Manchester, N.H. - The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, in conjunction with the Eastern League of Professional Baseball, have announced the contestants for the 2017 Jordan's Furniture Tempur-Pedic Home Run Derby, which the Fisher Cats will host on Tuesday, July 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. The Home Run Derby will feature timed rounds in a head-to-head, single-elimination tournament with eight of the best sluggers in the Eastern League. Any ties will be broken by the longest home run hit in a given round.
The participants have been seeded based on current home run total. Mitch Walding, who will be added to the Eastern Division All-Star Team as part of an upcoming roster move, leads the league with 20 homers -- including 13 in the month of June -- and claims the top spot for the Reading Fightin' Phils (Phillies). In the opening round, he'll face off against Fisher Cats (Blue Jays) infielder Gunnar Heidt, who has already set a career-high with nine home runs this season.
21-year-old Yu-Cheng Chang will represent the Akron Rubberducks (Indians) as the No, 2 seed. He ranks third in the league with 18 long balls, and will pose a major threat to hometown favorite Ryan McBroom. With 10 home runs this season, McBroom will be participating in his third consecutive clout contest, including his victorious run through the Midwest League Home Run Derby in 2015.
Third-seeded Gabriel Quintana (14 HR) knows how to hit big flies in bunches. The Erie SeaWolves (Tigers) slugger is one of three Eastern League players to hit three homers in one game this year; he did it against the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) on May 22. He'll be matched up with Reading's Jiandido Tromp, who brings a recent power surge -- six homers in the last three weeks -- into the derby.
The most hotly-contested opening round battle could come down to No. 4 seed Aderlin Rodriguez and No. 5 seed Slade Heathcott, who have hit 12 blasts apiece. Heathcott, now a member of the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants) was a first round pick in 2009 and a member of the New York Yankees in 2015. Now with a new organization, he's enjoying his best power season yet. Rodriguez has been a hitting machine for the Bowie Baysox (Orioles), ranking in the top 10 among active Eastern League batters in homers (12), RBIs (50) and batting average (.301).
The winner of the Home Run Derby will receive the Fisher Cats championship belt (pictured above), and one lucky fan will win a Tempur-Pedic Mattress valued at $2,800 from Jordan's Furniture. In each matchup, the player with the most home runs advances to the next round, while the other batter is eliminated. The rounds will proceed as follows:
Round 1: 2.5 minutes per batter.
Semifinals & Finals: 3 minutes per batter. Home runs hit during the final minute will stop the clock until the batter makes contact again.
The Northeast Delta Dental Eastern League All-Star Classic begins on Tuesday, July 11 at 5 p.m. with the Celebrity vs. Army Softball game. The Jordan's Furniture Tempur-Pedic Home Run Derby will begin at 6:30 p.m. First pitch of the Eastern League All-Star Game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday, July 12.
Tickets to the sporting event of the summer at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium are available at NHFisherCats.com/AllStar or by calling (603) 641-2005. For media requests or to apply for press credentials, please contact Tyler Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.