2019 Home Run Derby participants, bracket and why each slugger could win

Highlighted by an MVP on a 50-plus home run pace, a rookie with monster power, and the youngest to ever make the field, the eight contestants who will try to join recent Home Run Derby winners such as Bryce Harper (2018), Aaron Judge (2017) and Giancarlo Stanton (2016) have been revealed. The stakes are even higher this summer, as the champion will be rewarded with $1 million for the first time in All-Star history.

Here's what you need to know about the sluggers who will be swinging for the fences as part of the 2019 All-Star festivities in Cleveland.

Watch the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby live from Progressive Field: Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers (Note: Yelich pulled out of the Derby with a back issue on Sunday, being replaced by Matt Chapman of the Oakland Athletics.)

2019 home runs: 31 | Career total: 126 | Longest of '19: 462 feet

Why Yelich can win it: Well, he leads the major leagues in home runs, as he's the first National League player with 30 before the All-Star break since Albert Pujols in 2009. Also: He hits the ball hard, with only Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo owning a higher average exit velocity. That should translate well to the Home Run Derby, even if Yelich isn't a pure fly ball hitter like many other top sluggers.

Why we can't wait to see him in Cleveland: Proving his 2018 MVP award was no fluke, Yelich has gotten even better, solidifying his status as one of the best players in the game, with a chance to be the first back-to-back MVP in the National League since Pujols in 2008 and 2009. He's also the first reigning MVP winner to participate in the Home Run Derby since Pujols in 2009.

Did you know? The 2018 National League MVP had 29 homers entering July, fourth most by a reigning MVP before July 1, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. Yelich will be the 10th Brewers player to participate in the Derby, but he's looking to join Prince Fielder as the only winners. -- ESPN Stats & Information

Pete Alonso, New York Mets

2019 home runs: 28 | Career total: 28 | Longest of '19: 458 feet

Why Alonso can win it: Uhh, hello? Have you seen how far he hits the ball? He leads the majors with 20 home runs of 400-plus feet, including six of 440-plus. His pop flies can still leave the park.

Why we can't wait to see him in Cleveland: We love rookies, we love big guys and we love rookies who play in New York and hit massive home runs. Like Judge in 2017, Alonso has the opportunity to win over fans across the country with a victory in the Derby.

Did you know? Alonso already has set the Mets rookie record for home runs in a season, surpassing Darryl Strawberry's 26 in 1983. Alonso will be chasing Strawberry again at the Home Run Derby. Strawberry is the only Mets player to win the event, doing so in 1986. -- ESPN Stats & Information

Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates

2019 home runs: 26 | Career total: 67 | Longest of '19: 474 feet

Why Bell can win it: Uhh, hello? Have you seen how far he hits the ball? Bell's breakout season has been immortalized with a couple of home runs into the Allegheny River beyond the right-field stands at PNC Park -- he became just the fourth player in PNC history to reach the river on the fly. Those blasts registered 472 and 454 feet on the Statcast measuring stick, and he has hit three other home runs of 450-plus feet.

Why we can't wait to see him in Cleveland: Bell might have even more raw power than Alonso and could be the guy most capable of reaching the 500-foot threshold during the event. He's also an affable personality who deserves a moment in the spotlight on the national stage.

Did you know? Bell is the sixth Pirates player to participate in the Home Run Derby, and the bar hasn't been set too high for him. Despite sending MVP-caliber players such as Barry Bonds and Andrew McCutchen previously, no Pirates player has ever hit more than six home runs in a single Derby appearance, much less ever won the Derby. -- ESPN Stats & Information

Alex Bregman, Houston Astros

2019 home runs: 23 | Career total: 81 | Longest of '19: 440 feet

Why Bregman can win it: Because you know he wants to win the Derby. He participated last year and hit 15 home runs, although he lost his matchup to Kyle Schwarber, who hit 16. His quick, pull-heavy swing is suited well for the Derby even if he doesn't have the raw power of some of the other guys in the field. As his 23 home runs indicate, however, he doesn't have any issues reaching the seats when it counts, either.

