Christian Yelich currently leads the league in home runs with 31.

By Jenna West
July 05, 2019

Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich knows a thing or two about hitting moonshots, and he's not concerned over the Home Run Derby affecting his swing in the second half of the season.

"Basically, Home Run Derby is batting practice," Yelich told reporters on Thursday, per ESPN. "It's just trying to hit home runs with every swing. I'm not worried in the slightest about a swing change or it ruining my swing. Anybody that's educated in the manner understands it's going to be just fine.

"It's batting practice. Each round is four minutes. How much damage can you do to your swing in four minutes? It's 12 total minutes if you go all the way."

Yelich, the reigning National League MVP is certainly educated on the topic, considering he leads Major League Baseball in home runs with 31. Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger sits right behind him with 30.

Yelich is the No. 1 seed in the Home Run Derby and will face off against Blue Jays rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the first round. The Toronto third baseman has only hit eight homers since making his major league debut in late April, but he's predicted to become one of the best young players in baseball.

Other Derby first-round matchups include Pete Alonso vs. Carlos Santana, Josh Bell vs. Ronald Acuna Jr. and Alex Bregman vs. Joc Pederson. This year's winner receives a $1 million prize. 

"Whether the second half goes good or bad for me, [participating in the Home Run Derby] will have no bearing on it," Yelich said. "If this was such a dangerous thing to do for your performance, guys wouldn't do it."

He told the Journal Sentinel that former Marlins coach Pat Shine will pitch to him in the Derby. Yelich promised Shine, who has previously pitched to Giancarlo Stanton in the event, during his days with Miami that the coach could do it if he ever reached the Derby.

When asked if he's worried about the event having a negative impact on Yelich's swing, Brewers skipper Craig Counsell called the notion a "myth."

"It's a myth. That's what it is. These are great athletes doing this," Counsell said, per the Journal Sentinel. "Christian knows what he’s doing. I think the format has improved, too. Tweaks to the format have made it better. I'm not worried about that at all."

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IN
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Birdie (-1)
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Double Bogey (+2)