The All-Star break has been reached and before we get the Mid-summer classic, we must have the Home Run Derby, which has become even more exciting that the All-star game itself. The Event will take place at Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark, has a start time of 8:00 PM (Est) and will be televised on ESPN. Lets look at the first round matchups and each players Odds to win the 2015 Home Run Derby.
Before we get to the matchups, let's take a quick look at the rules changes. There are just 8 participants in this year's Derby and the guys will compete in a bracket style tournament to determine the winner. Instead of getting a certain number of outs the participants will now have 5 minutes to hit as many homers as they can. The Clock will start with the first pitch and will stop immediately after a home run is hit in the last minute and will not begin again until a non-home run ball lands or the batter swings and misses. Contestants will receive an additional minute of swings if they hit two home runs projected to land 420 feet during a single turn, as well as another 30 seconds if they hit a blast of at least 475 feet. The seedings for the players have been determined by how many homers they have hit by July 7th. Info gathered from MLB.com
(1) Albert Pujols (+350) vs (8) Kris Bryant (+550): This will be Pujols' fourth time competing in the Home Run Derby and he has reached the semifinals 3 times, but has never won the event. Pujols is swinging a hot bat this year and has 26 homers on the year so far, which leads the American League. Half of his 26 HRs have come on the road and he has 8 HRs in the last 28 days. Kris Bryant is a rising star in MLB and has hit 12 homers, with 65 of them coming in the last 28 days, but just 3 of his homers have been hit away from Wrigley. Believe me he is just getting started in his career and will hit many more dingers, but I just can't see him taking out Albert in this one.
(4) Joc Pederson (+550) vs (5) Manny Machado (+800): This is an interesting matchup that pits Rookie Joc Pederson, vs Manny Machado who has been know as mostly a doubles hitter in his career. He does have power, but just hasn't displayed a whole lot of it till this year as he has 19 homers o far, compared to 12, 14 and 7 the last 3 years. Joc Pederson has 20 homers on the year so far, but got 16 of them in May and June and has yet to hit one in July. He has just 3 homers in the last 28 days, while Manny has 8 over that span. Let's also note that just 8 of Manny's HRs have come on the road, while 11 of Joc's have come on the road. I will call for Joc to move on here as I feel his power will come back, while Manny will be hitting doubles.
The Winners of the matchups above will take on each other in the next round and I will look for Albert Pujols to move on. I just feel he has the better power and once he gets into a solid rhythm he will take out the upstart Pederson.
(3) Josh Donaldson (+600) vs (6) Anthony Rizzo (+600): This should be a good matchup and could have the closest result. Josh Donaldson is a solid power hitter for the B;ue Jays, which are the top scoring team in the league. Playing in a hitter friendly park sure has helped him as he already has 21 HRs after posting 29 last year and 24 in 2013 as a member of the A's. Still Josh has hit just 4 homers in the last 28 days and just 7 of his 21 homers where hit on the road this year. After hitting 32 homers last year, Anthony Rizzo has 16 thus far, as he has become a solid power hitter for the Cubs. He has hit just 5 homers in the last 28 days, but 11 of his 16 dingers have come away from home this year. I will call for Rizzo to take this one in what should be an exciting matchup.
(2) Todd Frazier (+400) vs (7) Prince Fielder (+550): Prince fielder has won this event twice, but i don't really see a third one in the cards for him. At least not this year. Prince comes in with just 14 Hrs on the year and that is a bit surprising as nearly half of his games this year has been played in hitter friendly Globe life Stadium. Even more disturbing is the fact that 8 of his 14 HRs have come on the road. He has also hit just 4 homers in the last 28 days. He is not the same home run hitter that he once was and he is at a disadvantage in this matchup as Todd Frazier will be hitting in his home park, where he has hit 15 of his 25 HRs this year. He has 7 homers in his last 28 days and is looking to redeem himself after just falling short of winning the Derby last year. I say they he will move on in this matchup.
In the next round I will expect Todd Frazier to beat Anthony Rizzo. Todd should get into a nice rhythm in his own park and take a step closer to winning the Home Run Derby.
That sets up a Todd Frazier vs Albert Pujols final. I am going to call for the upset here. This is Todd's home park and I feel he will really feed off of the crowd. Albert does have 71 games of experience in this park, but he has only played 3 games here since 2011, while Frazier has much more experience in this park (282 career games). Albert has 20 in this park, while Frazier as 59. The home town boy will take this one.
Some Info Gathered From MLB.com & Bleacher Report
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