Baseball is trying to reach a new audience and the Pioneer League is experimenting with an extra innings home run derby.
Let’s say that Major League Baseball implemented the new rule that the Pioneer League is experimenting with, getting rid of extra innings and instead going to a home run derby. There are no signs that this is under consideration. Let me make that clear.
But let’s pretend that it was something that MLB implemented. The St. Louis Cardinals, as currently constructed, would be among the teams most ideally suited should baseball ever go to something like this.
The press release said: “Each team designates a hitter who receives five pitches, with the game determined by the most home runs hit. If still tied after the first “Knockout” round, another hitter is selected for a sudden-death home run face-off.”
Imagine Nolan Arenado, one of the most prolific home run hitters of this era, leading the Cardinals in the home run derby. He has hit at least 37 home runs in each 162-game season since 2015. He has hit at least 41 home runs three times in that span. His slugging percentage in his nine-year career is .539 which is, uh, pretty good.
And if Arenado isn’t able to get the job done, the Cardinals could turn to Paul Goldschmidt. Now, he isn’t the power hitter that Arenado is. But he has hit 33 or more homers in four out of the last 162-game seasons and like Arenado, has a slugging percentage over .500.
The Arenado-Goldschmidt combination is not something many teams could compete with, and why the Cardinals would be ideally suited if MLB ever goes to something like this. The initial response to it has not been kind, but I support the idea and appreciate the innovative thinking. And the Cardinals, who have two of the most prolific power hitters in the game, would likely agree.