominated the Home Run Derby last year, hitting 61 home runs in three rounds. He has experience and has found success in the new timed format.

Second, he'll have tens of thousands of local fans cheering him on. Behind the power of the home crowd, Stanton has a distinct edge.

Third, Stanton can hit the ball very far, which can only help him gain the 30-second bonus, which is given to players who hit two homers of at least 440 feet in a round.

However, the hottest home run hitter in baseball resides on the other side of the bracket. If it weren't for him, the pick would be Stanton hands down.

        

1. Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees outfielder's first half of the 2017 MLB season is legendary, and that's in part because Judge struggled so much last year, striking out 42 times in 95 plate appearances.

But Judge quickly turned it around this year, as he's smacked 30 home runs (to go along with a league-leading 1.139 OPS) to lead MLB.

Many of Judge's home runs have been moonshots, and if those hits are any indication, that can only help Judge crank some long homers out of Marlins Park, which is a bit cavernous thanks to its deep alleys.

Take Judge to win the Home Run Derby over Giancarlo Stanton in a fantastic final.

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Home Run Derby 2017: Breaking Down Bracket’s Top Participants

The 2017 MLB Home Run Derby will take place on Monday at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN will broadcast the event, and fans can live-stream the action on WatchESPN.

This year's contest should be one of the best we've seen since the Derby began in 1985. We have rookie sluggers tearing up the league alongside the defending Derby champion Giancarlo Stanton playing in his home stadium.

The new timed format has also proved to be an exciting success (and efficient, as the Derby no longer drags on forever), so this should be a fun exhibition.

Here's a look at the bracket and a quick breakdown of each participant. The batters are ranked from least to most likely to win the Home Run Derby.

      

Bracket

 

      

8. Mike Moustakas

The Kansas City Royals third baseman is enjoying the best season of his career, as he's hit 25 home runs in the first half of the year. To put that number in perspective, Moose's previous season high is 22, so he's eclipsed that mark by three dingers in just 78 games.

Moustakas is on pace for nearly 50 home runs, but eventually, he will come back to Earth at some point. Still, his numbers this year are undoubtedly impressive, and it begs the question as to whether we'll see increased power numbers from him over the next few seasons.

          

7. Justin Bour

Like Moustakas, Miami Marlins first baseman Justin Bour is having the best power year of his career, and it isn't even close. Bour has hit 20 home runs in his first 77 games this year, with his previous high being 23 in 129 games during the 2015 season.

Bour joined the bigs during his age-26 season in 2014, so he's emerged a bit later than usual. He has a tough matchup with Aaron Judge in the opening round, although Bour should have the Miami home crowd cheering him on.

      

6. Gary Sanchez

Keep an eye on the New York Yankees catcher for a possible dark-horse run to the final. Yes, he has a difficult matchup in the first round, as he faces Stanton, the hometown favorite, but Sanchez can hit the ball to orbit.

According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Sanchez is second in the MLB in true home run distance at 420.9 feet. If he gets into a groove, then Stanton could be out in the first round.

Still, Sanchez's chances are hurt significantly by his difficult draw. He could potentially face a murderer's row of Stanton, Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano and Judge in order, and that's probably too tall of a task for any player to handle.

      

5. Cody Bellinger

The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/first baseman has hit home runs in bunches this year, as he smacked 10 dingers in 10 games during one stretch this season.

Bellinger, whose father Clay was a utility man for the New York Yankees and is now a firefighter in Arizona, has hit 25 homers in just 70 games. To put that number in perspective, Bellinger is hitting one out every three games he plays on average.

Naturally, he hits the ball very hard. According to FanGraphs, Bellinger's hard-hit contact rate is 46.0 percent, which is seventh in all of baseball.

The problem for Bellinger is his draw, as he has a tough matchup with an MVP candidate in Round 1 and would likely face Aaron Judge in Round 2. Still, Bellinger has been fantastic this year, and a Derby run wouldn't be surprising.

     

4. Charlie Blackmon

A candidate for the National League MVP award, the Colorado Rockies outfielder is one of the main reasons why the Colorado Rockies are holding down one of the National League wild-card spots.

Blackmon is leading MLB in hits, triples and total bases, and he has 20 home runs to go along with a .955 OPS. While Blackmon is helped significantly by playing in hitter-friendly Coors Field half the time, he is still a solid home run hitter regardless.

According to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, Blackmon is 16th in the league in true home run distance at 416.4 feet. He should have a good Derby, although like Bellinger, he has a tough draw.

     

3. Miguel Sano

The Minnesota Twins third baseman is sixth in the league in hard-hit contact rate at 46.4 percent, per FanGraphs. In tough Marlins Park, where it's difficult to hit homers, that's a huge boost to Sano's chances to advance through the Derby.

Sano has 21 home runs, which doesn't rank as well as others in the Derby field, but keep in mind that he is boom-or-bust at the plate. He leads the league in strikeouts with 120 this year. In other words, he is striking out more than one out of every three times he goes to the plate. That obviously lowers his power numbers.

But striking out isn't going to be an issue when people are throwing batting practice lobs, so that's a huge advantage in Sano's favor. If Stanton or Judge don't win this event, then the pick is Sano to take the crown, as the Derby is right in his wheelhouse.

      

2. Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton has three obvious advantages.

First, he dominated the Home Run Derby last year, hitting 61 home runs in three rounds. He has experience and has found success in the new timed format.

Second, he'll have tens of thousands of local fans cheering him on. Behind the power of the home crowd, Stanton has a distinct edge.

Third, Stanton can hit the ball very far, which can only help him gain the 30-second bonus, which is given to players who hit two homers of at least 440 feet in a round.

However, the hottest home run hitter in baseball resides on the other side of the bracket. If it weren't for him, the pick would be Stanton hands down.

        

1. Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees outfielder's first half of the 2017 MLB season is legendary, and that's in part because Judge struggled so much last year, striking out 42 times in 95 plate appearances.

But Judge quickly turned it around this year, as he's smacked 30 home runs (to go along with a league-leading 1.139 OPS) to lead MLB.

Many of Judge's home runs have been moonshots, and if those hits are any indication, that can only help Judge crank some long homers out of Marlins Park, which is a bit cavernous thanks to its deep alleys.

Take Judge to win the Home Run Derby over Giancarlo Stanton in a fantastic final.

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2017 MLB All-Star Game Roster: Projecting Starting Lineups for Midsummer Classic

The 2017 MLB All-Star Game should provide plenty of excitement thanks to the unique set of participants taking part in Tuesday's Midsummer Classic.

Some rookies will take the field, including New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger.

Furthermore, we'll see some big names from some of the best teams in baseball, as three Houston Astros and three Washington Nationals will be starting the All-Star Game for the American League and National League, respectively.

