All-Star HR Derby Odds
July 13, 2014
The Home Run Derby has always been a big draw for the MLB All-Star game, as one of the most exciting moments in a baseball game is put on display by some of the most powerful hitters in the game. Once again, the format for the derby has changed as they have moved to a bracket style where the top scores from the AL and NL in the first round will receive a bye into the semifinals. The captains this year are Jose Bautista for the American League and Troy Tulowitzki for the National League as they picked eight other great hitters to join them.
This year’s contest will have 10 players rather than the eight that participated last year, and the bracket will have AL on one side and NL on the other. Three players from each side will advance to the second round with the top score earning a bye into the semifinals. In the end, just one player from each league will remain as they battle it out in the final round. Another change this year will be that batters will receive just seven outs rather than 10.
Home Run Derby Notes
The AL has won at the derby in six of the past seven years as big boppers like Prince Fielder (2009, 2012), David Ortiz (2010), Robinson Cano (2012) and most recently Yoenis Cespedes (2013) all taking the crown. Cespedes’ win last year was the first by a right-handed hitter since Vladimir Guerrero did so in 2007, and the only chance at a lefty winning this year will be Justin Morneau, as all the other competitors are righties.
Target Field has been a tough place to hit home runs in and it ranks 20th among MLB stadiums this year in homers per game (1.63). One of the factors that could have attributed to this is the fact that the Twins do not have many power hitters, with Brian Dozier -- a Home Run Derby participant -- being the only player with double-digit blasts on the team, and the club ranking 25th in total four-baggers. With all these factors considered, the field should be thought of as neutral with no real advantage for either righties or lefties.
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GIANCARLO STANTON (+240), Marlins – Bats Right Stanton has some of the most unbelievable raw power that the sport has seen for a long time and he was an easy pick for captain Troy Tulowitzki as he is tied for fifth in the league with 21 monster homers. His large stature (6-foot-6, 240 pounds) and ability to get his hands through the zone at a tremendous speed make him the favorite in this contest.
Season Home Runs: 21
Career Home Runs: 138
Career at Target Field: 0 HR in 7 AB
YOENIS CESPEDES (+500), Athletics – Bats Right
Cespedes put on a show last year, winning the derby by eight homers over second-place finisher Bryce Harper. He does not necessarily have the same type of in-game power that others in this year’s contest have, but he has the ability load up his stocky 5-foot-10 frame and hit some very long shots. While he should provide some fireworks once again, his value is inflated by a surprise win last year and a repeat should not be expected.
Season Home Runs: 14
Career Home Runs: 63
Career at Target Field: 2 HR in 38 AB
JOSE BAUTISTA (+500), Blue Jays – Bats Right
The American League’s captain is probably the best bet on their side to take the crown on Monday night. While his batting average has fluctuated over the past five seasons, his power has not, as he has averaged a home run in every 15.7 plate appearances with an isolated power over .210 in each of the past five seasons. This will be Bautista's third derby, as he was the runner-up in 2012 and should be a solid bet to win it all this year.
Season Home Runs: 17
Career Home Runs: 228
Career at Target Field: 11 HR in 59 AB
YASIEL PUIG (+500), Dodgers – Bats Right
Puig has lit the league on fire since making his debut last season and many thought he was going to slow down in his sophomore year, but he was not going to let that happen. His home run total in 2014 is nothing out of this world, but his ISO (.212) is still well above the league average of .139 and his tendency for theatrics makes him perfect for this venue. His play and demeanor are very reminiscent of Bryce Harper last year, and it would be no surprise if he matched or did better than Harper’s runner-up performance.
Season Home Runs: 12
Career Home Runs: 31
Career at Target Field: 0 HR in 14 AB
TROY TULOWITZKI (+650), Rockies – Bats Right
Tulo has been one of the best slugging shortstops in recent memory and the only thing that has held him back are injuries. One worry that bettors should have is that 14 of his 21 home runs this year have come in the thin air of Coors Field. Overall in his career, he has hit 56% of his bombs at his home stadium and while his strong, compact approach is impressive, he does not seem to have the right swing to get past some of the other hitters in the field.
Season Home Runs: 21
Career Home Runs: 176
Career at Target Field: 1 HR in 10 AB
JOSH DONALDSON (+850), Athletics – Bats Right
Donaldson burst onto the scene last year with his 24 homers and has seemingly fell in love with the long ball as he is on pace to hit many more this season while sacrificing average. He has a long stride when attacking the ball, and his timing could be better than ever with consistent pitching coming from the soft tosses. Donaldson is a smart player and can adjust his swing as needed, so he should be considered a strong value play with the odds given.
Season Home Runs: 20
Career Home Runs: 54
Career at Target Field: 1 HR in 29 AB
ADAM JONES (+1200), Orioles – Bats Right
Jones is actually having his worst season in three years in terms of power with his ISO (.185) being the same as it was back in 2011 when he hit 25 dingers. Like Tulowitzki, Jones plays in a hitter’s park that has ranked in the top-eight in home runs per game in each of the past three seasons. The difference is that he hits homers everywhere and has actually split his 16 long balls this year between home and away. While Jones is still a long shot to win it all, he should be a better bet than the opposing captain.
Season Home Runs: 16
Career Home Runs: 156
Career at Target Field: 3 HR in 68 AB
TODD FRAZIER (+1200), Reds – Bats Right
With home runs in each of the past two games before the All-Star break, Frazier comes into this contest with some momentum. He has been consistently improving his power since becoming a professional and has put it all together this year while being just one away from his career high in taters. While his improvement is great, he has hit 14 of his 18 balls out of the park in the bandbox that is the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. With his limited experience in this situation and inflated numbers due to playing half of his games in Cincy, Frazier should be off the radar for bettors.
Season Home Runs: 18
Career Home Runs: 62
Career at Target Field: 0 AB
JUSTIN MORNEAU (+1200), Rockies – Bats Left
Morneau is a former winner at the derby back in 2008 and has gone through much turmoil since that time. Now, as a member of the Rockies, he has been able to resurrect his career and is hitting for his most power (.191 ISO) since 2010. The veteran was likely chosen due to his experience at Target Field, but in his 766 at-bats there, he hit a home run just once every 38.3 times up to the plate. He is the only lefty on the docket for Monday night, and that may give him a small leg up with it being shorter out in right field, but Morneau should not be expected to get too far in this competition.
Season Home Runs: 13
Career Home Runs: 234
Career at Target Field: 20 HR in 766 AB
BRIAN DOZIER (+1450), Twins – Bats Right Dozier is representing his home team on Monday night, as he has 10 more homers this season than anyone else on his club. He also has five more home runs than any other second baseman in the league thus far, and is coming off a two-homer game on Sunday. His momentum and home crowd could actually give Dozier a fighter's chance to get somewhere in this bracket-style derby. At his long odds, Dozier is worth a flier if you are feeling risky.
Season Home Runs: 18
Career Home Runs: 42
Career at Target Field: 23 HR in 611 AB
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