David Ortiz is ready to win the 2010 Home Run Derby:
"That's what I do for a living -- hit bombs," Ortiz said Monday. "It's fun to watch, but it's fun to be in, too."
Ortiz would know--he has participated in three Home Run Derbies before: 2004, 2005, and 2006. And while he's never won one before, he's put up some big numbers, including a 17 homer round one in 2005.
The worry with all Derby participants is that swinging for the fences so often will somehow mess up the player's swing, ruining him for the second half. Red Sox fans need not worry, though, because Ortiz seems to just get better. A .954 OPS before the break in 2004, 1.021 after. .981 OPS before in 2005, 1.024 after. .997 before the break in 2006, and 1.121 after.
The reason? He's hitting more homers. Only in 2006 did Ortiz' batting average rise after the break, but in every year his home run rate rose along with his overall production. Because that's how Big Papi's game works. Swing for the fences, hit some bombs, and make the opposition walk you if they don't want to risk the long ball. And so long as the Sox have a hitter like Kevin Youkilis behind him (instead of, say, Niuman Romero), they won't have any problem with that.
So swing away, Papi, and hit some bombs. Because as you said, that's your job.