The chances for an absolutely epic Home Run Derby at the 2021 MLB All-Star game in Colorado just dropped considerably. Two of baseball's brightest young stars have decided not to participate, as both Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. have opted out.
New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso is the defending champion in the derby and he'll be returning in 2021. But his biggest competition from the 2019 event is now out. Guerrero, who lost to Alonso by one home run last time, said he'll sit out to stay fresh and in an attempt to avoid injury. That was a huge bummer, given that the Toronto Blue Jays star is tied for the MLB lead in home runs with 23.
On Friday, Tatis told San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Annie Heilbrunn that he was opting out because of his health:
Tatis has been dealing with a left shoulder injury all year and even aggravated on a swing early in the season. It wasn't difficult to see that the San Diego Padres might recommend their prized shortstop sit out to protect himself and stay healthy for a stretch run.
Obviously these guys have the right to opt out of the derby, but it's really a shame for baseball. This could have been a great chance to feature two of the league's biggest stars on a huge stage during the derby. The fact that it's in Denver at Coors Field, where balls fly further, just makes it an even bigger bummer.