The Oakland A’s have just one lone rep for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game, despite being one of the best teams in the majors and currently in position to make their fourth straight postseason. But at least now that lone rep will play twice during next week’s festivities!
First baseman Matt Olson will participate in the Home Run Derby, he announced himself on Twitter. Olson had already been selected for his first career All-Star berth this summer, and now he’ll take part in his first Derby while he’s there. The event is scheduled for Monday, at Coors Field in Colorado.
The A’s slugger is an obvious choice for the annual power exhibition. His 20 homers are tied for ninth in the majors despite playing in one of the toughest home parks to go deep in, and his thump has been respected around the league since his 2017 breakout in which he slammed 24 dingers in 59 games.
With Olson on board, the 2021 field now includes the following six contestants, with two more spots yet to fill:
- Pete Alonso, NYM (2019 winner)
- Trey Mancini, BAL
- Shohei Ohtani, LAA
- Matt Olson, OAK
- Salvador Perez, KCR
- Trevor Story, COL
- open spot #7
- open spot #8
Absent for now are the Three Juniors (Vlad, Tatis, Acuña), the 21-homer club (Devers, Gallo, Semien), and some superstars who have previously won the Derby (Stanton 2016, Judge 2017, Harper 2018). Of those nine names, seven are already heading to the All-Star Game.
Matt Olson said assistant hitting coach Eric Martins will be his Home Run Derby pitcher #Athletics— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) July 6, 2021
Oakland has plenty of history at the HR Derby since its inception in 1985, including three wins. Mark McGwire took the 1992 competition, and Yoenis Cespedes won back-to-back editions in 2013-14. Cespedes is one of only two players (with Ken Griffey Jr) to notch victories in consecutive years, and one of only three (Griffey and Prince Fielder) to win multiple times at all. Most recently, Matt Chapman participated in 2019 but was knocked out in the first round by Vlad Guerrero Jr.
Here’s the full list of A’s over the years:
- 1986: Jose Canseco
- 1987: Mark McGwire (at Coliseum!)
- 1990: Jose Canseco
- 1990: Mark McGwire
- 1992: Mark McGwire (won!)
- 1994: Ruben Sierra
- 1996: Mark McGwire
- 1997: Mark McGwire
- 1999: John Jaha
- 2001: Jason Giambi
- 2013: Yoenis Cespedes (won!)
- 2014: Yoenis Cespedes (won!)
- 2014: Josh Donaldson
- 2019: Matt Chapman
- 2021: Matt Olson
Congrats to Oly on another exciting honor!