Movie quote of the day:
“I love your sweater. Does that come in a V-neck?”
– David, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” (2005)
I’ve always enjoyed watching the MLB Home Run Derby ever since I was a kid. In my excitement this year, I decided to post my Home Run Derby predictions to this blog for the first time ever. For the record, I correctly predicted that Giancarlo Stanton would win the Home Run Derby last year, the proof is below from my own Twitter account:
I actually put a lot of effort into these picks. I looked up the different distances of the wall at Marlins Park – the site of the Home Run Derby – and looked up each participant’s bat hand, home run scatter chart, and average home run distance. I actually feel better about my picks this year than I did last year after all my research.
1. Giancarlo Stanton vs. 8. Gary Sanchez
Both of these players are right-handed batters, and will have the benefit of the shorter side of the Marlins Park wall (344 feet down the left-field line, and just 386 feet at left-center field) because of it. However, very few players in the league can match Giancarlo Stanton’s power – which is crucial in order to succeed in the Home Run Derby – and I don’t think Gary Sanchez is one of them. With the Home Run Derby at Stanton’s home field and the crowd on his side, I think he’ll want to put on a good show for the Miami fans.
4. Mike Moustakas vs. 5. Miguel Sano
Honestly, I can see this matchup going either way. Miguel Sano is a right-handed batter and will have the benefit of the Marlins Park wall being shorter on his side, but Mike Moustakas is a left-handed batter and really likes to hug the wall right-field line – 13 of his 25 home runs were down the right-field line – and the wall on the right-field line at Marlins Park is just 335 feet. It’s easy to go with Moustakas though because of that, and the fact that he has more home runs than Sano this season. However, I’m going to go with Sano because his average home run distance is 412.7 feet, whereas Moustakas’s is only 395.1 – which is the shortest of all participants.
3. Cody Bellinger vs. 6. Charlie Blackmon
Both of these players bat left-handed, so they’ll get a lot of help with the short 335-foot right-field line wall at Marlins Park – which really benefits Cody Bellinger since 13 of his 25 home runs have come down the right-field line. I originally picked Bellinger to win this matchup, but it’s hard for me to pick against Charlie Blackmon after I saw his stats. Blackmon’s home runs have been more scattered than Bellinger’s this season, and he has more power than I expected – his average home run distance is 402.1 feet. That may be because the thin air in Colorado helps the ball carry, but I still have to go with Blackmon because he’s one of my favorite players.
2. Aaron Judge vs. 7. Justin Bour
Even though this is Justin Bour’s home field, I have to go with Aaron Judge. His numbers are ridiculous this season – 30 home runs and an average home run distance of 414.1 feet. He’s been one of the league’s best power hitters this season. Nothing against Bour, but I expect Judge to take care of business in the first round.
1. Giancarlo Stanton vs. 5. Miguel Sano
Miguel Sano might be able to give Giancarlo Stanton a run for his money in the semifinals. He has plenty of power – his average home run distance is longer than Stanton’s by almost six feet this season. However, I imagine Stanton will still be trying to put on a good show for the Miami crowd and I expect him to advance to the Home Run Derby finals for a second-consecutive year.
2. Aaron Judge vs. 6. Charlie Blackmon
As much as I love Charlie Blackmon as a player, Aaron Judge is the easy pick here. Judge has too much power. He should make short work of Blackmon.
1. Giancarlo Stanton vs. 2. Aaron Judge
I pray that this is the matchup we get tonight. It would be one for the ages. Both players are two of the best power hitters in the league. They’re also both right-handed hitters and will have that short left-field wall on their side. I think it would be one of the most entertaining Home Run Derby finals in years. As incredible of a season Aaron Judge has had so far, I can’t bring myself to pick against Giancarlo Stanton on his home field. I mean, come on, did you see Stanton’s Home Run Derby performance last year in a pitcher-friendly park? He hit 61 home runs that totaled a distance of 27,187 feet (5.15 miles). His power is almost unparalleled in the MLB, which makes him the perfect candidate to win the Home Run Derby.
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Shane Price – @priceisright53