Gunnar Henderson [608x342]
Gunnar Henderson [608x342] (Credit: G Fiume/Getty Images)

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The 2024 MLB All-Star Home Run Derby is almost here!

Spots for the most anticipated baseball event of the summer are filling up fast, and some of the biggest names in MLB will be duking it out at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on July 15 (8 p.m. ET on ESPN).

This year's Derby will feature some significant changes, most notably that the first round won't be a head-to-head bracket -- the top four first-round scores will advance to the semifinal bracket -- and that hitters will see a maximum of 40 pitches in each timed round, placing more of an emphasis on efficiency as opposed to speed. 

We break down each player's chances as the field is announced, starting with the first star to commit to this year's competition. 

Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles

2024 home runs: 27 | Longest: 430 feet

Why he could win: Have you seen what Henderson is doing this season? The sophomore shortstop is already on the verge of surpassing his 2023 home run total (28) in just over half a season. The key to taking his power to a new level has been improving his home run-to-fly ball ratio from 19.3% last season to an MLB-leading 32.1% this season. Simply put, good things happen when Henderson hits the ball in the air -- and he'll get plenty of pitches to drive on Derby night.

Why he might not: Henderson's Baseball Savant page is a sea of red this season (meaning he's above average in most categories) and he's at or near the top of every power leaderboard, but there is one number that could work against him in the Home Run Derby: the number 1. As in, this will be his first time participating in the event. We know Henderson's power plays in games, but some players are built for the rigors of the Derby, and others are not, and it's impossible to know which category even the best sluggers fit in until they are swinging under the bright lights.

Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies

Home runs: 11 | Longest: 427 feet

Why he could win: The NL's starting All-Star third baseman, Bohm is in the midst of a breakout season that has come with leaps in his fly ball (33.8% to 36.8%), pull (30.2% to 34.7%) and hard contact (31.5% to 37.8%) rates -- all things that bode well for his chances in an event where getting into a rhythm of pulling the ball over the fence is a key to success.

Why he might not: That breakout hasn't translated into a rise in home runs as he has just 11 long balls this season and his .192 ISO (a stat that measures a player's entire power output) is tied for 42nd in the majors.

Pete Alonso, New York Mets

2024 home runs: 18 | Longest: 446 feet

Why he could win: Alonso's Home Run Derby history speaks for itself: He won the event in 2019 and 2021, joining Ken Griffey Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes as back-to-back Derby champions. Sure, he got knocked out in the first round of last summer's event, but it's hard to pick against Alonso in any Home Run Derby field.

Why he might not: Alonso is in the midst of something of a down season, with a sub.-800 OPS and only 18 home runs in 87 games after belting 40-plus each of the past two years. One of the biggest culprits has been a rise in ground ball rate, which is something he can't afford to see carry into the Home Run Derby if he wants to add a third title to his résumé in Arlington.