It should be an interesting matchup as usual. Here's a look at the starting lineups for the American League and National League alongside a prediction for the game:

        

American League Starting Lineup

C Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals

1B Justin Smoak, Toronto Blue Jays

2B Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

3B Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians

SS Carlos Correa, Houston Astros

* OF Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox

OF Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

OF George Springer, Houston Astros

# SP Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox

* Betts is replacing Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout, who is rehabbing a torn thumb ligament.

# Starting pitchers have not been announced for the game yet. Given Sale's successful first half (11-4 win-loss record, 2.75 ERA, 178 strikeouts), he is the best guess to get the starting nod for the American League.

         

AL Starting Lineup Breakdown

Although Trout will not be playing in this game, the American League lineup is a dangerous task for any National League ace.

Some players are enjoying breakout seasons and are scorching-hot heading into the break, including Jose Ramirez, George Springer and Justin Smoak. The middle infield of Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and shortstop Carlos Correa is the best in the league, and Judge is hitting balls to orbit on a regular basis.

The guess here is that Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer gets the nod for the National League to start the game. Although Scherzer has been nearly unstoppable this year, there are no easy outs in this lineup. He's going to have a difficult time getting through the order to start the game.

         

National League Starters

C Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

1B Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals

2B Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals

3B Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

SS Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds

OF Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies

OF Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

OF Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins

SP Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

# It's the same deal for the National League, as no pitcher has been given the nod to start the game at this point. Because Scherzer has had such a good start to the year (10-5 record, 2.10 ERA, 173 strikeouts), he's the best bet to get the ball for the NL.

        

NL Starting Lineup Breakdown

Lefty ace Chris Sale is going to prove to be a tough matchup for this lineup, as three of the NL's best hitters (Charlie Blackmon, Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy) are left-handed. Sale is notoriously difficult against lefties, as he's managed to hold them to just a .533 OPS over the past three full seasons, per ESPN.

Still, this isn't going to be a walk in the park for Sale, either. Right-handers Ryan Zimmermann, Zack Cozart and Marcell Ozuna are enjoying the best seasons of their careers, and Buster Posey is the best catcher in the game.

Of course, Nolan Arenado is perhaps the most unheralded player in baseball, as he's a power-hitting and fielding superstar who can give any pitcher trouble.

The NL's starting lineup is formidable, although Sale might get the slight edge in the early going.

         

Predictions

According to Vegas Insider, the National League sits at slight -115 favorites (bet $115 to win $100) to win the game, with the over/under sitting at nine runs.

This should be a close contest. Both teams have solid sluggers in addition to ace pitchers and fantastic relievers. Neither team has a distinct edge in any facet of the game given how deep each team's roster seems to be on paper.

Ultimately, this game may come down to the bullpens, and in this case, the slight nod goes to the American League.

Cleveland Indians reliever Andrew Miller is one of the best in the game, and he is capable of completely shutting down a team for an inning. The same goes for Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, who has a microscopic 1.19 ERA this year.

Expect the AL's bullpen to be the star of the show in this game as it shuts down the NL attack en route to winning a nail-biting game that goes down to the last batter.

Pick: American League 5, National League 4 

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Home Run Derby 2017: Full Bracket, Format and Predictions for MLB All-Star Event

The 2017 Home Run Derby features one of the most exciting rookies in recent MLB history in New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, as well as one of the most towering sluggers this century in Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.

Those two are the clear favorites to win Monday's event, but six other contestants are going to try to make their marks on this year's contest.

Here's a look at the Home Run Derby bracket, the format and predictions for each matchup.

      

Bracket

      

Format

Eight sluggers will duke it out in a tournament-style event. The hitters are seeded No. 1 through No. 8—Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton gets No. 1 by virtue of winning the Home Run Derby last year, and seed Nos. 2 through No. 8 are based off home run totals through July 5—and will face off in four-minute rounds. Whoever hits the most homers against his opponent in the bracket will advance to the next stage.

Players will receive a 30-second bonus in each round if they hit at least two home runs measuring more than 440 feet.

Each hitter gets the opportunity to take a 45-second timeout in the first and second rounds. In the final round, participants can take a 45-second breather in addition to a 30-second timeout.

In the event of a tie, the players will take part in a 60-second overtime period. If that does not break the deadlock, they will engage in a three-attempt swing-off.

                

Predictions

1st Round

1 Stanton vs. 8 Sanchez

Although this is a No. 1 vs. No. 8 matchup, this could be the best contest of the entire first round. Stanton is the defending Home Run Derby champion and the hometown favorite, while Gary Sanchez is the bottom seed by virtue of missing a good part of the season with a biceps injury.

In the end, give Stanton the slight edge since he has the hometown advantage. It seems odd Stanton's "reward" as the No. 1 seed is to face one of the best power hitters in the game, and it raises the question as to whether a bracket is the right answer for the Derby in the future.

      

4 Moustakas vs. 5 Sano

Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is having a phenomenal year, hitting 25 home runs in the first half of the season, but Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano routinely makes a habit out of smacking the ball into orbit.

According to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, Sano's true home run distance is 412.1 feet, one of the best marks in the league. Moustakas trails him significantly at 398.1 feet.

Sano should advance to the second round, although expect the Royals infielder to put up a good fight.

        

3 Bellinger vs. 6 Blackmon

Although Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon gets a big boost by playing in Coors Field half the year, his power shouldn't be discounted. Blackmon has managed a true home run distance average of 413.4 feet this year, per Home Run Tracker.

Cody Bellinger is no slouch, and he hit 10 home runs in a 10-game stretch this year. Still, Blackmon can hit the ball a country mile, so give him a slight edge over Bellinger.

      

2 Judge vs. 7 Bour

With all due respect to Miami Marlins first baseman Justin Bour, who has enjoyed a breakout season and should have his hometown crowd behind his every swing, Judge has had a phenomenal year and should advance to the second round simply because of his unmatched power stroke.

Judge's average true home run distance is 416.4 feet, per ESPN's Home Run Tracker, and he should move on to the second round.

      

2nd Round

2 Judge vs. 6 Blackmon

This is an incredibly difficult matchup for Blackmon, who has to contend with a 6'7", 280-pound outfielder who has been crushing the ball into orbit this year.

The bonus is a huge edge for Judge. It almost seems inevitable he'll hit at least two home runs beyond 440 feet in each round, which gives him an extra 30 seconds during each matchup. That should lead to a few bonus dingers and a better chance at victory.

In this round, Judge should best Blackmon and move on to the finals.

       

1 Stanton vs. 5 Sano

Although Sano's power has helped the Minnesota Twins to a surprising start, with his team in second place in the AL Central heading into the All-Star break, Stanton's power is legendary and should give him the win in the semifinals.

It's no surprise when he ends up on highlight reels after hitting a ball into the Marlins Park left-center field concourse. Expect that to happen a few more times on Monday night.

