Major League Baseball and the Players Association are stressing thinking outside the box when it comes to salvaging the 2020 season, and Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner took that homework assignment to heart.
On Wednesday, Turner suggested the league should replace extra innings following the 10th frame with a Home Run Derby to decide the winner. While Turner didn't provide all the details - like who would pitch - the veteran says he wants each team's three best hitters to bat with five outs. The winning team would be the club that hits the most home runs. His inspiration for the idea comes from the NHL's shootout.
With no games to worry about, we decided to dig deeper into Turner's idea, ranking each team based on its strongest three-man lineup. Here are the results:
1. New York Yankees
An absurd amount of power, as this trio has bashed 523 home runs in 1,930 career games. Judge and Stanton have each won the Home Run Derby, and Gleyber Torres could also fill in after going deep 38 times last year.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Pederson is the seasoned vet of the derby, blasting 60 bombs in two rounds of the 2019 event. Although Max Muncy hit more home runs than Turner in 2019, JT is the Dodgers' third man up since this is his idea.
3. Minnesota Twins
The 2019 Twins set MLB's all-time single-season home run record, and they've since added Josh Donaldson. No one would want to go into extras against the Bomba Squad.
4. Los Angeles Angels
Trout bashed a career-high 45 homers last season, while Ohtani hit 18 dingers in only 384 at-bats coming off Tommy John surgery.
5. Cincinnati Reds
Suarez is one of the game's most under-appreciated sluggers, going deep 83 times over the last two campaigns. Aquino burst onto the scene last year, hitting 19 long balls in just 205 at-bats as a rookie.
6. Houston Astros
Trash can and buzzer jokes aside, the Astros are one of the premier power-hitting clubs in the majors. The trio above went deep 177 times over the past two seasons.
7. Chicago Cubs
Derby experience could help the Cubs in extra innings. Bryant and Baez are both past participants, while Schwarber was a finalist who briefly held the record for most homers in a single derby. This group would strike fear into opponents with the game on the line.
8. New York Mets
Alonso's monstrous performance in Cleveland last year gives the Mets a huge leg up in this competition. Cano is also a former derby winner.
9. Oakland Athletics
Chapman, Olson, and Semien form one of the most lethal power trios in baseball. The A's could be the dark horses.
10. Atlanta Braves
|Ronald Acuna Jr.||41|
The Braves' 249 homers ranked fourth in the NL last year, and Atlanta would threaten to be a force in this event. You just know Acuna would enjoy this stage.
11. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox signed Encarnacion to add significant power over the winter, and he could pay huge dividends in extra innings. Jimenez also possesses the kind of swing that will play well in a derby.
12. Cleveland Indians
Were the Indians thinking of this format when they traded for Franmil Reyes last July? Probably not. But "The Franimal" and his Herculean power would give them a distinct advantage in this competition. Being able to rely on three 30-plus-homer bats would also help.
13. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are dealing with several pitching issues, but their offense can still bash with the best. Both Bogaerts and Devers are coming off career-best homer years.
14. Colorado Rockies
Dealing with the Rockies in a power contest is always scary. At home, these three enjoy a distinct advantage, and you don't want to mess with Colorado's power even on the road.
15. Texas Rangers
Gallo's presence gives Texas a boost, but overall the group is lacking, even with a 30-homer man in Odor. Maybe former derby champ Todd Frazier is the answer here.
16. Philadelphia Phillies
Harper, the 2018 derby winner, leads this solid trio. The raw power numbers are there for Philadelphia, but it's questionable whether a catcher would have enough energy left to be useful in this format.
17. St. Louis Cardinals
It gets dark fast for the Cardinals after Goldschmidt and DeJong. O'Neill could be a sneaky-good weapon though, as despite last year's low total, he reached the 30-homer plateau in the minors and has displayed his potential light-tower power.
18. Milwaukee Brewers
Yelich being on their side certainly boosts the Brewers' chances, and Hiura will lend a hand as a good young power hitter. However, that third spot, where Garcia narrowly sits over Ryan Braun, could spell problems for this crew.
19. Arizona Diamondbacks
This is a formidable derby arsenal, but these three also comprise the majority of the D-Backs' power. Only two other Arizona hitters (Christian Walker and Starling Marte) surpassed the 20-homer mark in 2019.
20. Toronto Blue Jays
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Vlad Jr. is built for this format, but he'll be doing a lot of the work for his team. There's power in the Blue Jays' lineup beyond him, but it's inconsistent.
21. Kansas City Royals
Soler was the AL's home run leader in 2019. The problem? He accounted for 29.6% of the Royals' round-trippers. Perez went deep 27 times in each of the previous two campaigns before missing 2019.
22. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays' offense is known more for being pesky than bashing big, but adding Renfroe gives them a legit power threat. Diaz has shown signs of major pop despite only hitting 15 homers in 167 major-league games.
23. Washington Nationals
Soto is a legitimate superstar, but the Nationals lost so much power after Rendon's departure. Still, adding Thames will lead to some jaw-dropping bombs.
24. Baltimore Orioles
Nunez emerged as one of the breakout power hitters last season, going from eight homers in 73 games in 2018 to 31 in 2019. Davis twice led the majors in homers (2013 and 2015), but he only managed 12 last season. Still, it's batting practice, so could he carve out a second life as baseball's version of Jussi Jokinen?
25. San Diego Padres
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The Padres could be much better than this ranking if Tatis continues to build off a stellar rookie year when the 20-year-old hit 22 home runs in just 84 games. The real question mark is the third spot, where Myers slots in with his former 30-homer bat.
26. Seattle Mariners
Vogelbach is built like a mercenary on your local softball team, and he reached the top deck of T-Mobile Park last year. Seager still shows a lot of pop, homering 23 times in less than 400 at-bats last season. The Mariners' lineup goes south after that.
27. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates' chances in this contest would lie with Bell, a former derby competitor, and the team's only real power threat. If he's not in top form, it's lights out for the Bucs.
28. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers hit the fewest home runs in the AL last season by a large margin, clubbing 149, well behind the Rangers' 162. Cron and Schoop were added in the offseason and should help, but this is a very unsexy Home Run Derby team.
29. San Francisco Giants
No Giants player hit more than 21 deep flies last season. For comparison, Barry Bonds hit his 22nd home run in his 40th game of the 2001 campaign. Can San Francisco bring Barry back?
30. Miami Marlins
Maybe Derek Jeter really removed the home run sculpture because the Marlins lack power?