The Home Run Derby is supposed to be one of the thrilling shows of uncooked energy in baseball. Dingers right here, dingers there, dingers all over the place! And ever because the competitors’s rebrand in 2015, it’s been an unimaginable spectacle watching a few of the greatest bats in MLB do their darndest to hit mammoth tanks each time they swing. That mentioned, is it simply me, or is that this yr’s derby somewhat lackluster?
I don’t have this sense due to the shortage of huge names. Juan Soto is my favourite participant within the league proper now. Jose Ramírez is a blast to observe, and who isn’t a fan of The Machine? My downside is that this yr’s derby feels somewhat predictable. Although no participant has ever gained three consecutive derbies earlier than, Pete Alonso appears like a shoo-in for the finals. The opposite half of the finals appears a bit extra up within the air, however Kyle Schwarber ought to waltz into a gathering with Alonso fairly simply. How do I do know this? Look no additional than previous derbies.
Alonso clearly dominated his competitors every of the previous two seasons, and the final time Schwarber competed, he took 2018 champion, Bryce Harper, right down to the wire. Everybody else on this yr’s tourney has both by no means participated, by no means gone very far, or is 42-year-old Albert Pujols. You can make a case for Acuña as having previous success in 2019, however he solely survived one spherical towards Josh Bell earlier than getting bounced by Alonso, with out Alonso even having to make use of the earned bonus time. Additionally, you would inform Acuña was burnt out by the point he completed his second spherical. He doesn’t have the endurance it takes to be a Residence Run Derby champion. The identical factor occurred to Soto in 2021. Certain, there’s an opportunity that Ramírez or Corey Seager may break by way of and win all of it, however the odds of any person taking down two-time reigning champion Pete Alonso appear fairly slim.
The betting odds mirror my issues. Unsurprisingly, Alonso has one of the best odds at +215. Schwarber is the following closest at +320. Then, the chances take a large leap to +600 for each Soto and Ronald Acuña Jr. Ramírez (+1500) has virtually the identical odds as Pujols (+1600). They’re just about being given zero probability.
So, if I needed to wager on anybody to win the derby aside from Alonso and Schwarber, I’d most likely go for Soto. Gamers with easy, textbook, picturesque swings are likely to do properly. In any case, the participant with arguably the prettiest swing of all time, Ken Griffey Jr., is the one participant to win three Residence Run Derby championships. He gained in 1994 after which back-to-back in ‘98 and ‘99. Robinson Canó can be a former derby champ. He had a ravishing swing and that picture of him nonetheless in stride watching his profitable dwelling run go away Chase Discipline is eternally etched into my mind.
That mentioned, the easy nature through which Schwarber and Alonso swat balls 450 ft is simply too exhausting to go up. Sure, the derby is thought for bringing myriad surprises (who of their proper thoughts had Trey Mancini reaching the finals final yr?!), however Alonso has proven that uncooked energy reigns supreme within the contest of mashing, and no person within the area this yr can stand as much as both Alonso or Schwarber in that regard.