MLB announces changes to 2024 Home Run Derby rules and format

Past participants complained the Derby pace was tiring and risked injury

Major League Baseball announced changes to the 2024 All-Star Home Run Derby on Sunday. The event will be held on July 15 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

The rule changes are being instituted because players who have participated in the past expressed concern that the pace of the event moved too quickly, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

Within each of the competition's three timed rounds, players will see a maximum of 40 pitches. Since the Derby changed to a timed format in 2015, batters and their chosen pitchers have raced through as many swings as possible. As Olney points out, each contestant averaged more than 43 swings per round in last year's event.

Some of the players who took part in previous Derbys complained about how tiring the competition was and feared that a pace much faster and more frantic than typical batting practice risked injury.

This year, the time limit for each round will stay the same, with three minutes for each of the first two rounds and two minutes for the finals. However, if a batter earns bonus time by hitting at least two homers of 440 feet or more, that will no longer be timed. He can also earn a fourth out by hitting a 425-foot homer during bonus time. That could allow a batter to keep hitting home runs until he finishes ahead of his opponent.

Under the previous rules, hitters received 30 seconds of bonus time at the end of each round and could add an extra 30 seconds.

The format of the Derby will also change, going from a head-to-head bracket to the top four first-round scores advancing to the semifinals. Ties will be broken by the longest home run hit in the first round.

The entire eight-player field in the 2024 Home Run Derby has not yet been announced, but MLB said Sunday that Baltimore Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson will be included. The third-year sensation has 26 homers, tied with Shohei Ohtani for the second-most in MLB behind Aaron Judge.

"This will be my first competitive one ever, so I'm just looking to be competitive out there," Henderson told ESPN, via "... But yeah, as long as I can put up some competitive rounds, then I'll be happy."

Henderson first revealed the news while mic'd up in the field for the "Sunday Night Baseball" broadcast with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Pérez.

Last year, the Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. won the All-Star slugfest.