Third baseman Todd Frazier, who won the 2015 Home Run Derby during All-Star Week as a Cincinnati Red in 2015, will be the fifth White Sox and first since Jermaine Dye in 2006 to participate when he defends his title at the 2016 event Monday at Petco Park in San Diego.
The field of eight, announced Thursday, includes Frazier, 2011 winner Robinson Cano, major league home run leader Mark Trumbo of the Baltimore Orioles, Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, Adam Duvall of the Reds, Wil Myers of the San Diego Padros and Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies.
Seeds are based on home run totals through Wednesday and Frazier, who has 23, is seeded second and will face Gonzalez in the first round. Frazier is competing in the event for the third consecutive year after advancing to the finals in 2014 and winning last year.
The bracket, with seeds: 1 Trumbo vs. 8 Seager, 4 Cano vs. 5 Stanton, 3 Duvall vs. 6 Myers, 2 Frazier vs. 7 Gonzalez.
Frazier’s brother, Charlie, will pitch again to Frazier, who has gushed about the upcoming event this past week, anticipating another opportunity to participate in a competition several players have declined – including the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. Frazier posted the bracket on his Twitter feed minutes after it was announced with a #can’twait hashtag.
“You grow up playing it in the back yards and high school fields when you’re younger,’’ Frazier said. “You get an opportunity to play in a big league ballpark, packed house, in front of your peers and it’s exciting. Win lose or draw.
“I already have one under my belt and I just think it’s a lot of fun. I bring my family there and have your brother throwing to you. They get a thrill of a lifetime, this will be the third year now if it happens and they love it, too, as well.’’
Frazier joins Carlton Fisk (1985), Frank Thomas (1994 and ’95), Paul Konerko (2002) and Jermaine Dye (2006) on the list of Sox participants. Thomas won in 1995.
Swinging at Great American Ballpark, his home park in Cincinnati last year, Frazier beat 2012 champion Prince Fielder in the first round, Josh Donaldson in the second round and Joc Pederson in the final round. He was the first hometown winner since Ryne Sandberg won as a Cub at Wrigley Field in 1990.
“He enjoys doing it, he has the personality to handle it,’’ Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Win or lose, whatever happens in that home run hitting contest isn’t going to change him. It’s not going to hurt or help his swing.’’
Seager will be the seventh rookie in the Derby, joining California’s Wally Joyner (1986), Oakland’s Jose Canseco (1986) and Mark McGwire (1987), Mike Piazza of the Dodgers (1993), and Bryant (2015) and Rizzo (2015) of the Cubs.
The derby will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com at 7 p.m. Central.