MIDLAND, Mich. – The Great Lakes Loons and the Midwest League are pleased to announce the participants for the 2017 Midwest League Home Run Derby, presented by Chemical Bank, at Dow Diamond on June 19th.
They include: Carlos Rincon (Great Lakes), Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. (Lansing), Bo Bichette (Lansing), Fernando Tatis, Jr. (Fort Wayne), Blaise Salter (West Michigan), Jesus Sanchez (Bowling Green), Marcus Wilson (Kane County), and Andy Young (Peoria).
Rincon is the only non-All-Star participating in the Derby. The Midwest League has granted him participation in serving as a representative for the hosting Great Lakes Loons. The 19-year-old Dominican outfielder has 11 home runs this season and leads the Midwest League in frequency of home runs with one every 15.7 at bats.
Guerrero, Jr. is the son of former Major League MVP, Vladimir Guerrero. The 18-year-old Guerrero, Jr. was the second youngest player on an opening day roster in the Midwest League this season and is considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Paired with the second highest batting average in the league currently, Guerrero, Jr. has four total home runs this season.
Bichette is the second of three legacy players participating in the Derby this year. Bo is the son of former Major Leaguer, Dante Bichette. Leading the Midwest League in batting average by over 50 points, the 19-year-old from Orlando, FL currently has six home runs on the year.
Tatis, Jr. is the offspring of another former Major Leaguer, Fernando Tatis. Tatis, Jr. is also another teenager at just 18 years old. After having just four home runs in his first season as a professional last year, the Dominican infielder has eight already this season in 61 games.
Salter is the state of Michigan through and through. He grew up in Bloomfield Hills and graduated High School from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, then went on to play college baseball for Michigan State before being drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 31st round of the 2015 MLB draft. The grandson of Bill Freehan, who was an 11-time Major League All-Star and won the 1968 World Series with the Tigers, has five home runs this year for the Eastern Division leading West Michigan Whitecaps.
Sanchez is the most recent winner of the Midwest League’s Player of the Week honor after crushing two home runs and hitting .522 in his last five games. A top-10 prospect for the Tampa Bay Rays, Sanchez is one of five teenagers in the Home Run Derby. This season, the Dominican left-hander has nine home runs.
Wilson was the 69th overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft out of Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, CA. The 20-year-old outfielder is having, by far, his best season as a professional hitting over .300 and totaling seven home runs. Wilson was the hottest slugger to start the 2017 Midwest League season bopping five home runs in his first 13 games.
Young is from West Fargo, ND and went to Indiana State before being drafted last year in the 37th round by the St. Louis Cardinals. The righty infielder is currently tied for third in the Western Division with 10 home runs this year.
The Midwest League Home Run Derby is slated to start at 7:05 p.m. ET on Monday, June 19th. The format for the derby will follow a shot clock system that will have timed rounds through the finals. Following the Home Run Derby, Nashville recording artist and 2015 MusicRow Independent Artist of the Year, the Chris Weaver Band, will headline a free concert on Dow Diamond’s front lawn. The concert is slated to start at 8:30, and will feature food trucks and a selection of beers available for purchase. The concert is free and open to the general public.