Shohei Ohtani and the other Home Run Derby participants are going to be in a great position to put on an absolute show at Coors Field next week. Between the high altitude and MLB's decision to turn off the humidor that keeps the baseballs from drying out in Denver, we could be in for some serious bombs.
While defending champion Pete Alonso, along with Joey Gallo, Trey Mancini, Matt Olson, Salvador Perez, Juan Soto and Trevor Story will all be there to try and take advantage of the ideal conditions, it's Ohtani that we should all be excited to see. In an ESPN+ story today, Mike Trout and other players discussed what it's like to see Ohtani in batting practice. It sounds made-up. Via ESPN:
[Angels hitting instructor Paul] Sorrento called those sessions "stupid." Matt Shoemaker, a former teammate and current pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, described it as "an absolute joke." Tommy La Stella, the San Francisco Giants infielder who is in his eighth major league season, said it's "the most power I've ever been around."
Then there's the opinion of probably one of the best baseball players ever.
"I'm saying it now: If you haven't seen him take BP, watch him in the Home Run Derby, because it's gonna be a show," Angels center fielder Mike Trout said. "He can hit, line to line, stupid power. To see him hit in Colorado, obviously with them balls, during the derby, it's gonna be must-see TV."
According to ESPN, when Ohtani took batting practice at Coors Field in May 2018 he may have hit the ball further than anyone has ever done in the park.
The baseball was driven to right-center with backspin, clearing the bullpen, then the first section of seats, then the concourse, then the second deck, then the third, ultimately smashing into the railing that lines the first of two rooftop sections at Coors Field, a place few, if any, have ever ventured.
Trout and former Angels teammate Kole Calhoun, who was there when Ohtani hit the legendary BP shot, both agree that Ohtani might literally hit the ball out of the stadium. Shohei Ohtani in the Home Run Derby at Coors Field sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime fantasy sports event, but it's real and it's happening on Monday and I cannot wait to see if it can live up to expectations. Considering what Ohtani has been doing so far this year, there is reason to be optimistic.