Olympians Erika Piancastelli, Adrian Gonzalez, Stefania Aradillas to participate in MLB's Home Run Derby X

Olympians Erika Piancastelli, Adrian Gonzalez, Stefania Aradillas to participate in MLB's Home Run Derby X
The new baseball format, launched to attract a new audience to baseball, will reach London, Seoul and Mexico City.

Olympians Erika Piancastelli (Italy), Adrian Gonzalez (Mexico) and Stefania Aradillas (Mexico) are three of many international baseball and softball stars involved in Home Run Derby X, the new baseball format that Major League Baseball (MLB) launched to attract a new audience to baseball.

MLB Home Run Derby X will debut at the Crystal Palace Park in London, England, on 9 July and reach Seoul, Korea, on 17 September and Mexico City on 15 October.

Inspired by the success of the Home Run Derby the day before the MLB All-Star Game, Home Run Derby X is played on a reduced version of a baseball field, with a home plate mounted on a stage and the pitcher's mound on a podium. The field of play is adaptable and designed to fit within a variety of environments.

The teams competing will represent four of Major League Baseball's most historic clubs: the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.

In each game, points are available for both offence and defence. Each batter has one at-bat of 25 pitches and will swing for the fences while two opponents patrol the outfield. A home run scores one point for the offence, while a catch scores one point for the defence. Additional ways to score, inspired by video games, include Target Hits in the infield and beyond the fence. Each batter also has a Hot Streak, five consecutive pitches where home runs and target hits count double, as well as a catch for the defence.

The four teams will compete in a bracket-style competition at each event. The leaderboard will determine seedings for the final event knock-out stage.

Teams will consist of four categories of players: MLB Legend, Superstar, Rookie and Wild Card.

Legends are MLB icons, while Superstars are the best talent from women's softball or women's baseball. Wild Cards are influential content creators, and Rookies are from the baseball development system. Content creators will embark on an intensive training programme.

Home Run Derby X won't be limited to big hits and epic catches. Each event will feature live music, baseball-inspired activities, ballpark food, fashion and gaming.

Erika Piancastelli, the star hitter on the Italian women's softball National Team, will be the Superstar of the New York Yankees.

"I'm so excited to be a part of Home Run Derby X and wear a Yankees jersey," Piancastelli told the WBSC. "I have always been a Yankees fan, and now that I get to represent them on the biggest stage, it's a dream come true. I'm excited to see the game grow worldwide & to show everyone that women can compete too."

Stefania Aradillas, who played for the Mexican softball National Team at the Tokyo 2020 Games, will be the Superstar for the Dodgers at the Mexico City event.

The other Superstars are former USA U-19 National Team catcher Paige Halstead (Boston Red Sox), the 2019 women's baseball Pan Am Games MVP Alex Hugo (Chicago Cubs) and USA women's baseball National Team member Ashton Lansdell (Los Angeles Dodgers).

Adrian Gonzalez, who hit 317 home runs during his stellar MLB career, is the Legend for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He represented Mexico at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

"I think Home Run Derby X is a great way to bring more eyes to baseball on a worldwide level, and it will feel great to represent the Dodgers organization in these events. I'm looking forward to meeting baseball fans in different parts of the world," commented Gonzalez.

The other MLB Legends are Jonny Gomes, a 2013 World Series winner (Boston Red Sox), former MLB Rookie of the Year Geovany Soto (Chicago Cubs) and 2009 World Series winner Nick Swisher (New York Yankees).

The Wild Cards are British professional football freestyler Liv Cooke (Boston Red Sox), British best selling author Spencer Owen (Chicago Cubs), Korean Olympic short track speed skater Yoongy Kwak (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Mexican Olympic gymnast Daniel Corral (New York Yankees).