      

Finals

2 Judge vs. 1 Stanton

This is the matchup that will have fans salivating. Judge and Stanton are gigantic human beings who could just as easily fit in on a pro football field.

Although Stanton will have the support of the home crowd behind him, Judge is the best power hitter in the game this year, recording 30 home runs in the first half of the MLB campaign. He has turned batting practice into must-watch entertainment this year, and this seems like Judge's time to shine.

Expect Judge to edge Stanton in a fantastic final.

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Home Run Derby 2017 Start Time: TV Schedule, Bracket and More

The 32nd Major League Baseball Home Run Derby will begin at 8 p.m. ET on Monday at Marlins Park in Miami. ESPN will provide coverage, and fans can live-stream the event through WatchESPN. The contest should last until at least 10 p.m. ET.

This will be the third straight year marking a new format, featuring an eight-man bracket and four-minute rounds.

The set time has proved to be a success for a few reasons.

First, the Home Run Derby no longer drags on for close to three hours as players march through seemingly endless rounds. Seeing contestants hit home run after home run before they reached 10 "outs" was fun, but it also endlessly dragged the Derby well into the night.

Second, players who dominate the beginning of the Derby have less opportunity to get fatigued in the later rounds because they receive 45-second timeouts in each round (and an additional 30 seconds in the final) and won't be up there hacking meaningless first-round home runs for 10 minutes after they've already hit enough to make the semifinals. Now those players can save their energy for the later rounds.

Finally, it's fun to watch baseball, an infamously untimed game, take on the exciting timed element of other sports, even if it's only for an exhibition. It leaves open the possibility that a player may hit a home run as the buzzer sounds to tie or take the lead, which makes for fantastic drama.

Expect this format, which has provided much excitement over the past two years, to continue for a long time, especially if this year's contest proves to be a hit.

Speaking of which, the 2017 competition should be interesting.

Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 61 home runs over the course of three rounds en route to winning the 2016 Home Run Derby, is a 33-20 favorite to win, according to OddsShark. However, New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who leads MLB in home runs, with 30, is listed right behind Stanton at 7-4.

No other Derby participant is in Stanton and Judge's stratosphere in terms of odds, as Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger is next on the list at 9-1.

Stanton and Judge are on opposite ends of the bracket, so a dream final matchup between two of the game's biggest players is a possibility.

If you're looking for a dark horse, take a look at New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, even though he has a difficult first-round matchup with Stanton.

According to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, Sanchez is second in Major League Baseball in true home run distance, at 420.9 feet. He has hit only 13 home runs this season, but that number would undoubtedly be bigger if not for missing 30 games, most of which were due to a biceps injury.

Stanton may have the crowd behind him, but if Sanchez gets into a groove, don't be surprised to see him pull off an upset.

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Home Run Derby 2017: Format, Start Time, Live Stream, TV Schedule and More

The Home Run Derby began with little fanfare in 1985, but as time went on and the 1990s became the decade of the dinger, the event became must-see television for baseball fans.

The Derby has waxed and waned in terms of excitement over the years, but this season's contest looks to be one of the best in league history on paper, featuring some towering sluggers and new stars.

Action will begin at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 10. ESPN will provide coverage, and fans can live stream the Derby through WatchESPN.

Here's a look at the format, the bracket and two predictions for Monday night.

    

Format

Per Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, eight players will be in this year's contest, seeded one through eight in a bracket. Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton is the No. 1 seed by virtue of winning the Home Run Derby last year, while the next seven players are seeded two through eight based on the amount of home runs hit through Wednesday, July 5.

In the first round, players are given four minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. They are given the option to take a 45-second timeout for a breather mid-round. If a player hits at least two home runs measuring 440 feet, then he receives 30 seconds of bonus time.

There is no re-seeding for the second round, so the winners of the 1 vs. 8 and 4 vs. 5 matchups will face off, and the 2 vs. 7 and 3 vs. 6 victors will do the same. The first-round rules apply for the semifinals as well.

In the finals, all the same rules apply, except that players are given a 30-second timeout in addition to their 45-second rest.

In the event of a tie, each player will be given 60 seconds of additional bonus time.

    

Bracket

    

Predictions

Stanton vs. Sanchez 1st-Round Matchup Causes Change for Next Year

Although the new timed format is a welcome change, especially considering the massive lulls in the action when players were given 10 outs as opposed to a set four minutes, the bracket should be dropped for next year.

Case in point: No. 1 seed Stanton's reward after winning the Home Run Derby last year is facing New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who has hit 13 homers in just 55 games after missing a chunk of the season due to injury. He's the eighth seed by default.

That's not a fair matchup for Stanton. He could conceivably hit the second-most home runs out of everyone in the first round and still not advance to the semifinals because his opponent mashed more taters.

Expect Stanton and Sanchez to have a fantastic first-round duel, with Stanton barely edging out a great performance by Sanchez that would have advanced him to the first round over any opponent not named Aaron Judge.

Next year, MLB should scrap the bracket and keep everything else: Take the top four players after the quarterfinals and the top two after the semifinals.

     

Judge Beats Stanton in Fantastic Final

Stanton was incredible in the Home Run Derby last year, hitting 61 home runs over the course of three rounds.

Most impressively, he hit more home runs than any first-round contestant (Stanton hit 24, and Baltimore Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo was second with 16). He managed the same feat in the second round, smacking 17 dingers (Chicago White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier finished just one behind at 16). In the final, Stanton showed no fatigue in hitting 20 more to finish the night.

Given Stanton's success last year, coupled with the hometown Miami Marlins crowd cheering him on, expect the prodigious slugger to advance to the finals but not without challenges from Sanchez in the first round and Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano.

On the opposite side of the bracket, New York Yankees right fielder Judge, who leads MLB with 30 home runs, is the clear favorite to advance to the finals. Per ESPN's Home Run Tracker, Judge has an average true home run distance of 416.4 feet, which is seventh in the league. Notably, no one on the list above him has hit more than 16 homers.

Judge has been a marvel during batting practice (you can just Google "Aaron Judge batting practice" and get a list of stories about his prowess, like here and here), so it's easy to imagine doing well in a similar setting at the Home Run Derby.

Of course, there's the additional pressure of thousands of screaming fans, a national television audience and competing with seven other superstars, but Judge should be up to the task.

Take the Yankee rookie to beat Miami Marlins first baseman Justin Bour and Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon before besting Stanton in the finals.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Celebrity Softball Game 2017: Final Rosters, TV Schedule and Predictions

Three games take place during baseball's All-Star Weekend: The All-Star Game itself, the Futures Game (featuring baseball's best minor league prospects) and the Celebrity Softball Game.

The third contest will take place on Sunday, July 9, but it will not be televised until Monday, July 10 after the conclusion of the Home Run Derby. The estimated start time is 10 p.m. ET., and ESPN will televise the event.

