Home Run Derby 2011 Preview: Jose Bautista

ATLANTA: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays watches his third inning home run against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

It took a whole year, but the secret cabal that rules the Home Run Derby has decided, in its infinite and unquestioned wisdom, to give Major League Baseball's top home-run hitter a shot.

Here's my question (and it's got two parts) ...

Why did someone have to choose Jose Bautista for the American League's Home Run Derby squad?

Why wasn't Jose Bautista the one doing the choosing?

Because the evidence suggests that among all the humans on the planet, Jose Bautista knows the most about hitting home runs. This season, he's hit six more home runs than anybody else. Since Opening Day 2010, Bautista's hit 24 more home runs than anybody else.

Which reminds me of another question ...

Why wasn't Jose Bautista involved in this magical event a year ago?

A year ago at the All-Star break, Jose Bautista had 24 home runs and Vernon Wells had 19. Of course, Wells was in the Home Derby and you won't be surprised to learn -- especially if you're an Angels fan -- that he hit exactly two homers in the first round and fell from the competition.

Hey, anything might happen. But for every Tino Martinez and Bobby Abreu -- upset winners of Home Run Derbies -- there are three or four Junior Griffeys, great power hitters whose power showed up, as expected, in the bright lights of the Derby. Jose Bautista probably won't actually win the thing. But he's where the smart money is.

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