Red Sox sluggers have very good reasons for wanting to skip 2018 Home Run Derby

When putting together the 2018 Home Run Derby field, Major League Baseball can skip right past the Boston Red Sox roster. Two of Boston’s and the American League’s best home run hitters this season, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, confirmed Wednesday they have no intention to participate in this year’s event.

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The Red Sox sluggers will join New York Yankees homer-hitting machine Aaron Judge on the sidelines. The 2017 Home Run Derby champion announced in March that he had no intentions of defending his crown. Judge reiterated his stance this week, stating there was “no need” to do another Home Run Derby.

Despite never having participated in MLB’s Home Run Derby before, Betts and Martinez aren’t all that motivated to get involved this year. Both were approached about the possibility this week and each  offered completely opposite but equally interesting explanations for their lack of interest.

Why is Betts skipping the Home Run Derby?

According to the Boston Globe, Betts doesn’t feel the Home Run Derby format fits his style.

“Hell no,” Betts said before Wednesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. “I don’t hit home runs in BP. Can you imagine me going against Aaron Judge?”

Betts said that not knowing Judge had already declined, but it doesn’t change his sentiment at all.

It’s been said that Ichiro Suzuki could hit a home run any time he wanted to in batting practice during his prime years. Apparently Betts is the opposite.

Of course, no player takes BP with the same urgency that’s required under MLB’s current Home Run Derby format. Batters are in a race against time to hit as many home runs as possible during the round’s allotted time limit. It’s strenuous. It’s draining. And for Betts, it’s clearly not all that appealing.

“I’m not that kind of hitter.”

Betts entered play on Wednesday with an MLB-leading 16 home runs on the season. That would obviously make him an appealing selection for the Home Run Derby, which this season will be held at Nationals Parks in Washington D.C. We can’t imagine the Red Sox are too disappointed to hear he’ll be a bystander.

17 PHOTOS
Mookie Betts through his career with the Red Sox
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Mookie Betts through his career with the Red Sox
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 28: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox takes the field before the start of a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 28, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 13: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox waits in the on deck circle during the game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 12: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox missing a catch, but keeps the ball from going over the fence, during the game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on May 12, 2015 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Red Sox 9-2. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 5: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians on opening day at Progressive Field on April 5, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 3: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox slaps hands with fans through the protective netting after scoring a run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning on June 3, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 01: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox bats against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 1, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 10: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox reacts to hitting a double during Game 3 of ALDS against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park on Monday, October 10, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 29: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox walks out of the clubhouse before a game against the Chicago Cubs on April 29, 2017 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 30: Andrew Benintendi #16, Jackie Bradley Jr. #19, and Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox celebrate a victory against the Chicago Cubs on April 30, 2017 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 16: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox bats in the seventh inning of game one of a doubelheader against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on July 16, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 17: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after hitting an RBI single during the seventh inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 17, 2017 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 7: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox is presented with the 2017 Gold Glove award before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 7, 2018 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 9: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox runs out onto the field before Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on Monday, October 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 13: Boston Red Sox player Mookie Betts gestures during Red Sox spring training at the Player Development Complex at Jet Blue Park in Fort Myers, FL on Feb. 13, 2018. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 07: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox makes contact against the Boston Red Sox in the sixth inning at Fenway Park, on April 7, 2018, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 2: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox is doused with Gatorade after hitting three home runs in a victory against the Kansas City Royals on May 2, 2018 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 02: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after hitting a solo home run during the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park on May 2, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
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Why is Martinez skipping the Home Run Derby?

It’s a little more personal for J.D. Martinez.

He’s still not over being passed over for the 2015 Home Run Derby in Cincinnati.

“MLB didn’t want me (in 2015). I figured I’d have the option of doing it and they said no. They had other guys they wanted, all these young guys,” Martinez said. “I was like, ‘Forget it. I’ll never do it.’ ”

Martinez had good reason to be disappointed. The then Detroit Tigers slugger had 25 home runs heading into the 2015 All-Star break. He finished the season with 38 homers, which was his career high until he hit 45 last season between Detroit and Arizona.