Here's a look at the rosters and some predictions.

      

Final Rosters

Via MLB.com, the latest group of celebrities and former athletes who will be playing in the game can be found below. A one-line description follows each name, highlighting a notable accomplishment.

The two teams have not been released yet, but since 2004, the player pool has been split up into American League and National League teams.

      

Celebrities

Jamie Foxx

Actor/performing artist who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Ray.

      

Miles Teller

Film actor who played the lead role in Whiplash and co-starred with Jonah Hill in War Dogs.

      

Chris Jackson

Played George Washington in Hamilton and Chunk Palmer in the CBS TV show, Bull.

      

Justin Hartley

Stars as Kevin Pearson in the NBC TV show, This Is Us.

      

Jencarlos Canela

Singer, songwriter and actor who appeared in the Fox TV special, The Passion.

      

David Sparks (Heavy D)

Stars in Diesel Brothers, a reality television show on the Discovery Channel.

      

William Levy

Appeared in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and finished third in the 14th season of Dancing with the Stars.

      

Michael Cudlitz

Most known for roles in Band of Brothers, The Walking Dead and Southland.

      

Ballplayers

Jennie Finch

Ace pitcher for USA softball team that won gold in the 2004 Olympics and silver in 2008.

      

Jessica Mendoza

Outfielder for USA softball team that medaled in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and a color commentator for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team.

      

Jason Taylor

Miami Dolphins defensive end who recorded 139.5 sacks and was named to the Pro Football Hall of Hame Class of 2017.

      

Rickey Henderson

All-time major league leader in stolen bases and runs, 10-time All-Star, two-time World Series winner and Hall of Famer.

      

Al Leiter

Pitcher 19 years in the bigs, primarily as a starter, winning 162 games and two World Series titles.

      

Andre 'The Hawk' Dawson

Slugging outfielder who primarily played for Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs over a 21-year career, smacking 438 home runs and winning the 1987 National League MVP for a last-place Cubs team.

      

Fred Lynn

Boston Red Sox and California Angels outfielder who won the 1975 AL Rookie of the Year and MVP award.

      

Tim 'Rock' Raines

A 23-year pro and member of the 2017 Hall of Fame class who won three World Series and ranks fifth all time in stolen bases with 808.

      

Bernie Williams

Played 16 years for the New York Yankees, winning four World Series titles and six American League pennants.

      

Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez

Hall of Famer, 13-time Gold Glove winner and 14-time All-Star at catcher who won the 1999 American League MVP with the Texas Rangers and 2003 World Series with the Florida Marlins.

      

Benito Santiago

Catcher who played 20 years in the big leagues (seven with the San Diego Padres) and hit safely in 37 consecutive games during his rookie year in 1987.

      

Predictions

If this game featured fast-pitch softball, then whichever team that had Jennie Finch on the mound would be the clear winner.

Alas, this is a high-arc, slow-pitch game, where scores in the double digits are common (in fact, the final was 25-21 two years ago).

Given that we don't know the exact teams just yet, it's impossible to predict who will win the game. However, we can take a guess on some individual results.

On the celebrity side, take Christoper Jackson to be the best of the bunch. According to Corey Kilgannon of the New York Times in a May 27, 2016 article, Jackson plays for the Hamilton softball team in the Broadway Show League, hitting fourth and playing third base in the field.

At the time of the article, Hamilton was 5-0 in the midst of its 2016 campaign. This season, they are 6-2 and in first place.

Jamie Foxx should also do well. The Baby Driver co-star played basketball and football in high school, per MaxPreps. He also managed the winning American League side last year, as they bested the NL 8-7 at Petco Park in San Diego.

For the ballplayers, it's safe to assume Finch and Mendoza will do well, especially because they found much success in the fast-pitch version of the game.

As far as former major leaguers go, Henderson might have the edge. According to Kirk Kenney of the San Diego Union Tribune, Henderson had no interest in anything but the long ball last year: "That's all I'm trying to do is hit a home run. I ain't trying to run."

The 58-year-old Henderson played in the bigs for 25 years, last making an appearance in 2003 for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Although Henderson will be the oldest player on the field, it's never wise to doubt Rickey. The guess here is that he cranks one out.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Home Run Derby Format 2017: Complete Bracket and TV Info for Monday’s Event

On paper, this year's MLB Home Run Derby should be one of the most fascinating in years. Rookie superstar sluggers Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger will duke it out with some of the best power hitters in the game, including defending Home Run Derby champion and hometown favorite Giancarlo Stanton.

The Derby will take place on Monday, July 10 at 8 p.m. ET at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida. ESPN will televise the contest.

Here is a look at the bracket and format for this year's event, along with some predictions.

      

Bracket

     

Format

Per Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, eight players will face off in a tournament. Stanton receives the top seed by virtue of winning last year's contest, and the remaining seven players were ranked based on their home run totals through games on Wednesday, July 5.

Each contestant will receive four minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. Players will get a 30-second bonus if they are able to hit at least two dingers measuring at least 440 feet each.

Participants are also given the option to have a 45-second timeout at any time during the first round and semifinals before returning to the batter's box. In the finals, players can take a 30-second break in addition to their 45-second breather.

If there is a tie following a round, the participants will be given 60 more seconds of bonus time.

      

Predictions

Although this Home Run Derby field is one of the most powerful in years, don't expect a ton of fireworks.

Marlins Park is one of the more difficult hitter's ballparks in the league. It routinely ranks in the bottom third of the league in home run factor, per ESPN. This year, Marlins Park is 23rd out of 30 parks, and just four years ago, it was dead last.

A look at the Marlins Park dimensions, per Andrew Perpetua of FanGraphs, showcases some deep foul lines and cavernous alleys.

Given this fact, coupled with the 30-second bonus given to players who hit at least two 440-foot home runs, the edge goes to players who can smash long dingers.

A look at the ESPN Home Run Tracker reveals the players who have been smashing the ball this year by measuring a player's average true home run distance. One might think that Judge would be leading the way there, but that would be Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Kendrys Morales.

Out of the Home Run Derby participants, New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez leads the way at 420.9 feet. Judge is second at 415.4 feet. Miami Marlins first baseman Justin Bour and Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas bring up the rear at 398.8 and 398.1 feet, respectively.

Take Judge, Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano and Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon to advance to the second round, with Stanton using the raucous home fans to nudge Sanchez in a fantastic first-round matchup.

In the semis, Stanton and Judge will advance, leading to a classic duel that fans will love to see.

In the end, Judge, who has made a habit of smacking home runs over 500 feet in batting practice, will win his first Home Run Derby.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2017 MLB All-Star Roster: Complete Lineups and Top Storylines to Watch

This Major League Baseball season has contained more surprises, excitement and drama than usual.

