Breaking down the chances of each of the 8 Home Run Derby participants

The MLB Home Run Derby is held annually as a preview to the All-Star Game, but because of this year's run-scoring renaissance, the 2017 edition will have special significance.

Broadly speaking, the past decade in baseball has been dominated by pitching, pitching and more pitching. But for whatever reason — and many havebeen suggested baseballs have flown out of the park with increasing regularity the last few seasons.

This year's Home Run Derby is an opportunity to reflect on how much baseball has changed the last few years.

This year's Derby will feature eight players, seeded based on home run total and other factors, competing in a single-elimination, bracket-style tournament. Each player will have four minutes per round to hit as many home runs as possible, but can gain more time for hitting two home runs over 440 feet. Competitors are allowed to take one timeout per round, and any ties will be broken via a one-minute swing-off.

Below is a look at this year's crop of Home Run Derby participants, as well as some key stats and the case to win for each one (stats are through the games of July 6).

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The chances of each 2017 Home Run Derby participant
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The chances of each 2017 Home Run Derby participant

Giancarlo Stanton -- Right fielder, Miami Marlins

Seed: No. 1

2017 HR: 23

Career HR: 231

ISO (Isolated Power = extra bases per at bat): .273

Why he can win: Because we've seen him win before, essentially. One year after outgunning runner-up Todd Frazier in San Diego, Stanton will look to defend his title in front of a hometown crowd at Marlins Park. The 2017 season hasn't been his best campaign, but he's still a ludicrously talented power hitter with a career slugging percentage of .539.

(Photo by Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Aaron Judge -- Right fielder, New York Yankees

Seed: No. 2

2017 HR: 29

Career HR: 33

ISO: .366

Why he can win: Judge leads the American League in home runs, RBI, walks, runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, making his rookie season one of the best in recent memory. He's also been responsible for the top four hardest-hit homers of this season, and he already holds the Yankees team record for most home runs by a first-year player. He may not be the top seed, but he'll still enter as the odds-on favorite.

(Photo by Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Cody Bellinger -- First baseman, Los Angeles Dodgers

Seed: No. 3

2017 HR: 24

Career HR: 24

ISO: .355

Why he can win: The son of former major leaguer Clay Bellinger, Cody Bellinger has enjoyed a terrific rookie campaign of his own, slugging .613 for the Dodgers. The Arizona native was called up in late April and wasted no time making up for lost plate appearances. He now leads the National League in home runs, and while his barrage of power has relented a bit since the calendar turned to July, his whip-like swing is still plenty dangerous.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Mike Moustakas -- Third baseman, Kansas City Royals

Seed: No. 4

2017 HR: 25

Career HR: 106

ISO: .295

Why he can win: The man they call Moose has already topped his previous career high in home runs and was a big part of getting the Royals back into contention after a 7-16 start to the season. His plate discipline has regressed to pre-breakout levels, but that shouldn't be much of an issue at the Derby.

(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Miguel Sano -- Third baseman, Minnesota Twins

Seed: No. 5

2017 HR: 20

Career HR: 63

ISO: .263

Why he can win: One of the best young power hitters in the game, Sano has returned to his slugging ways after a down season in 2016. With a 140 OPS+, the Dominican has been the top offensive player in a slumping Twins lineup, earning his first career All-Star berth in the process. He also leads the league in strikeouts, so it's a good thing he gets to choose his own pitcher for the Derby.

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Charlie Blackmon -- Center fielder, Colorado Rockies

Seed: No. 6

2017 HR: 18

Career HR: 92

ISO: .257

Why he can win: Blackmon has transformed into one of the most complete players in the National League, and that includes hitting for power. With 18 dingers, the Georgia native is already well on his way to topping his career high of 29, and he leads the 50-38 Rockies in OPS+. But keep in mind that he plays half his games in Coors Field, meaning his stats are somewhat inflated.

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Justin Bour -- First baseman, Miami Marlins

Seed: No. 7

2017 HR: 19

Career HR: 58

ISO: .265

Why he can win: This Virginia native has shown some legitimate power in his career, but he's still a somewhat curious choice for the Home Run Derby, especially with teammate Giancarlo Stanton already there to appease the local fans. Still, with his slugging percentage sitting above .500 for nearly two months now, Bour shouldn't be viewed as mere first round fodder. It's already been a career year for him.

(Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)

Gary Sanchez -- Catcher, New York Yankees

Seed: No. 8

2017 HR: 13

Career HR: 33

ISO: .229

Why he can win: Limited to just 54 games this year, Sanchez's power numbers are relatively slight: 13 home runs and 40 RBI. Still, his run of 11 home runs in his first 21 games of last season serves as definitive proof that this catcher can smack a bunch of round-trippers in a hurry. He's since been eclipsed by another Yankees youngster, but 10 months ago, people would have been drooling over Sanchez's inclusion in the Derby.

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

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