Teams set for home run derby

With just a couple days left before the staging of the 3rd Annual Don’t Blink Home Run Derby, Team Isaacs and Team Fox were revealed.

The electrifying event is set to get underway 12 noon tomorrow, January 4, at Montagu. This year, the event is dubbed the ‘Charles Johnson Foundation Don’t Blink Home Run Derby’, as the foundation of the former major leaguer has come on board.

Johnson is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) catcher and World Series Champion with the Florida Marlins, now the Miami Marlins. He helped the team win the World Series title in 1997, and has four consecutive Gold Glove Awards, from 1995-1998.

Captains of the teams and founders of the derby, Todd Isaacs Jr. and Lucius Fox, will also be donating proceeds from the event to benefit the Sister Sister Support Group, the Cancer Society of The Bahamas and funds will also go toward Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. Bahamians Isaacs and Fox are both in the minor leagues – Isaacs in the Colorado Rockies farm system and Fox with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The defending team champion of the home run derby is Team Isaacs.

With the first pick in the derby draft, Fox selected Bahamian and Arizona Diamondbacks’ minor leaguer centerfielder Kristian Robinson. He played in Class A (full) for the Kane County Cougars in the Midwest League and Class A (short) for the Hillsboro Hops in the Northwest League this past season.

The power-hitter finished with 14 home runs and 51 runs batted in (RBIs) in 69 games last season. His batting average was .282 and he had a slugging percentage of .514.

Robinson almost won the individual category of the derby last year.

“Speaking to him, he really impressed me with how serious he is taking this competition,” Fox said about his first pick. “The previous two years he fell short and now he has taken it to heart and he says he is going to come and win this competition this year and I can’t pass him up with my first pick.”

With Robinson off the board, Isaacs selected American Will Benson, a lefty right fielder in the Cleveland Indians organization, with his first pick.

Benson knows how to hit a home run, hitting 22 of them last season. He hit 18 of them playing for the Lake County Captains in the Midwest League to finish fifth in that league in home runs.

His batting average was .230 and his slugging percentage was .454.

“Last year he hit a number of balls over 400 feet so I expect him to repeat that again this year. I feel he is going to come down and he has a chance at winning this… he is going to get things going for us,” Isaacs said.

Fox drafted American Ronnie Dawson of the Houston Astros’ organization and Bahamian Chavez Young of the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization with his second and third picks respectively.

Dawson played in the minors and finished with 17 home runs this past season – all with the Corpus Christi Hooks in the Texas League on the Double-A level. He also played Triple-A ball for the Round Rock Express in the Pacific Coast League.

Young played Class A Advanced with the Dunedin Blue Jays in the Florida State League. He finished the year with six home runs and a batting percentage of .247.

Isaacs drafted American second baseman Shed Long and Bahamian shortstop Jasrado ‘Jazz’ Chisholm second and third respectively.

Long played in both the minor and major leagues last season. He had five home runs for the Seattle Mariners in the majors where he played in 42 games. He finished with a batting average of .263 and a slugging percentage of .454.

Chisholm played on the Double-A level in the Miami Marlins organization and finished with 21 home runs, a batting average of .220 and a slugging percentage of .441.

Rounding out Team Fox’s draft picks were Nick Gordon (Minnesota Twins), Isan Diaz (Marlins), Lewis Brinson (Marlins), Josh Palacios (Blue Jays), Bahamian Keithron Moss (Texas Rangers), Braxton Davidson (Atlanta Braves), Bahamian D’Shawn Knowles (Los Angeles Angels), Bahamian D’Vaughn Knowles (New York Yankees), Buddy Reed (Oakland Athletics), Bahamian Warren Saunders (New York Mets) and Ian Lewis (Marlins).

The other picks for Team Isaacs were Jeremiah Jackson (Angels), Christian Koss (Rockies), Bahamian Trent Deveaux (Angels), Monte Harrison (Marlins), Daniel ‘Jet’ Johnson (Indians), Bahamian Zion Bannister (Rangers), Bahamian ‘Big’ James Rolle (Baltimore Orioles), Bahamian Anfernee Seymour (Marlins), Everette Cooper (Houston Astros), Bahamian Dax Stubbs (Orioles) and Bahamian D’Vonn Mackey (Athletics).

Fox and Isaacs teamed up with the Major League Baseball (MLB) Play Ball Initiative to help with its annual kids camp set for this morning at the Paradise Island Harbour.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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