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, who struck out 42 times in 95 plate appearances last season, is hitting monster home runs every few games and leads the league in dingers with 29.

The Houston Astros are making a push to be the best team in baseball this century and would win 109 games at their current pace.

Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer is dominating hitters like another star pitcher who played in Washington a century ago, Walter "Big Train" Johnson.

The second half of the MLB campaign should be fascinating, but until then, the Midsummer Classic needs to play out.

Here's a look at the lineups for this year as well as three storylines to watch.

Note that the starting pitchers for the game have not been named yet.

       

Lineups

American League Starters

C Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals

1B Justin Smoak, Toronto Blue Jays

2B Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

3B Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians

SS Carlos Correa, Houston Astros

*OF Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox

OF Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

OF George Springer, Houston Astros

DH Corey Dickerson, Tampa Bay Rays

*Originally, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout was picked to start, but he is rehabbing a torn ligament in his left thumb and will not play.

       

American League Reserves

C Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees

1B Yonder Alonso, Oakland Athletics

2B Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles

2B Starlin Castro, New York Yankees

3B Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins

3B Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals

SS Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians

OF Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians

OF Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox

DH Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners

           

American League Pitching Staff

SP Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox

SP Jason Vargas, Kansas City Royals

SP Lance McCullers, Houston Astros

SP Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers

*SP Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers

*SP Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians

SP Ervin Santana, Minnesota Twins

SP Luis Severino, New York Yankees

*SP Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros

RP Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox

RP Andrew Miller, Cleveland Indians

RP Dellin Betances, New York Yankees

*Fulmer and Kluber are ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game because they are starting Sunday. Dallas Keuchel is rehabbing a pinched nerve in his neck and will not play. All three pitchers will have replacements.

                    

National League Starters

C Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

1B Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals

2B Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals

3B Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

SS Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds

OF Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies

OF Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

OF Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins

      

National League Reserves

C Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals

1B Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks

1B Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds

1B/OF Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers

2B Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh Pirates

2B D.J. LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies

3B Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks

3B Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers

SS Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers

OF Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

OF Michael Conforto, New York Mets

OF Ender Inciarte, Atlanta Braves

      

National League Pitching Staff

SP Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

*SP Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

SP Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals

SP Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks

SP Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks

SP Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

RP Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers

RP Corey Knebel, Milwaukee Brewers

RP Wade Davis, Chicago Cubs

RP Greg Holland, Colorado Rockies

RP Brad Hand, San Diego Padres

RP Pat Neshek, Philadelphia Phillies

*Kershaw is ineligible to pitch because he is starting Sunday. He will be replaced.

                

Top Storylines

Sale and Scherzer Dueling It Out

It's abundantly clear that the two best pitchers in baseball in the American and National Leagues, respectively, have been Chris Sale and Max Scherzer, the two likely All-Star Game starters.

The numbers for both are just staggering. One can just cherry pick the most fascinating statistics for each player to explain why their performances this year are some of the best in recent baseball history.

Here are three mind-blowing facts about each:

1. Sale has struck out nearly 10 batters per start this year (9.88 to be exact). Scherzer is right behind him (9.59).

2. Sale and Scherzer are the only two pitchers in Major League Baseball to have a swinging strike rate of 16 percent or more, per FanGraphs.

3. Scherzer and Sale are two of three MLB starting pitchers who have held opposing batters to averages at or below the Mendoza Line of .200. Scherzer's mark of .159 is particularly impressive.

The third one is Clayton Kershaw, who is inarguably the best pitcher this decade.

Unfortunately, we probably won't get to see these aces pitch more than two innings each, but it'll be fun to see how they do against the best hitters in the league, if only for a short time.

 

     

Astros and Nationals Make Up One-Third of the Starting Lineups

In 2001, four Seattle Mariners started for the American League (John Olerud, Ichiro Suzuki, Bret Boone and Edgar Martinez) en route to a 116-46 regular season for the M's.

It's hard to imagine that record ever being topped, but this year, three Houston Astros are starting for the AL while three Washington Nationals are doing the same for the NL.

Houston vs. Washington could certainly be a World Series matchup this year, and we'll see their superstar position players (plus a couple stud pitchers) in action.

Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa will man the middle infield to start the game for the AL, while George Springer will hold down one of the outfield spots.

Bryce Harper, who has been named an All-Star five times before turning 25 years old, will start in the NL outfield. Ryan Zimmermann, who is a frontrunner for the National League Comeback Player of the Year award, and the hot-hitting Daniel Murphy will handle the right side of the infield.

       

Rising Stars on the Coasts

Judge isn't the only rookie dominating the league this year, as Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger has been making waves out west.

Bellinger, who is the son of former New York Yankees utility man Clay Bellinger, has hit 24 home runs in 279 plate appearances. Between June 10 and June 20, he hit 10 home runs over 10 games. After a four-game homerless stretch, he hit another two against Colorado.

Bellinger is currently tied for the National League lead in home runs with 24 alongside Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto.

As far as Judge goes, he is making a concerted effort at the American League Triple Crown. He leads the AL in homers (29) and RBI (65) and is hitting .331, which is third in the league among qualified players behind Seattle Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel (.335) and Altuve (.334). Naturally, Judge leads the league in offensive WAR (4.6), per Baseball-Reference.

A potential matchup between Judge and Scherzer on Tuesday will be must-see TV.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB All-Star Game Red Carpet Parade 2017: Route Map, Schedule, Event Details

This year's MLB All-Star Game, which will take place on Tuesday at Marlins Park in Miami, should grab more attention from baseball fans than usual.

Numerous players are making their first appearances, including New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger and Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez.

The game itself is not the only action of the week, with the star-studded Home Run Derby, the Celebrity Softball Game and the Futures Game also taking place, among other events.

There is also a red carpet parade featuring both MLB All-Star teams on Tuesday for local fans to enjoy.

Here is a look at the route, schedule and event details for the parade.

     

Route and Schedule

Courtesy of Mark Newman of MLB.com, here are some notes regarding the parade route and schedule: "The event, which is free for fans, will begin at 12:30 p.m. ET. The route starts on Biscayne Boulevard just north of Chopin Plaza and will travel north along Biscayne Boulevard, ending near NE 8th Street. MLB.com and MLB Network will air the show later that day, at 3 p.m. ET."

You can view a map of the area where the parade will take place by following this link. For further context, the parade will end near the AmericanAirlines Arena, the home of the NBA's Miami Heat.

     

Event Details

Former pro ballplayers Jeff Conine and Tony Perez will be the grand marshals for the parade.

Conine played in the bigs for 17 seasons, including five with the then-Florida Marlins. He was on the inaugural Marlins team in 1993 and stayed long enough to make two All-Star Games, in 1995 and 1996, winning the MVP during his first appearance.

He was also a key member on the 1997 World Series team that beat the Cleveland Indians in seven games during the Fall Classic. For his career, he hit 271 home runs to go along with 1,071 RBI and a .285 batting average.

