After the Yankees and Red Sox are done Sunday night, Major League Baseball heads into its annual All-Star break. Festivities kick off at Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City Monday night with
baseball's version of slow-pitch softball, the home-run derby.
This year New York's Robinson Cano, the defending derby
champion, and the Dodgers' Matt Kemp selected three players from their leagues
to join them in the derby. Cano chose Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, Prince
Fielder of the Tigers and Mark Trumbo of the Angels, while Kemp went with
Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals, Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies and Giancarlo
Stanton of the Marlins.
But Stanton backed out because of a knee injury and was
replaced by Andrew McCutchen of the NL Central-leading Pirates.
Bookmaker is offering the best home run-derby betting odds that
we could find, with prices on everything from who will win it to who will hit
the longest dinger.
Bautista, who was eliminated in the first round last year,
is the favorite to win Monday's HR derby at Bookmaker at +350. Bautista has hit
97 homers the last two seasons, and he's tied for the ML lead so far this year
Fielder, who won the derby three years ago at Busch Stadium as
a member of the Brewers and got to the second round last year, is the second
choice on Bookmaker's home-run derby board at +400. Prince has been a little
slow with the homers so far this year, with 14, but there's little doubt as to
his ability to pop multiple balls out of the park.
Cano, who won the derby last year by hitting 32 balls out of
Chase Field, is the third pick on the board at +450. The lefty-swinging
second-baseman has hit 25, 28 and 29 home runs the last three seasons, and
already has 20 this year.
Derby first-timer Beltran, making his first return to
Kaufmann Stadium since getting traded from the Royals eight years ago, comes
next at +550. Beltran hit 22 homers last year, but already has 20 this season.
Trumbo, a derby rookie, and Kemp, who got knocked out in the
first round last year, are both getting +600 to win the derby Monday night.
Trumbo has 21 homers already this season, after hitting 29 last year, while
Kemp, after a great start to this season, has spent the last five-plus weeks on
the disabled list with a bad hamstring.
And Gonzalez, also a derby rookie who's hit 17 dingers this
season, is getting +650.
On another of Bookmaker's home-run derby boards Bautista is
a +325 favorite to hit the most homers in the first round. He's followed by
Cano at +420, Fielder at +425, Beltran at +500, Kemp and Trumbo at +550 and
Gonzo at +600.
Bookmaker is also chalking Bautista and Fielder at +325 to
hit the longest home run during the first round of competition Monday night.
Trumbo comes next on that board at +385, followed by Beltran, Gonzalez, Kemp
and Cano all at +500.
Finally, Bookmaker is listing a price of -155 on an American
League player winning the derby, while bettors can get +125 on a National
Leaguer coming away with the title.
Over at BetOnline Bautista and Cano are co-favorites to win
the derby at +400. Fielder is priced at +400, Kemp and Trumbo at +600 and
Beltran and Gonzalez are both getting +800.
There is no exact science to handicapping the home-run
derby, at least not that we know of. So instead, we'll leave you with a few
factual titbits that might help discern Monday night's champion.
For what it's worth left-handed hitters have won the last
four home-run derbies, and 13 of the last 16.
Kaufmann Stadium is symmetrical, at 330 feet down the lines,
375 to the power alleys and 400 to dead center field. So there wouldn't appear
to be any advantage or disadvantage for right-handed hitters vs. lefties.
Finally, according to the forecast for Monday night in KC
the wind should be blowing in on the hitters from center field at about 10 MPH.
Free MLB Home-Run
No player has won
back-to-back derbies since Ken Griffey, Jr. did it in 1998-99, so we'll toss
Cano out of consideration. Bautista is the favorite, but we don't like his
price. The guy we like is Fielder, who takes vicious cuts and is being offered
at a decent price. So we'll go with Prince to win a second home-run derby