Wednesday afternoon, ESPN announced the participants for the 2015 Home Run Derby in Cincinnati at the Great American Ballpark. Among those selected is Los Angeles Angels' first baseman Albert Pujols, who was the only player who stated his participation in advance of the announcement. Eight players will compete for the title, currently held by the reigning champion Yoenis Cespedes, left fielder for the Detroit Tigers.
This marks the fourth Home Run Derby for Pujols, who replaced the injured Miguel Cabrera on the starting roster. Pujols -- leading the American League with 26 home runs this season -- finished second in the Home Run Derby in 2003, then fourth in 2007 and 2009. Angels teammate Mike Trout declined an invitation to participate in the derby for the second year in a row, as did Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper.
The rules for the Home Run Derby are drastically different this year, with the eight players paired off in brackets. Each of the three rounds will consist of each batter having five minutes to hit as many home runs as possible, with the clock starting when the first pitch is thrown. In the final minute, the clock stops if a home run is hit, and doesn't start again until a batter hits a ball that doesn't end up a home run or the batter swings and misses.
Among those who had been mulling the decision if asked were Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, Cespedes, Tigers' right fielder J.D. Martinez and Los Angeles Dodgers' center fielder Joc Pederson. Only Pederson made the final list and Cespedes said recently he would only participate if he made the All-Star team. He is currently in the Final Vote, in third place.
Pederson and Kris Bryant will become the fifth and sixth rookies to compete in the derby, joining Wally Joyner (1986), Jose Canseco ('86), Mark McGwire ('87) and Mike Piazza ('93) to do so. The derby will be held at 8 p.m. ET on Monday.
2015 Home Run Derby participants:
Kris Bryant: Chicago Cubs, 3B
Josh Donaldson: Toronto Blue Jays, 3B
Prince Fielder: Texas Rangers, 1B
Todd Frazier: Cincinnati Reds, 3B
Manny Machado: Baltimore Orioles, 3B
Joc Pederson: Los Angeles Dodgers, CF
Albert Pujols: Los Angeles Angels, 1B
Anthony Rizzo: Chicago Cubs, 1B