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Royals SS Bobby Witt Jr. named to MLB’s Home Run Derby after making 1st All-Star team

Royals SS Bobby Witt Jr. named to MLB's Home Run Derby after making 1st All-Star team

Bobby Witt Jr. will be active at next week's MLB All-Star festivities.

On Sunday, the 24-year-old Kansas City Royals shortstop was named to his first All-Star team. On Monday, MLB announced that he will participate in the Home Run Derby. Witt joins a field that includes Baltimore Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson, New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm, Atlanta Braves designated hitter Marcell Ozuna, and Cleveland Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez.

Two more participants will be announced to fill out the eight-man field with the event slated to take place in one week on July 15.

The No. 2 pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Witt is experiencing a breakout in his third MLB season. Through 92 games, he is slashing .324/.372/.564 with 15 home runs, 61 RBI and 22 stolen bases. He leads the AL in hits (119) and doubles (25).

Bobby Witt Jr. is an All-Star and a Home Run Derby participant. (Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Witt is one of four Royals players to make the All-Star team, alongside pitchers Seth Lugo and Cole Ragans and catcher Salvador Perez. The 49-43 Royals are in third in the AL Central and 1.5 games back in the race for the AL's final wild-card berth.

This year's Home Run Derby format has been tweaked amid concerns that the fast pace of previous events induced injury risk. The first two rounds will maintain their time limit of three minutes, but batters will be capped at 40 swings. Swings were previously unlimited, encouraging batters to get in as many as they could in the three-minute timeframe. That format produced an average of more than 43 swings per round in 2023.

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