CLEVELAND — The 2019 Home Run Derby is set to take place on Monday evening, and the Indians have one of their own competing in it this year.
Seventh-seeded Carlos Santana will be representing Cleveland in his first ever Home Run Derby, facing second-seeded New York Met Pete Alonso in the first round. It's Santana’s first time competing in the Home Run Derby, and some former participants offered advice before he steps up to the plate.
Here’s their advice on how to win the Home Run Derby:
Make sure to breathe
Los Angeles Dodger Max Muncy made it to the semifinals of the 2018 MLB Home Run Derby before falling short to that year’s winner, Bryce Harper. Muncy said one of the biggest keys to success in the derby is remembering to breathe. “Make sure you breathe. Four minutes is a long time to be swinging a bat,” Muncy said. “Honestly, if you don’t give yourself a chance to breathe and kind of recover a little bit, you’re gonna be in trouble.”
Use your timeout wisely
Muncy’s teammate Cody Bellinger also advocated for resting when needed in order to maximize success in the derby. Like Muncy, Bellinger made it to the semifinals in 2017 before falling to that year’s winner, Aaron Judge. He said the timing is everything. “It’s pretty self-explanatory. Take a timeout when you’re tired. Don’t take a timeout when you’re rolling,” Bellinger said.
Get past the nerves and just have fun
One of the most important pieces of advice came from Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, who participated in the 2017 MLB Home Run Derby. “Just have fun, man, it's a great experience,” Moustakas said. “It’s something that you dream about as a kid, being able to a Home Run Derby.” Moustakas said the key to relaxing is to ignore the spectators and to get that first contact. “Everyone’s watching you, and all eyes are on you,” Moustakas said. “Once you get past the first swing and you can make some contact, then you just have a good time after that."
Know your teammates are rooting for you
Even though they haven’t been in a Home Run Derby, Santana’s teammates Francisco Lindor and Shane Bieber are pulling for him to win it all. “We’re really excited to watch him go out there and put on a show for the hometown crowd and for us,” Bieber said. Lindor, of course, had to have some fun and give some straight-to-the-point advice for Santana. “Don’t mess up,” Lindor joked.
It’s all love between the Tribe players, though.
“Have fun brother,” Lindor said before giving his opinion on how Santana will do. “He’s at home— he’ll be fine.”