Anyone who tells you betting on things like the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby is for squares, kindly show them the winners of the past six derbies and their odds.
David Ortiz, who won the 2010 Home Run Derby, had the highest price tag of those six sluggers, set at +300 before sending 32 total big flys over the wall at Angel Stadium.
Vlad Guerrero (+600) won in 2007, Justin Morneau (+550) in 2008, Prince Fielder (+500) in 2009, Ortiz (+300) in 2010, Robinson Cano (+900) in 2011, and Fielder (+600) again last summer. That group has helped “square” bettors get through the All-Star break with some healthy paydays.
Sure, the limits may be low on Home Run Derby odds but the people complaining about that are the same ones who bitch and moan about the long-ball exhibition each July. To them we say, relax, put your feet up, throw down $20 and enjoy the best power hitters in baseball.
Here’s a look at this year’s MLB Home Run Derby odds:
Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers (+400)
The defending home run champ has 16 round trippers on the year, one less than at the break last season, including three this month. Fielder won in 2009 but sat out the 2010 contest and managed only nine HRs in 2011.
Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles (+400)
The MLB home run leader has 37 long balls at the break, bringing a four-game HR streak into the derby. Being the biggest bat in the derby hasn’t always panned out. Jose Bautista led the majors in HRs at the break the past two years and couldn't translate that into a derby title.
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals (+500)
These odds could be based more on Harper’s popularity as a player than his actual chances of winning the derby, but he did have a two-HR game at Citi Field earlier this season. Harper has 13 dingers on the year in limited action.
Robinson Cano, New York Yankees (+500)
Cano was the 2011 derby winner and has swatted 21 wayward pitches over the fence this season. He was captain of the AL squad last year and posted a goose egg, getting an earful from the Kauffman Stadium crowd, who didn’t take kindly to his snubbing of Royals slugger Billy Butler when picking the team.
Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland A’s (+600)
The A’s young outfielder was one of the last men named to the derby roster. He has 15 home runs heading into the derby and hasn’t touched ‘em all since a two-HR performance at Seattle on June 21. Cespedes is only the fourth derby participant to not make the All-Star cut.
Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates (+600)
Alvarez is a replacement for Carlos Gonzalez, who bowed out with injuries. Baseball fans were pissed when the Bucs' bomber was excluded from the original derby roster, so Alvarez could have added motivation to put on a show after the initial snub. He has 24 home runs at the break - second most in the NL - and has a feel for Citi Field, having launched a dinger during the Pirates' three-game set in New York back in May.
David Wright, New York Mets (+1,000)
The NL team captain has the home field advantage at Citi Field but has hit only three of his total 13 home runs in front of the Big Apple faithful. Wright put on a solid show in 2006, totaling 22 HRs to finish second. But that was a long, long time ago.
Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies (+900)
Fans hissed when Wright added the aging Cuddyer to the NL roster. The 12-year veteran has 16 bombs, four more than he had at the break last season, however, nine of those homers have come at Coors Field. He’s on pace for his best season since hitting 32 in 2009 but should worry more about derby messing with his swing and .330 BA, which ranks third in the NL.
Odds courtesy of CarbonSports.ag.