The Cuban-born Perez was a cornerstone on the mid-1970s Cincinnati Reds, better known as The Big Red Machine. The Reds won the 1975 and 1976 World Series, with Perez manning first base. For his career, Perez made seven All-Star teams, hitting 379 home runs, knocking in 1,652 RBI and hitting .279.

This year is special for Perez. As Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald noted, Tuesday will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 All-Star Game. On that day, Perez won the MVP after hitting the go-ahead home run for the National League in the 15th inning of a 2-1 win over the AL.

Per NewmanChicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon and Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, the bosses for last year's World Series participants, will lead their respective leagues down the parade route before managing the teams later that night.

Fans will also be able to see the Commissioner's Trophy, interact with mascots and snag MLB merchandise.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB All-Star Game Red Carpet Parade 2017: Route Map, Schedule, Event Details

This year's MLB All-Star Game, which will take place on Tuesday at Marlins Park in Miami, should grab more attention from baseball fans than usual.

Numerous players are making their first appearances, including New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger and Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez.

The game itself is not the only action of the week, with the star-studded Home Run Derby, the Celebrity Softball Game and the Futures Game also taking place, among other events.

There is also a red carpet parade featuring both MLB All-Star teams on Tuesday for local fans to enjoy.

Here is a look at the route, schedule and event details for the parade.

     

Route and Schedule

Courtesy of Mark Newman of MLB.com, here are some notes regarding the parade route and schedule: "The event, which is free for fans, will begin at 12:30 p.m. ET. The route starts on Biscayne Boulevard just north of Chopin Plaza and will travel north along Biscayne Boulevard, ending near NE 8th Street. MLB.com and MLB Network will air the show later that day, at 3 p.m. ET."

You can view a map of the area where the parade will take place by following this link. For further context, the parade will end near the AmericanAirlines Arena, the home of the NBA's Miami Heat.

     

Event Details

Former pro ballplayers Jeff Conine and Tony Perez will be the grand marshals for the parade.

Conine played in the bigs for 17 seasons, including five with the then-Florida Marlins. He was on the inaugural Marlins team in 1993 and stayed long enough to make two All-Star Games, in 1995 and 1996, winning the MVP during his first appearance.

He was also a key member on the 1997 World Series team that beat the Cleveland Indians in seven games during the Fall Classic. For his career, he hit 271 home runs to go along with 1,071 RBI and a .285 batting average.

The Cuban-born Perez was a cornerstone on the mid-1970s Cincinnati Reds, better known as The Big Red Machine. The Reds won the 1975 and 1976 World Series, with Perez manning first base. For his career, Perez made seven All-Star teams, hitting 379 home runs, knocking in 1,652 RBI and hitting .279.

This year is special for Perez. As Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald noted, Tuesday will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 All-Star Game. On that day, Perez won the MVP after hitting the go-ahead home run for the National League in the 15th inning of a 2-1 win over the AL.

Per NewmanChicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon and Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, the bosses for last year's World Series participants, will lead their respective leagues down the parade route before managing the teams later that night.

Fans will also be able to see the Commissioner's Trophy, interact with mascots and snag MLB merchandise.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB All-Star Voting 2017: Predicting Biggest Snubs for Summer Showcase

With all due respect to The Masters, the true sports tradition unlike any other involves baseball fans yelling until they are blue in the face about which players got snubbed for starting positions or reserve roles for the MLB All-Star Game. It's a rite of passage during the dog days of the sports calendar.

This year should be no different, as the most recent ballot results reveal some deserving players on the outside looking in for a spot in the starting lineup.

Below you'll find the latest All-Star voting results as well as predictions for the three biggest snubs for starting positions in the All-Star Game.

Note that each player who finishes first in each position grouping will get a spot in his respective league's starting lineup (the top three outfielders in the AL and NL will get that honor).

               

Latest All-Star Voting Results

 

 

               

American League: Designated Hitter

Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz smacked at least 40 home runs in each of the past three full seasons, but he's not the best DH in the American League this year.

That would be Rays DH Corey Dickerson, who has enjoyed a resurgent season in Tampa Bay. Dickerson currently has a .960 OPS, which beats out Cruz's mark by 62 points. Dickerson has also hit 17 home runs to go along with a .329 batting average.

Cruz's marks of 14 homers and a .291 batting average fall short of Dickerson, although he's knocked in 58 RBI, which is 19 more than Dickerson.

That being said, Dickerson usually bats either first or second in the batting order, so he has fewer RBI opportunities than Cruz, who has frequently batted cleanup behind a solid 1-2-3 in the M's order in Jean Segura, Ben Gamel and Robinson Cano.

Cruz will likely win out and be the starting DH based on his popularity and recent success, but Dickerson should get the nod this year. Regardless, Dickerson should still find a spot as a substitute.

        

American League: First Base 

Eric Hosmer currently leads all vote getters at first base in the American League, and it's easy to see why.

Hosmer is hitting .302 this year for one of the hottest teams in baseball (the Royals have gone 18-10 in their last 28 to fight back to a .500 record) while playing outstanding defense as usual (Hosmer hasn't even committed an error yet this season).

Still, two breakout American Leaguers are having better seasons than Hosmer: Oakland A's first baseman Yonder Alonso and the Toronto Blue Jays' Justin Smoak.

Alonso has an astronomical .974 OPS this year, a mark boosted by his 17 home runs. The 30-year-old has nearly eclipsed his home run total for the last three full years combined (19) in under half a season.

Smoak was a highly touted prospect in his younger days, but he never met the potential others set out for him. However, that's all changed this year, as Smoak has become one of the biggest power threats in the American League en route to keeping the Blue Jays' season from sinking like an anchor.

The 30-year-old has hit 20 home runs to go along with 48 RBI, a .304 batting average and a .955 OPS. He's been a steady force for the Blue Jays, who have been beset by injuries. Most notably, 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson has missed more than half of the year.

Although Smoak and Alonso's superb offensive seasons place them as more deserving candidates for the starting nod than Hosmer, the Kansas City Royals first baseman is still a good choice due to his excellent two-way play.

       

National League: Third Outfielder

A look at the voting results reveals that Chicago Cubs fans are coming off the high of last year's World Series win and stuffing the ballot box with their favorite players, regardless of whether an All-Star bid is deserved.

Look no further than the outfield position for proof. Kyle Schwarber has struggled mightily this season, hitting .171 and striking out 75 times before being sent to Triple-A, but he's received the eighth-most votes among NL outfielders.

Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist are third and fourth, respectively, but they've each missed large chunks of the season due to injury and have subpar OPS marks (.714 and .715 respectively).

The player who deserves the final starting outfield spot for the NL behind Bryce Harper and Charlie Blackmon is Marcell Ozuna, who has had a fantastic year for the Miami Marlins.