Martinez is capable of hitting home runs in bunches. He hit 29 over a 57-game span last season after being traded to Arizona. During that stretch, he became one of only 17 players in MLB history to hit four home runs in a single game. He’s already up to 15 this season, which is tied with two others for second most in MLB.

24 PHOTOS
J.D. Martinez through his career
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J.D. Martinez through his career
FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 26: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox reacts as he speaks during a press conference announcing his signing on February 26, 2018 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida . (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
KISSIMMEE, FL - FEBRUARY 24: J.D. Martinez #94 of the Houston Astros poses during Photo Day on Thursday, February 24, 2011 at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Florida. (Photo by Robert Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 05: J.D. Martinez #14 of the Houston Astros plays the field against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on September 5, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 13: J.D. Martinez #14 of the Houston Astros stands in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on June 13, 2012 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Houston Astros 10-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - JUNE 24: J.D. Martinez #14 of the Houston Astros motions upward as he crosses home plate after hitting a home run in the eighth at Minute Maid Park on June 24, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 15: J.D. Martinez #14 of the Houston Astros warms up in the on-deck circle against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on July 15, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Marwin Gonzalaez #9 scored on the play. The Giants won the game 3-2. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 7: J.D. Martinez #14 of the Houston Astros runs to first base after hitting the ball in the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark on July 7, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. The Texas Rangers defeated the Houston Astros 5-4. (Photo by John Williamson/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - APRIL 24: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a portrait prior to the game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park on April 24, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the White Sox 7-4. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
30 JUNE 2014: Detroit Tigers designated hitter J.D. Martinez (28) at bat during a regular season game between the Oakland Athletics and the Detroit Tigers played at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. The Detroit Tigers defeated the Oakland A's 5-4 on a walk off grand slam in the ninth inning. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 2: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Detroit Tigers reacts on the base paths after hitting a three-run home run during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 2, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Detroit Tigers warms up prior to the game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 19, 2015 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JULY 04: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Detroit Tigers takes a selfie with a United States Military Veteran during a pre-game ceremony to honor Independence Day prior to the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park on July 4, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Blue Jays 8-3. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JULY 21: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Detroit Tigers looks on from the dugout during the game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on July 21, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Mariners defeated the Tigers 11-9. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
August 22, 2015: Detroit Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) throws after a runner during the game on Saturday evening, Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Detroit Tigers in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 12, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Tigers defeated the Yankees 4-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 09: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Detroit Tigers gestures as he crosses home plate following a solo home run against the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning at Safeco Field on August 9, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JUNE 16: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Detroit Tigers heads out to the field before a MLB game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Comerica Park on June 16, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Rays 13-4. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)*** Local Caption *** J.D. Martinez
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 21: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Arizona Diamondbacks talks with media on July 21, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 19: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the Minnesota Twins on August 19, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Diamondbacks 5-0. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 06: Arizona Diamondbacks Right field J.D. Martinez (28) looks on during an MLB game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 6 2017 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with teammates after his game winning RBI single against the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning of MLB game at Chase Field on September 24, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Marlins 3-2. (Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 3: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Arizona Diamondbacks addresses the media prior to a postseason workout at Chase Field on October 3, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 4: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with teammates in the clubhouse after the Diamondbacks defeated the Colorado Rockies in the National League Wild Card at Chase Field on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 26: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox reacts as he puts on a hat and jersey during a press conference announcing his signing on February 26, 2018 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida . (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
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Again, that type of hitter definitely has Home Run Derby appeal. But Martinez’s arm won’t be twisted.

“I’m out,” Martinez concluded.

Who are other possible Home Run Derby candidates?

Bryce Harper went on record last season stating that he would participate in the Home Run Derby at Nationals Park. That’s one big name MLB should be able to count on.

Even without Aaron Judge, the Yankees have no shortage of candidates. Giancarlo Stanton won the event in San Diego in 2016. Gary Sanchez reached the semifinals last season after topping Stanton in the opening round. Didi Gregorius and perhaps even rookie Gleyber Torres could be worthy choices.

Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani would be fun additions too, with the latter seemingly being the more likely to agree. Manny Machado, Francisco Lindor, Joey Gallo and young Braves stars Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies are among the other appealing names.

There are definitely plenty of possibilities, but losing Judge, Betts and Martinez does damage the star power potential that often drives the Home Run Derby hype.

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