The Home Run Derby may not be the featured event during All-Star Weekend, but it is surely something that gets plenty of attention. Some of the biggest sluggers in MLB history have participated and won the event in past years. This year’s field isn’t super huge on name recognition but it does have plenty of pop.
Pirates slugger Josh Bell has been listed as the favorite as he has huge power. Even though Bell is not a huge name, the type of power he possesses could result in a big-time showing.
The pot for this year’s winner has been substantially increased to a cool $1 million, so clearly the participants will be giving it their all. There is a nice mixture of established stars and some new up-and-comers with serious power, so it will be interesting to see how everything shakes out.
The Home Run Derby will be held at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 8th, 2019. The derby will be nationally televised on ESPN.
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The eight-man field for the 2019 Home Run Derby features Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich, Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell, the New York Mets’ Pete Alonso, Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna, Cleveland’s Carlos Santana, Houston’s Alex Bregman and Los Angeles’ Joc Pederson.
Bell is the favorite at +265 odds, followed by Yelich at +425, Alonso and Guerrero at +450, Pederson at +900, Santana at +950, Bregman at +1150 and Avuna at +1300.
The rules have changed intermittently over the years but the current format has been in place since 2015. In the first round, players go head-to-head with one other batter and try to park as many balls into the seats in five minutes. The winners move on to the semifinals, and then the two sluggers remaining face off in the championship round. The batters are allowed to take a 45-second timeout in the middle of their round when they get tired.
Guerrero has only been in the major leagues for a couple of months but he has prodigious power and could be a factor immediately. Bell, Acuna and Alonso are also new on the scene, with Alonso and Bell serious bombers who will try to come away with the crown. Yelich is off to a great start this season with the Brewers and hopes to bring his elite talent into the Home Run Derby and turn it into a win.
Santana will have the home crowd behind him and he does have some power, but he may not be in the same tier as some of the others in this group. Bregman and Pederson were the final additions to the field. Pederson, in particular is someone to watch as he has the type of ability to get in a serious groove and put up big numbers.
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Guerrero, Jr. only has eight big league home runs to his name but he has huge power and a beautiful swing. The only worry may be fatigue as he must show he can hold up throughout every round. Guerrero does not seem to be affected by the moment, and look for him to burst onto the scene with a memorable showing to claim the Home Run Derby title.
Bell should also have a good showing but the odds on him are too steep. Guerrero is the choice to win the Home Run Derby in 2019.
MLB Pick: Vladimiar Guerrero, Jr. to win the Home Run Derby at +450 odd
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