Ozuna has hit 20 home runs to go along with 54 RBI and a .319 batting average this season. The 26-year-old never hit more than 23 home runs or batted better than .269 during his first four full seasons in the bigs.

Ozuna is ninth in the National League in WAR, OPS and RBI. It's hard to see him topping Heyward in the All-Star race considering that he is over 100,000 votes behind, but Ozuna should still make the team as a reserve.

A quick note to close this section: If Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger was on the All-Star ballot, he'd be a shoo-in based on his torrid tear of late. Alas, he is not, but expect him to get in as a reserve.

                  

 (All statistics are via Baseball-Reference.)

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World Baseball Classic Schedule 2017: Dates, Times, Locations, TV Info and More

The World Baseball Classic, a 16-team, 16-day tournament taking place in four different countries, kicks off Monday, March 6, when Israel faces Korea to open pool play.

If you're a baseball junkie dying to watch games until the MLB season arrives Sunday, April 2, then you can tune into MLB Network and ESPN Deportes, which will simulcast every single WBC contest.

Here's a look at the WBC schedule, as well as some quick rundowns of the teams and a few predictions.

 

Pool A: Seoul

Game Matchup Date Time (ET)
1 Israel vs. Korea Monday, March 6 4:30 a.m.
2 Israel vs. Chinese Taipei Monday, March 6 10 p.m.
3 Korea vs. Netherlands Tuesday, March 7 4:30 a.m.
4 Chinese Taipei vs. Netherlands Wednesday, March 8 4:30 a.m.
5 Netherlands vs. Israel Wednesday, March 8 10 p.m.
6 Korea vs. Chinese Taipei Thursday, March 9 4:30 a.m.
7 Tiebreaker (if necessary) Friday, March 10 4 a.m.

The Netherlands has the most MLB talent out of any team in this group. They have five MLB infielders: Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius, Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar, Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

That's a lot of middle infielders and not enough space, so the Netherlands is going to have to figure that one out. However, what isn't up for debate is the closer position, as Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen has that on lockdown.

The Netherlands will survive this pool and so will Korea, who will be buoyed by its raucous crowds.

 

Pool B: Tokyo

Game Matchup Date Time (ET)
1 Cuba vs. Japan Tuesday, March 7 5 a.m.
2 China vs. Cuba Tuesday, March 7 10 p.m.
3 Japan vs. Australia Wednesday, March 8 5 a.m.
4 Australia vs. China Thursday, March 9 5 a.m.
5 Australia vs. Cuba Thursday, March 9 10 p.m.
6 China vs. Japan Friday, March 10 5 a.m.
7 Tiebreaker (if necessary) Saturday, March 11 5 a.m.

This is the weakest group of the four. In previous years, Cuba would pose a threat, but the country banned players who defected from participating on the national team. So would Japan, but the big-name stars are not participating this year, including 22-year-old Shohei Otani, who is basically Nippon Professional Baseball's version of a young Babe Ruth before he stopped pitching (check out Otani's stats here).

The most recognizable names from this group include Houston Astros outfielder Nori Aoki and former journeyman starting pitcher Bruce Chen (China).

The guess here is that Japan, like Korea, is backed by its home crowd and advances out of the group, as does Cuba.

 

Pool C: Miami

Game Matchup Date Time (ET)
1 Canada vs. Dominican Republic Thursday, March 9 9 p.m.
2 Colombia vs. United States Friday, March 10 9 p.m.
3 Colombia vs. Canada Saturday, March 11 3 p.m.
4 United States vs. Dominican Republic Saturday, March 11 9:30 p.m.
5 Dominican Republic vs. Colombia Sunday, March 12 3:30 p.m.
6 Canada vs. United States Sunday, March 12 10 p.m.
7 Tiebreaker (if necessary) Monday, March 13 9 p.m.

The favorites here are more clear-cut, as the Dominican Republic and the United States should advance from this pool easily.

 

The Dominican Republic, the defending WBC champion, is the most well-rounded (and the best) team in the entire tournament. If it doesn't win, it will be a major upset.

Here's Doug Miller of MLB.com on how great this team is:

Looking for power? Here's Adrian Beltre, 2013 Classic MVP Cano, Nelson CruzCarlos SantanaJose BautistaManny Machado and Hanley Ramirez. Speed and defense? Here's Starling MarteJose ReyesGregory Polanco and Jonathan Villar. Starting pitching? How about Johnny CuetoCarlos MartinezBartolo ColonIvan NovaLuis Severino and Edinson Volquez. Relievers? Here's Dellin BetancesJeurys FamiliaSantiago Casilla and Fernando Rodney, among many others. In a word, wow.

The United States is sending a darn good team to the WBC too, headlined by Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer.

Still, the USA (or any team) can't compete with the balance the Dominican Republic has going for it in the WBC.

With all due respect to Canada and Colombia, it would be a major shock if either team made it to the next round.

 

Pool D: Jalisco

Game Matchup Date Time (ET)
1 Mexico vs. Italy Thursday, March 9 9 p.m.
2 Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico Friday, March 10 9 p.m.
3 Venezuela vs. Italy Saturday, March 11 3 p.m.
4 Puerto Rico vs. Mexico Saturday, March 11 9:30 p.m.
5 Italy vs. Puerto Rico Sunday, March 12 3:30 p.m.
6 Mexico vs. Venezuela Sunday, March 12 10 p.m.
7 Tiebreaker (if necessary) Monday, March 13 9 p.m.

This is the best pool of the entire tournament. Italy, which figures to finish last, made a run to the second round of the 2013 WBC, so fans shouldn't sleep on them.

However, the other three countries will be tough to beat in what is easily the WBC's Group of Death.

Mexico's pitching staff would be one of the best in the MLB. From Miller again

Starters include Major Leaguers Julio UriasYovani GallardoJaime GarciaMarco Estrada and Jorge De La Rosa, and a stacked bullpen features Roberto OsunaOliver PerezJoakim SoriaSergio Romo and Carlos Torres.

Every pitcher on that team was a member of a starting rotation or bullpen last season.

Puerto Rico has the best middle infield in the entire tournament, with all due respect to the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands, as future MVP candidatesHouston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa and Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindorwill likely draw starts. 

Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez, who dazzled with his glove in the MLB postseason, is also in the mix. Puerto Rico also has two great veterans in outfielder Carlos Beltran and catcher Yadier Molina to lead the team.

Finally, Venezuela features some serious star power, led by Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez.

It's a tough call, but Venezuela and Mexico have the best pitching staffs, so expect that to be the key in those two countries advancing.

