We’ve reached the MLB All-Star Break and the Home Run Derby is set to take place Monday, July 8 at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
MLB Home Run Derby Monday Night Odds
Home Run Derby Winner
- Josh Bell (+300)
- Pete Alonso (+400)
- Vlad Guerrero Jr. (+400)
- Matt Chapman (+800)
- Joc Pederson (+800)
- Alex Bregman (+900)
- Carlos Santana (+1000)
- Ronald Acuna Jr. (+1100)
Home Run Derby Winner
- Josh Bell (+400)
- Pete Alonso (+500)
- Vlad Guerrero Jr. (+500)
- Joc Pederson (+750)
- Matt Chapman (+850)
- Alex Bregman (+950)
- Carlos Santana (+950)
- Ronald Acuna Jr. (+950)
Home Run Derby Format
The HR Derby is played in a head-to-head format with players facing off in a single-elimination, eight-man bracket. Each batter gets five minutes to hit as many HRs as possible and are awarded 30 seconds of bonus time for hitting at least two HRs over 440 feet.
The higher seed (determined by HR totals this season) gets to hit second. Each player gets a timeout in each of the first two rounds and two timeouts in the final round. Pitchers are supposed to wait until the previous ball lands before serving up the next pitch, but that’s been a source of contention in the 2015 and 2018 contests.
This year, the Derby has the largest prize pool for players. It is also expected to see its most action ever in the biggest sports betting market to date.
Now, allow us to go over the dimensions of Progressive Field. There is a 19-foot wall in left field that makes it tough for RHB to clear the fences with line drives. The LF and RF field fences are only 325 feet from home plate, while the CF fence is an average 405 feet away. It is 370 feet to the fences in left CF and 375 feet to the right CF fences, where the wall is lower.
Progressive ranked an average 14th in HR Factor last season and has the tenth-highest HR Factor in the majors this season. Lefties see a 0.11% increase in HRs when hitting at Progressive over the last two seasons and righties saw a 0.6% decrease in HR Factor.
Check out the breakdown on TheLines.com for a list of the metrics on every participant.
Home Run Derby Matchups
No. 1 Matt Chapman vs. No. 8 Vlad Guerrero Jr.
The original top seed, Christian Yelich was scratched with a back injury and Matt Chapman will slot into that spot. That significantly increases the prospects of Vlad Guerrero Jr. since he won’t have to face the reigning MVP in the first round. Chapman is a great young player with a modest 19.4% HR/FB ratio and a .268 ISO Mark this season. Chapman is averaging a 93 MPH exit velocity for the second straight season and is a good line drive hitter, but not worthy of his status as the top seed.
Guerrero Jr. has had some legendary batting practice sessions this season and he could turn that into a reality at Progressive Field. The second-generation stud is capable of hitting some towering shots, but the sheer energy expended by his swing makes it difficult to make him to win it all in this format.
No. 4 Alex Bregman vs. No. 5 Joc Pederson
Joc Pederson, the runner up in 2015, has a heavy pull rate that should help him get into a rhythm at lefty-friendly Progressive Field. He ranks fifth in ISO Mark this season and can light it up when pitches are left in his sweet spot.
Alex Bregman has not hit a single opposite field HR this season and 41 of his 54 HRs over the last two seasons have gone to left field. His pull-heavy approach allowed him to slug 15 HRs in last year’s Derby, but his opponent Kyle Schwarber hit 16. Bregman could run into trouble with a slightly higher wall in LF at Progressive, which is why he has lower odds than most of the LHB in this contest. Yet with Yelich out, Bregman has a potential path to the finals and he’s one of the best value picks on the board.
No. 2 Pete Alonso vs. No. 7 Carlos Santana
Mets rookie Pete Alonso leads the majors with 20 homers of 400-plus feet and is third with a 31.5% HR/FB ratio. Alonso primarily flashes most of his power towards right center field and his launch angle is amongst the highest in the league. Yet while he’s a great in-game HR hitter, Alonso is not the strongest bet in this format. Aaron Judge became the only rookie to win the Derby in 2017 and Alonso doesn’t have the same type of effortless power. Instead, the hard-swinging RHB matches the velocity of opposing pitchers. That approach could exhaust him down the stretch in this format.
Alonso faces the obligatory hometown contestant in Carlos Santana. Hometown participants have shown well or won the Derby in recent years (Todd Frazier in 2015, Justin Bour in 2017, Bryce Harper in 2018). Santana has a 93 MPH average exit velocity this year, but is a true longshot to win this thing. The switch hitter should hit from the left side of the plate, where he’s slugged 15 of his 19 HRs this season.
No. 3 Josh Bell vs. No. 6 Ronald Acuna Jr.
Josh Bell has a 50.8 percent hard contact rate, an average exit velocity of 93.9 MPH, and is capable of launching several HRs over 450 feet in this contest. With an effortless power stroke, the switch-hitting Bell is the favorite to win the Derby for good reason.
Of course he’ll have to get past Ronald Acuna Jr. to become the first Pirates player to win a Derby. Acuna is a RHB with power to all fields and he’s hit far more fly balls to the opposite field this season. He’s posted a steady 21.2% HR/FB ratio over his two partial MLB seasons and is only 20 years old, so some nerves might in play for the Braves rising star. Acuna has a longer swing than most participants and that also contributes to his status as one of the the biggest underdogs to win the Derby.
Home Run Derby Best Bets
We’re leaning towards the favorite for any bets in the Derby since you’re still getting 3/1 odds on most books. Josh Bell is now the best option by far with Yelich bowing out.
If you’re looking for more of a longshot payout, Joc Pederson and even Alex Bregman (+1100 on DraftKings Sportsbook) carry some appeal for different reasons. Bregman is a fiery personality with motivation after last year’s close loss and Pederson has experience in this format.
With Bregman, Pederson, and Vlad Guerrero Jr. lurking on the other side of the bracket, Josh Bell (+400 on FanDuel Sportsbook) seems to have an easier route to the final.