One of Major League Baseball’s showcase events is nearly here, with the 2019 MLB Home Run Derby taking place Monday night at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.
And for the first time ever, the top prize for the winner will be $1 million.
The Home Run Derby pits some of the league’s top sluggers against one another as they see who can hit the most home runs. The players compete in pairs in a three-round, single-elimination bracket.
Last year, the total prize pool for the home run derby was only $525,000, with the winner taking home $125,000. This year, nearly $2 million was added to the pot. With $1 million of the $2.5 million prize pool going to the winner, expect the competition to be more fierce with significantly more money on the line.
Eight players are participating in the derby: Josh Bell, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Joc Pederson, Pete Alonso, Carlos Santana, Matt Chapman, Alex Bregman and Ronald Acuna.
Christian Yelich, the current leader for home runs halfway through the 2019 MLB season, had to pull out of the competition with a back issue and was replaced by Chapman.
Of those eight players, five of them will make less than $1 million in salary for the 2019 season. Acuna already makes $1 million. If any of those players win, it will at least double their earnings for the year. Even better for them is that they’ll have made that money in only a few short hours, compared to the hundreds of hours they potentially have to play throughout the season.
By increasing the prize pool, the league will be in a better position to attract some of the game’s top stars to compete in the future. Some notable MLB superstars such as Mike Trout have never participated in the competition, but that could change moving forward.