As we have seen so many times in the past, MLB fans often do not make the best choices when it comes to voting for the All-Star Game (ASG) participants. This year has been a painful reminder of that for O’s fans, since Cedric Mullins is only 9th in ASG voting out of all American League Outfielders.
Luckily, the Home Run Derby participants are not determined by fan voting, because the ASG captain for each league chooses their three teammates. Because of that, you can consider the following paragraphs to be my plea to the AL ASG captain to let Trey Mancini participate in the 2021 Home Run Derby. If you are also convinced by my argument, go to this link to sign a petition for Trey Mancini to participate in the 2021 HR Derby!
First of all, you really should include Mancini onto the AL Home Run Derby team, because he is a wonderful human being. He has been through so much in the past year or so after being diagnosed with colon cancer in March of 2020. He has given back to the community throughout his career, from spending time with Mo Gaba in the past to recently encouraging others to participate in early cancer screening to improve survival rates. I sincerely believe that if you do not include Mancini on the AL HR Derby team, then you will regret it quite a bit in the future. Power hitters come and go, but the power of Trey’s story will last well beyond the careers of any current big leaguer. That is why it would truly mean so much to Orioles fans and baseball spectators everywhere to see Mancini perform on the national stage. In fact, his story would fit in perfectly with the “Stand Up to Cancer” campaign that is present at the All-Star Game that the MLB promotes every year and make its reach stretch even wider.
Then, because of his unique story, Mancini’s emotional motivations will evoke the very best out of his pure hitting skills, empowering him to be a major asset to the AL Home Run Derby team. We all saw what happened in 2008 when Josh Hamilton entered into the Derby after overcoming ample adversity and then won the whole competition. Not only does Mancini have the necessary motivation to execute a similar performance that would captivate and inspire the entire baseball world, but he also has been one of the best AL power hitters this year. He ranks 18th in the AL in HR (only 4 from 4th place) and 20th in isolated power. Also, his barrel percentage and xSLG are 81st percentile and 88th percentile in the MLB, respectively. He has also been a great hitter in general with a xwOBA in the 90th percentile.
Finally, there’s a good chance that we’ll see Mancini put on an amazing show in the Derby by hitting absolute missiles all over the field. Six of his HRs in 2021 have been hit to the opposite field, while the average distance of all his 14 dingers hit this year is 404 ft. This is despite Trey having a launch angle of only 9.8%, which is third lowest among the top 20 barrel percentage leaders. That angle will surely go way up during the HR Derby, which will allow him to send balls way back. If Mancini hits with more of an upper-cut, then it would blend well with his max effort swing, since that has produced a max exit velocity within the top 10% of all batters for each of his past four seasons. Mancini really can mash with the best of the MLB’s sluggers and he deserves to show it to the whole world.
Not to mention, with all the negative publicity MLB is receiving lately due to the sticky substances crackdown/issue, they could use the jolt of positivity that would come with highlighting Mancini’s story.
Like Will Leitch from MLB.com said, “Every Home Run Derby needs an unabashed fan favorite, and there is no more ideal nominee for this position than Mancini.” I don’t think I can say it any better than that. So let’s go vote for Cedric Mullins for the ASG, sign the petition to get Trey in the Home Run Derby, and spam the social media accounts of whoever becomes the AL HR Derby captain once that is announced!