Tonight’s 29th Annual Home Run Derby features the best power hitters from both leagues battling for the title (Monday 8pm ET on ESPN). What does a pitcher’s ballpark mean for the HR Derby? In short, absolutely nothing.
Despite some of the biggest names choosing to sit this one out, the Home Run Derby will still feature some of baseball’s top bombers. Miami Marlins’ OF Giancarlo Stanton is the favorite at odds of 11/4 with Bovada (that sportsbooks’ odds for this can be found via their MLB Props section). This shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise considering that only the short swinging Troy Tulowitzki (7/1) has more home runs of this year’s field of 10.
Also with eye-catching odds are Toronto Blue Jays star Jose Bautista (pictured) at 5/1, last year’s winner and Oakland Athletics outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes (9/2) and LA Dodgers power-hitting spark plug, Yasiel Puig (5-1). Somewhat surprisingly, although as I mentioned the short swing could hurt him in this particular ballpark, Colorado Rockies infielder Tulowitzi is as long as 7/1.
Here’s an interesting betting tip: the favorite almost never wins the Home Run Derby. In fact in each of the past five derbies the winner has been somewhat of a surprise, regular season and career home runs considering.
So with that, I’m going to put my money on Joey Bats himself, Jose Bautista (5-1 with Bovada Sportsbook). My betting pick Bautista enters the derby with 17 home runs on the year but more importantly enters as the only guy other than the defending champ with derby experience.
Bautista finished second in his last attempt and unlike the rest of these guys, again Cespedes notwithstanding, knows how to do well (20 HR in 2012 final) and how to do not so well (four HR total in 2011, eliminated after first round). That experience will bode well and so will his swing, a long, powerful one capable of sending balls out to even the deepest dimensions at Target Field.