MLB Home Run Derby predictions: Who’s going to win the slugfest in Cleveland?

CLEVELAND — Monday night's Home Run Derby will be without MLB's leading home run hitter in Christian Yelich – who pulled out with a back injury – but the showcase event at Progressive Field features some of the game's brightest young stars, who figure to put on quite a show.

"I’m sorry if anybody was let down but I hope to be apart of it again at some point in the future," Yelich tweeted on Sunday night.

As Yelich's replacement, Oakland's Matt Chapman is the new No. 1 seed in the bracket-style competition. In the first round he'll meet Blue Jays phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is looking to follow in his father's footsteps. Guerrero Sr., a Hall of Famer, won the 2007 Derby in San Francisco.

First round matchups:

  • (1) Matt Chapman vs. (8) Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
  • (4) Alex Bregman vs. (5) Joc Pederson
  • (2) Pete Alonso vs. (7) Carlos Santana
  • (3) Josh Bell vs. (6) Ronald Acuña Jr.

The Chapman-Guerrero winner faces the Bregman-Pederson winner, while Alonso or Santana will go up against Bell or Acuña in the semifinals.

Here's the USA TODAY Sports baseball staff's picks for Monday night:

Bob Nightengale: Josh Bell (Pirates)

Gabe Lacques: Carlos Santana (Indians)

Jesse Yomtov: Pete Alonso (Mets)

Scott Boeck: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays)

Bobby Nightengale: Josh Bell 

Steve Gardner: Pete Alonso

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