Why we can't wait to see him in Cleveland: He's become one of the faces of the game, not just for his stellar play (he was fifth in the MVP voting last season), but for his personality and enthusiasm. As Astros manager AJ Hinch likes to say, nobody loves to play the game as much as Bregman. He's good for the Astros and good for the game.

Did you know? Bregman has hit 54 home runs over the past two seasons -- he has pulled 41 of them, seven went to center and only six went to the opposite field. The best Derby performance by an Astros player was Lance Berkman's runner-up finish in 2004.

Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers

2019 home runs: 20 | Career total: 107 | Longest of '19: 445 feet

Why Pederson can win it: He almost won as a rookie in 2015 in Cincinnati, beating Manny Machado and Albert Pujols before losing to Todd Frazier in the final, 15 to 14, in a controversial finish (Frazier's brother was clearly delivering pitches before the previous ball had landed, supposedly against the rules).

Why we can't wait to see him in Cleveland: Well, let's be honest: We'd prefer to have Dodgers teammate Cody Bellinger here instead of Pederson. Not that Pederson can't blast the long ball: He has hit 20 home runs even though he's a platoon player (all 20 of his home runs have come against right-handed pitching).

Did you know? Over the past two seasons, Pederson is 10th in the majors in slugging percentage against right-handed pitchers (.564 entering Wednesday's game). In isolated power, he's fifth behind only Mike Trout, Christian Yelich, Shohei Ohtani and Max Muncy. Pederson's runner-up finish in the 2015 Derby was the best by a Dodgers player.

Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves

2019 home runs: 20 | Career total: 46 | Longest of '19: 466 feet

Why Acuña can win it: Did you see the 437-foot laser he hit off Noah Syndergaard ... to the opposite field? Acuña's all-fields power has helped him develop into an elite masher at just 21 years old -- 12 of his 20 home runs have gone to center field or the opposite field -- and maybe that trait will help him win in Cleveland.

Why we can't wait to see him in Cleveland: He's a budding future MVP candidate, and his showmanship and enthusiasm make him one of the most exciting, dynamic players in the game. He's good and he knows it, and he's a good bet to put on a show.

Did you know? Acuña will try to do something no Braves player has ever done at the Home Run Derby: advance past the first round. Atlanta has sent a player to the Derby 11 times previously, and each one was eliminated in the first round. That's by far the most appearances without a player advancing, more than doubling up the Pirates and Padres (five each). -- ESPN Stats & Information

Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians

2019 home runs: 19 | Career total: 217 | Longest of '19: 447 feet

Why Santana can win it: He could ride the hometown support to the championship -- think Todd Frazier winning in Cincinnati in 2015 or Bryce Harper last year in Washington or even Justin Bour mashing 22 home runs at Marlins Park in 2017 (although he lost to Judge, who hit 23). The energy of the fans always seems to help with a little extra adrenaline.

Why we can't wait to see him in Cleveland: He has long been an underrated player because of on-base ability and he's having a terrific bounce-back season in his return to Cleveland, making his first All-Star Game. It's always fun to have a hometown rep for the fans to cheer on.

Did you know? Santana will become the first Indians player to participate in the Home Run Derby since Grady Sizemore in 2008, and he's looking to become the first Indians player to win it. -- ESPN Stats & Information

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays

2019 home runs: 8 | Career total: 8 | Longest of '19: 451 feet

Why Guerrero can win it: He hasn't come roaring out of the gate in his rookie season, but check out the distances on his home runs: 451, 438, 436, 434, 424, 407, 395, 382. The raw power is there, and his batting-practice sessions are legendary.

Why we can't wait to see him in Cleveland: The much-hyped rookie is already a household name, so this contest is made to promote a player like him. Plus, there isn't much reason to watch the Blue Jays this season, so this might be the only opportunity some fans will have to see him other than in highlights.

Did you know? Guerrero's eight home runs are the fewest career homers by any Home Run Derby participant since the event began in 1985. (Kris Bryant had 12 career HRs in 2015 when he participated, the current low.) Vlad Sr. won the event in 2007, and the Guerreros will join the Fielders (Cecil and Prince) as the only father-son duos to compete in the Derby. Vlad Jr. is also trying to bring home a title for Toronto. The Blue Jays have sent 15 participants to the Derby (second all time) but have never won. -- ESPN Stats & Information