Bryce Harper says that won’t be the case for him.
Harper told The Washington Post that he’s a go for the Home Run Derby provided he’s named a National League All-Star ahead of the July 17 game at his home Nationals Park.
“So count me in for the Derby if and only if I make the team,” Harper told the Post via text message. “But if I do I will be a participant in the 2018 HR Derby.”
Harper should be a shoo-in to make the NL team. In the latest fan voting, he’s second among outfielders, trailing only Atlanta’s Nick Markakis. The top three will be starters.
The 25-year-old Harper has competed in only one Home Run Derby previously, in 2013. He indicated during the 2017 All-Star break that he would compete in the 2018 showcase event in Washington, but he then hedged on that earlier this week before confirming his commitment.
Harper is hitting just .213 this season, but his 19 home runs lead the NL.