The favorite to win the 2016 MLB Home Run Derby has arguably had the worst season of any player in this year’s competition. As the eight contestants take the field on Monday, Giancarlo Stanton has the best betting odds.
The Miami Marlins’ slugger has largely been a disappointment since signing the biggest contract in American sports history before the start of last season. After injuries forced him to miss more than half of the 2015 season, Stanton has hit just .233 in 2016. His 20 home runs rank him fifth among the players in Monday’s competition, but he might have more power than anyone in baseball.
Stanton’s 490-foot home run on May 6 was the longest of the season, and his 470-foot shot on July 6 was the fifth-longest of 2016. Hitting one home run every 13.95 at-bats, Miami’s outfielder leads the field with +300 odds to win the derby.
Mark Trumbo (+375) has the second-best odds, leading MLB with 28 home runs at the All-Star Break. Trumbo’s career has been marked by his ability to hit home runs, but few could have expected what he’s done in his first season with the Baltimore Orioles. He has 28 homers in 87 games, already surpassing last season’s total of 22. He hit 29, 32 and 34 home runs, respectively, from 2011-2013.
The 2016 Home Run Derby will consist of three rounds, with players going head-to-head in the first round based on the number of long balls they’ve hit in the regular season. In two of the four first-round matchups, the player that has hit fewer homers this year is favored to advance to the semifinals.
First Round Matchups [Bovada]
No.1 Mark Trumbo (-190) vs. No.8 Corey Seager (+155)
No.4. Robinson Cano (+145) vs. No.5 Giancarlo Stanton (-175)
No.2 Todd Frazier (-130) vs. No.7 Carlos Gonzalez (EVEN)
No.3 Adam Duvall (EVEN) vs. No.6 Will Myers (-130)
Last year’s winner, Todd Frazier (+500), is favored to reach the second round. He’s tied for second in MLB with 25 home runs. His batting average has taken a hit since going to the Chicago White Sox—he’s hitting a career-low .213—but his power numbers remain strong.
Robinson Cano (+900) is the only other former Home Run Derby winner that will participate on Monday. He won the competition as a member of the New York Yankees in 2011, and he’s arguably having his best season in 2016. Playing in the pitcher-friendly Safeco Field, the Seattle Mariners’ second baseman is hitting .313 with 21 home runs and a career-high .555 slugging percentage.
Carlos Gonzalez (+800) will compete in the derby for a second time. He failed to make it out of the first round when he participated in 2012. The Colorado Rockies’ outfielder has 19 home runs this year, though only five have come on the road.
Adam Duvall (+650), Wil Myers (+650) and Corey Seager (+900) are all first-time contestants. Seager’s 17 home runs are the least of anyone in Monday’s Derby.
Stanton has the most power, and is likely to hit the most memorable home runs. But the winner should be a contestant with experience that can be consistent for three straight rounds.
Prediction: Todd Frazier