We’re geared up for a classic in the derby tonight, with some of the league’s best going head to head. And also Albert Pujols. In all seriousness though the legend has earned his right to get here with his career even if it is just for the spectacle. So take your complaints elsewhere.
@KeepTheJuice21 Home Run Derby Preview
2022 MLB Home Run Derby
Getting on to the real contenders though, I think we’re looking at this derby in tiers. Naturally we’ll start with the first tier – Pete Alonso and Kyle Schwarber. Alonso is the deserved favorite, the young slugger leads the league in RBIs and sits at 5th in the league in home runs with 24. He’s got incredible power and he excels in this competition. He’s won the last two derbies and could be the first to ever make it 3 in a row. If there’s someone who can challenge the throne though, it’s Kyle Schwarber. The former Cub is having a renaissance season and hitting for power like he hasn’t in a long time. With 29 home runs on the season (2nd in the league) he’s on pace to smash his already impressive career high of 38 bombs. We know he can hit in the derby too, having taken Bryce Harper down to the wire in 2018 but coming in second in the end. I would be surprised not to see these two battling it out in the finale tonight.
In the second tier we take a big step down to the youngsters. Juan Soto, Julio Rodriguez and Ronald Acuna Jr, all under 25 share similar odds of winning this one – what I would call a shot in the dark. All 3 of these young stars are excellent players and definitely have the knockout power. I just wouldn’t put them in the same category as Schwarber and Alonso, not yet. Soto (and Schwarber for that matter) won’t find much of an advantage batting left handed as the Dodgers Stadium has identical dimensions to right and left field. Julio Ramirez has the best batting average of the group, which is meaningful but won’t afford him too much of an advantage in this group. None of the real competitors have trouble finding the ball this year.
Finally, in the third tier we have the real long odds, Jose Ramirez, Albert Pujols and Corey Seager. In fairness to Corey Seager, he probably belongs closer to the guys in the youngster tier but it doesn’t fit the narrative as well so here we are. Seager has had a great season so far with the Rangers and is top 10 in the league for home runs. He just doesn’t generate the same kind of power as the top guys so it’s hard to see him getting far tonight. Jose Ramirez is having a great season of his own, with 19 home runs and batting .288. But he’s never been in a derby and as good as he’s been, the home runs have slowed down a lot recently, only 6 in his last 160 at bats. Finally we have Albert Pujols, who at 42 is the oldest competitor in Derby history. He’s a legend and a must-watch because you just never know. But realistically with the new timed format, he’s pretty much aged out of this one.
As far as betting, the best value you’ll find tonight is on Schwarber. If you want to take a flyer on one of the young guys, I’d make it Juan Soto. He has such a consistent swing that if it starts going over the fence, he could just take the momentum to an upset. But it is a true flyer as there is a leap from Soto to Schwarber. Alonso at +200 isn’t the value I would want for what seems like about a toss-up. So take the big man to break up the sweep and get his first crown in a tight one.
Kyle Schwarber to win the Home Run Derby | +330 at Draft Kings
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