Over the years, the structure and format of the MLB Home Run Derby have changed quite a bit, but at the end of the day, there is one goal that remains the same, hit as many homers as possible. This year's field will feature some familiar faces for the event, like Pete Alonso, Vlad Guerrero Jr, and Julio Rodriguez, along with some new faces like Luis Robert Jr. and Adolis Garcia.
With plenty of ways to bet on the derby, we’ll look at my best bets for the first-round matchups, prop bets, and outright winner.
Mookie Betts Distance of Longest Home Run Under 459.5 Feet (-115): Despite being one of the league leaders in home runs this season, Betts was not a name I was expecting to enter the field. The Dodgers outfielder has 26 home runs this season, the furthest being a 426-foot shot. In his career, the furthest homer he’s hit traveled 452 feet back in 2018, so of his 239 career homers, only one has even come close to 460 feet.
Total Swing-Offs Over .5 (+115): Over the last three derbies, there has been at least one swing-off, and I don’t see that streak being broken tonight. I think the two most likely matchups are Luis Robert vs. Adley Rutschman and Pete Alonso vs. Julio Rodriguez. The past two swing-offs have been between 1 vs. 8 matchups, but I could also see Alonso and Rodriguez having big first rounds that lead to a swing-off.
Luis Robert Jr. vs. Adley Rutschman Over 37.5 Total Home Runs Hit in 1st Round (-110): Over the past two derbies, only one first round has gone under this number. Robert Jr. has had the home run stroke working this season, and with a pull percentage of 41.2%, I think he can pull his weight here. On the other side, Rutschman will have his dad throwing to him, and if there is one person who knows exactly where his sweet spot is, it would be his dad.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Hit the Most First-Round Home Runs (+280): Back in 2019, which was the first and only time Guerrero Jr. competed in this event, he put on an absolute show by having 29 first-round home runs and 91 in total. Since he has experience in the contest and has shown he has the rhythm needed for the event, I think he comes out tonight and tries to steal the show early.
Adolis Garcia (-145) over Randy Arozarena: In terms of odds, this is the closest matchup in the derby. Both players are competing in the event for the first time, and while they both have pop, I think Garcia is more suited for this event. The Rangers slugger has a higher pull percentage this season and in his career, which makes a difference in this event. Also, in terms of expected home runs by the ballpark, Arozarena has 18 at T-Mobile Park this season, while Garcia has 29.
Pete Alonso (-170) over Julio Rodriguez: In the history of the home run derby, only three players have ever won the event in front of their home crowd, and I don’t see it becoming four by the end of the night. Rodriguez put on a show in the event last year, but a ton of pressure comes with doing it in front of a home crowd. Meanwhile, Alonso has a ton of experience in this event and has advanced to the second round in all three years he competed.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Make the Final (+190): The path for Guerrero Jr. to make the finals seems very possible. The slugger has an ideal matchup in round one with first-timer Mookie Betts, and then he gets to take on the winner of Alonso vs. Rodriguez, arguably the most exciting first-round matchup. If he matches up with Alonso in the second round, I think we could see him turn it on a bit since the Mets first baseman edged him out in the finals in 2019.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Win (+370): At the end of the day, I think the Blue Jays slugger will add a new trophy to his trophy case. The left side of the bracket features four guys who have never competed in the event, and while that leaves room for a big surprise, I think running into Guerrero Jr. in the final round is the worst-case scenario.
Guerrero Jr. has better average exit velocity (94.3 MPH) and max exit velocity 116.7 MPH) than all four hitters on the left side of the bracket, so even if he’s tired, I trust him to come out on top.
*All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook *All plays are .5 Unit plays unless noted otherwise
Mookie Betts Distance of Longest Home Run Under 459.5 Feet (-115) (1 Unit)
Total Swing-Offs Over .5 (+115)
Luis Robert Jr. vs. Adley Rutschman Over 37.5 Total Home Runs Hit in 1st Round (-110)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Hit the Most First-Round Home Runs (+280)
Adolis Garcia (-145) over Randy Arozarena (1 Unit)
Pete Alonso (-170) over Julio Rodriguez (1 Unit)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Make the Final (+190)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Win (+370)