 

Pool E: Tokyo

Game Matchup Date Time (ET)
1 Pool A winner vs. Pool B runner-up Saturday, March 11 10 p.m.
2 Pool B winner vs. Pool A runner-up Sunday, March 12 6 a.m.
3 Pool A runner-up vs. Pool A winner Monday, March 13 6 a.m.
4 Pool B runner-up vs. Pool B winner Tuesday, March 14 6 a.m.
5 Pool A runner-up vs. Pool B runner-up Tuesday, March 14 11 p.m.
6 Pool A winner vs. Pool B winner Wednesday, March 15 6 a.m.
7 Tiebreaker (if necessary) Thursday, March 16 6 a.m.

If I can put on the Captain Obvious pirates hat for a second, the downfall of the WBC pool play system will show itself in this round, as Pools A and B are clearly the weakest of the field.

However, two of these teams will receive automatic berths to the semifinal round. That doesn't seem right, especially considering that arguably the best five teams in the WBC are in Pools C and D.

Anyway, the Netherlands should advance easily behind its fantastic, slick-fielding infield. Japan, behind its home crowd once more, will advance from the group as well.



Pool F: San Diego

Game Matchup Date Time (ET)
1 Pool C winner vs. Pool D winner Tuesday, March 14 9 p.m.
2 Pool C runner-up vs. Pool D runner-up Wednesday, March 15 9 p.m.
3 Pool D runner-up vs. Pool C winner Thursday, March 16  10 p.m.
4 Pool C runner-up vs. Pool D winner Friday, March 17 10 p.m.
5 Pool D winner vs. Pool D runner-up Saturday, March 18 3:30 p.m.
6 Pool C runner-up vs. Pool C winner Saturday, March 18 10 p.m.
7 Tiebreaker (if necessary) Sunday, March 19 6 p.m.

Every team in this group will be a powerhouse, and it will feature the best four teams remaining in the field. This group is so stacked that it should honestly be a championship round-robin.

Unfortunately, two teams have to go home early.

It's hard to bet against the Dominican Republic, which checks off literally every single box a baseball team needs to win ballgames. As for the second-place finisher, it's a toss-up between Venezuela and the United States. Whoever has the better pitcher on the mound will win that day.

Looking at the depth of each starting rotation, Venezuela has the better ace in Hernandez (but not by much over Archer), but the United States has a deeper rotation, featuring Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, Kansas City Royals starter Danny Duffy and others.

Therefore, the pick is for the USA to advance to the finals.

 

Finals: Los Angeles

Game Matchup Date Time (ET)
WBC Semifinals Pool F winner vs. Pool E runner-up Monday, March 20 9 p.m. 
WBC Semifinals Pool F runner-up vs. Pool E winner  Tuesday, March 21  9 p.m.
WBC Finals Semifinal winner vs. semifinal winner Wednesday, March 22 9 p.m.

The Dominican Republic and the United States will defeat Japan and the Netherlands, respectively, and advance to the WBC finals. Once there, the Dominican Republic will simply prove to be too strong for the United States side. It simply has too much power and speed for any team in this tournament.


Roster information via mlb.com.

Schedule information via worldbaseballclassic.com.

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MLB Rumors: Analyzing Trade Whispers as Pitchers and Catchers Report

Spring training may have started, leaving the prime time of the MLB hot stove in its wake, but some leftover trade rumors are still floating around the mill.

Here's a look at three names making some news, along with analysis.

     

Jose Quintana

Chicago White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana may not be a household name, but he's proved to be a durable and reliable starter in five big league seasons.

In his last four, he's made at least 32 starts and thrown for no fewer than 200 innings each year. He's proved to be effective, too, posting a 3.35 ERA.

There isn't exactly a large supply of durable and successful left-handed starting pitchers, let alone ones entering their age-28 season like Quintana, so the trade market for him should be active for a rebuilding team looking to stockpile young assets, as the White Sox did in the Chris Sale deal.

Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reported on trade rumors surrounding Quintana lately:

The Sox have talked to the Pirates, Astros and Yankees, among other teams, about a trade and are known to have been close with one team. But things seem to have cooled down somewhat. At least for now.

'We have had extensive conversations on various fronts and as we sit here today, there's nothing that's gnawing at us or appealing enough to make us move,' general manager Rick Hahn said.

The rumors have been loud enough that Quintana has been forced to address them with the media, per Van Schouwen.

"Yeah, it's a little bit hard when you hear too many things about rumors every time," he said. "But I don't pay attention to that. I just put my focus on all the things I need to do. Every bullpen, workouts and everything it takes to be ready."

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports also answered some fan questions on Twitter recently, and one person asked about the White Sox lefty:

If the Astros can get that deal done, they have to be considered one of the front-runners to win the American League. Quintana would help form a tremendous starting rotation with 2015 AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and 23-year-old Lance McCullers, who throws for more than one strikeout per inning.

Adding Quintana would perhaps even make Sports Illustrated's prediction come true.

     

David Robertson

Speaking of White Sox pitchers, ChiSox closer David Robertson has been connected with the Washington Nationals, who are in the market for a closer after losing out on some stud free agents.

Robertson has closed games for three full seasons, one with the New York Yankees and two with the White Sox. He's saved 110 games to go along with a 3.32 ERA in that time span.

Bob Nightengale and Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today reported on the potential of Robertson moving to D.C.:

The Nationals tried to include him in their deal for White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton last winter and looked like they were close to sealing the deal last week, but there’s still no trade.

The White Sox remain optimistic a trade will be consummated. But a high-ranking Nationals official, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing, says the two sides have hit a stalemate and no trade is imminent.

It might just be a matter of who blinks first.

Robertson would provide a massive boost for a Nationals team in win-now mode. The team has the speed, power, defense and starting pitching to contend for a World Series, but the bullpen is a bit suspect (at least on paper).

Adding an experienced closer in Robertson will put the Nats neck and neck with the Dodgers for No. 1 contender status behind the Chicago Cubs for the National League pennant.

     

Andrew McCutchen

Pittsburgh Pirates star outfielder Andrew McCutchen had a bad season (by his standards) last year, posting a slash line of .256/.336/.430, which were the worst marks of his entire career.

Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also reported that McCutchen was last in the MLB in defensive runs saved with negative-26, per Baseball Info Solutions.

Given his decline, the Bucs are looking around to see if there's a trade market for him (as well as teammate Josh Harrison).

From Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "General manager Neal Huntington mulled trade offers for Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison (and Huntington remains willing to deal either player) but didn't pull off a move."

For now, Cutch looks to be sticking around, although he will be moving to right field. Adam Berry of MLB.com also noted that manager Clint Hurdle said McCutchen will be batting third this season.

This all being said, McCutchen is a five-time All-Star entering his age-30 season, and he's four years removed from an MVP. It's not as if he's a 37- or 38-year old outfielder who can't move or get the bat around anymore.

If the Bucs' season goes south but McCutchen enjoys a resurgent year, expect the trade rumor mill to heat up once again.

     

All statistics via Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted.

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