By Mike McCormick
It's a good thing Giancarlo Stanton thrives under pressure, because the expectations are high for Monday night's T-Mobile Home Run Derby (8 p.m. ET on ESPN).
The Miami Marlins' massive slugger will defend his Derby crown, facing a loaded field that includes 6-foot-7, 30-home run rookie monster Aaron Judge. Stanton will need to do it all encumbered with the thought that his home crowd expects nothing less than another thunderous victory.
In All-Star Game Home Run Derby history, dating back to 1985, 19 players have swung for the fences in their home ballparks, and only two have won the title: the Cubs' Ryne Sandberg at Wrigley Field in 1990 and the Reds' Todd Frazier at Great American Ball Park in 2015. This year, Stanton and teammate Justin Bour have the chance to add their names to the list.
In addition to walking in as the reigning champ, Stanton will also be the only competitor who has previously been in a Home Run Derby, so he knows what to expect. "You've just got to keep pace," he told MLB.com's Doug Miller. "You can have a bad minute or 30 seconds and still come back, so the best strategy is just to have smooth and controlled swings."
This marks the fifth straight year there has been a player from the All-Star host team in the Derby, but it's the first time in 25 years that there are two. In 1992, Padres sluggers Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff participated, but they finished in third and seventh place, respectively.
Also at stake for Stanton: He's attempting to become just the third back-to-back winner, which would place him in the company of only Ken Griffey Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes. After setting the single-Derby record with 61 long balls last year, a similar big night would earn Stanton the career lead in HRD blasts, which stands at 92. (Stanton's career total entering 2017 was 67.)
With the home crowd behind them, these are the top five host team Home Run Derby performers that Stanton and Bour will try to outshine on Monday:
1. Todd Frazier, Reds, 2015
Won finals over Joc Pederson, 15-14
2. Ryne Sandberg, Cubs, 1990
Won with 3 home runs
3. Lance Berkman, Astros, 2004
Lost in finals to Miguel Tejada, 5-4
4. Ivan Rodriguez, Tigers, 2005
Lost in finals to Bobby Abreu, 11-5
5. Vinny Castilla, Rockies, 1998
Advanced to second round with 12 total home runs
Tune in tonight to see if Stanton or Bour can make Miami proud.
Mike McCormick is an editorial director for MLB.com and contributor to Sports on Earth.