LEADING OFF: Home Run Derby; All-Star starting pitchers
A look at what's happening all around the major leagues Monday:
HOME RUN DERBY
The brackets are set, and baseball is ready to crown a new Home Run Derby winner under a new format for the popular event held the day before the All-Star game. Without two-time defending champion Yoenis Cespedes in the field, will Price Fielder win the competition a third time? Could Todd Frazier take the trophy in front of his hometown fans or will it be one of the All-Star rookies, Joc Pederson or Kris Bryant? This year, the players go head to head in an elimination-style tournament.
The All-Star Game's starting pitchers will be announced during a 1 p.m. EDT news conference in Cincinnati. In the NL, Zack Greinke of the Dodgers, Madison Bumgarner of the World Series champion Giants and Gerrit Cole of the Pirates appear to be the top contenders for the honor. For the American League, Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, Dallas Keuchel of the Astros and Chris Sale of the White Sox are the front-runners to throw the first pitch Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park.
AT THE BREAK
The major league batting average at the All-Star break was .253, according to STATS. It was .252 at the break last year, the lowest since 1972, the year before the American League adopted the designated hitter. Runs per team per game have dropped slightly, from 4.14 at the break last year to 4.10.