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2014-mlb-all-star-game-logo[Health update: fever once again popped over 104 degrees early today, so I wound up going to urgent care. Fortunately or unfortunately, they weren't really able to tell me much about what's causing it, because I basically don't have any other symptoms whatsoever. But I'm taking lots and lots of fever-reducing medication, drinking tons of fluid, resting all day, etc., and the fever has come way down for most of the day. The Wife has granted me a brief window in which to provide you this update, and the following post.]

I have always loved the Home Run Derby. It’s probably in large part because I, like so many other baseball fans, am simply a sucker for dingers, but I just find the event fun. Sure, it would be a lot more fun if there were, like, ever a Chicago Cubs player in it – Anthony Rizzo was both deserving and interested this year, but no dice.

Still: Giancarlo Stanton in a derby? Yes, please.

The event starts at 7pm CT on ESPN, and MLB.com notes the format change this year:

If a guy goes off like that this time, he won’t be physically punished. For one, he’ll be limited to seven outs, instead of 10. And also, as long as he leads his league in first-round output, he’ll get a bye in the newly-created second round and advance straight to the semis.

Each round will grant participants seven outs. Six guys will advance out of the first round (the two league leaders and the four guys who finish with the second- and third-highest first-round totals in their league), two will advance out of the second round to face the two rested sluggers in the semis. The two finals participants — one from each league — will again receive seven outs apiece, and if it comes down to a tiebreaker, they’ll get three swings apiece.

Together with Stanton, the NL roster includes captain Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Frazier, Yasiel Puig, and Justin Morneau. Rizzo has more homers than the latter three, and Puig has just 12 homers (one more than, for example, Starlin Castro). But, you know, Puig is kind of fun. So I’m OK with it.

On the AL side, it’s captain Jose Bautista, together with Josh Donaldson, Brian Dozier, Adam Jones, and Yoenis Cespedes.

While you watch and enjoy this year’s derby, may you also dream about the future of an all-Cubs derby squad. And to sate that dream, check out all the homers Cubs prospects hit yesterday.

First, there was Arismendy Alcantara popping his first big league dinger:

That was an 0-2 breaking pitch, down in the zone and not too far off where Julio Teheran wanted it. We’ve said it before, but it keeps showing up: Alcantara has extremely easy pop, especially for his size. I love it.

And how about Javier Baez providing all of the World Team offense in the Futures Game:

That was incredibly impressive: (1) it came on an outer half breaking pitch, and not a terrible one; (2) Baez had to wait back on it and then took it the other way; (3) it came off of Lucas Giolito, one of the best pitching prospects in baseball; and (4) it led to this amazing moment as Baez rounded third:

I bet they were loving that moment. Whether Baez was pointing Bryant or the stands (sounds like he was pointing to his family in the stands, and then fist-bumped Bryant), it made for a very cool picture.

Not to be outdone, Jorge Soler got in on the homer party yesterday, because of course he did – when you’re the hottest hitter in the system, you join in on the homer parties. It’s a rule.

Also a rule: in that situation, you have to hit two homers in one game, and they both have to be ridiculous bombs.

Lots of views and replays in that one. I’m┬ástarting to feel my fever return. I should probably be careful. In fact, I’m going to avoid Soler’s stats this year just to be safe.

Among the other fun Cubs-related homer stuff yesterday: Jeimer Candelario went deep twice for the Kane County Cougars, and Billy McKinney hit his first homer with the Daytona Cubs.

It was a good day. Now enjoy the Home Run Derby, and ask yourself: a team of Baez, Bryant, Soler, Alcantara and Schwarber could totally be just as legit, right?

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