2013 Home Run Derby
Monday, July 15, 2013, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Citi Field – New York City, New York
Defending Champion: Prince Fielder
All odds courtesy of Boookmaker
Baseball takes it’s annual break for the All-star game and all the festivities that go with it, including the Home Run Derby. This year’s event takes place at Citi Field in New Nork, the home of the New York Mets. The ballpark opened in 2009 and was one of the most difficult parks to hit home runs. In 2012, the Mets moved the fences in. Citi Field gave up 111 home runs in 2011, which was the third least in MLB behind only Petco Park in San Diego and AT&T Park in San Francisco. Citi Field gave up 158 in 2012.
The most drastic change came in left field where the fences were moved to 371 feet in some places, a tempting target for right handed sluggers. Right field fences are 378 feet at the shortest point. In center the distance varies from 408 feet to 415 feet. Modeled after a combination of features from the old Ebbets Field and Shea Stadium, the outfield walls are staggered at irregular distances.
Here is a look at all 8 competitors in the Derby with their odds courtesy of Bookmaker.
Prince Fielder (+270)
The left handed first baseman from the Tigers has won this event twice, in St. Louis in 2009 and last year in Kansas City. In 2012, he became only the second player along with Ken Griffey, Jr. to win multiple Derbies. He is also the only player to win it in both leagues. He has 276 career home runs, but only 16 this season. His home run numbers dropped last year as he moved from the Brewers to the Tigers, but that is because Detroit’s Comerica Park is much harder to hit homers in than Milwaukee’s Miller Park. Fielder should be in contention again, despite not having won this event outside the state of Missouri.
Chris Davis (3/1)
The left handed first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles has become the talk of the first half. The slugger nicknamed Crush (a play on Kevin Costner’s character Crash Davis in the iconic baseball movie Bull Durham) has 37 home runs this season. He tied Reggie Jackson’s AL record for home runs before the All-Star break. Davis is on pace to hit 62 home runs which would break Roger Maris’s mark of 61. Davis considers that to be the true home run mark that isn’t tainted by PED usage like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, or Barry Bonds. Davis hit a home run in 4 straight games before the all-star break. He has never competed in this event before and it does take some time to adjust your swing. Even in batting practice, players aren’t trying to hit home runs for 10 or more straight swings. Davis will launch some 500 foot bombs tonight but I am not sure if he has the consistent swing to win the Derby.
Robinson Cano (4/1)
Cano, a left handed second baseman for the Yankees, won this event in 2011 in Arizona. He is the captain of the American League Derby team, as he was last year in Kansas City. He didn’t pick a member of the home team Royals for the squad and the fans in Kansas City booed him loudly. He never got into the groove and was eliminated in the first round. Even though Citi Field is the home of the rival Mets, there will be plenty of Yankee fans there so booing shouldn’t be an issue. Cano has 21 home runs this season for the injury plagued Yankees. Cano is my pick to win his second derby.
Bryce Harper (5/1)
Harper, a left handed outfielder for the Washington Nationals, is only 20 years old. He has 13 home runs this season but missed all of June with bursitis in his knee. This is his first MLB Home Run Derby but when he was in high school he once competed in a home run derby at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay and won hitting several Major league homers. His swing is perfect for a derby competition because he has a short, compact swing and fatigue won’t be as big an issue as it is for some of the heavier hitters who are trying to crush every ball.
Pedro Alvarez (5/1)
Alvarez, the left handed third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, is second in the National league with 24 homers. Alvarez was an injury replacement for the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez who leads the NL with 25 home runs, but pulled out of the derby with a finger injury. Few people outside of Pittsburgh have seen Alvarez hit for the resurgent Pirates, but he has one of the hardest swings in baseball and has great opposite field power. In a game at Wrigley Field last year, Alvarez crushed two homers onto Waveland Avenue, something lefties aren’t supposed to be able to do. Alvarez should put on a show and launch some bombs. However, his swing is so violent fatigue could an issue later in the night.
Yoenis Cespedes (11/2)
The right handed left fielder for the Oakland A’s was chosen after Miguel Cabrera chose not to compete in the Derby. He has 15 homers this season. Even though he wasn’t selected to the AL All-Star team Cano chose Cespedes. He has struggled a little in his second season, after a great rookie season. He is the only right handed batter on the AL team. Cespedes first home run in Oakland last year was 462 feet. In batting practice at the Oakland Coliseum, he regularly hits balls into the third deck or even the suites. Cespedes could be a semi-dark horse pick to win.
David Wright (19/2)
The right handed third baseman for the host Mets was named the captain of the NL Derby team. He only has 13 homers this season, and hasn’t competed in the derby since 2006 when he came in second. It was because of Wright’s power struggles at Citi that the Mets moved in the fences. Wright will have the supprt of the fans in his home stadium, but I am not sure if that will be enough for him to win or even advance out of the first round.
Michael Cuddyer (14/1)
Cuddyer, 34, is right handed and plays right field for he Colorado Rockies. He is the oldest competitor in the Derby. He has 16 home runs this season, but most came at home in the high altitude of Coors Field. Cuddyer is the long shot in field and could struggle to even make the second round.
It should be an exciting event and you should see lots of balls being launched into the New York night sky.
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