Derby Takes Center-Stage at 2017 All-Star Game

Finally, all those long, exhaustive hours you put in casting votes for your team’s favorite players … err, I mean, the most deserving players … is about to pay off. The MLB’s mid-season break will start this Monday, but it won’t be a rest period for baseball’s best. The All-Star festivities get underway quickly, as the Home Run Derby with the Home Run Derby on Monday, July 10, and the All-Star Game the next evening, all at Marlins Park.

If you’re like me, the game itself has lost some of its entertainment value this year. For the last several seasons, the All-Star Game determined home-field advantage in the World Series. That’s no longer the case. I understand many take issue with Buster Posey, Zack Cozart, and other players from teams with next to no chance of making the World Series helping determine the fate of the two teams who do. But it also gave the players something to play for.

Now we are stuck watching a bunch of multi-millionaires play for $20,000 each. Basically, the Midsummer Classic is now no different than any of the other failing All-Star games in professional sports.

On the bright side, I can’t recall a Home Run Derby with so much anticipation. So even though the game has lost some of its competitive nature, we can at least look forward to the possibility of some 500-foot fireworks in the Derby with both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton taking part.

Can anyone upset those two massive favorites in the Derby? Should we prepare to see any records broken? And what will happen in the game, itself? All odds were prepared with the motive of helping out my respective league, not financial gain. (I won’t say no to a $20,000 bonus, though.)

2017 MLB ALL-STAR WEEK ODDS

HOME RUN DERBY

Odds to win the Derby

Aaron Judge (Arturo Pardavila (Flickr) [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0])
  • Aaron Judge, Yankees: 7/3
  • Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins: 7/2
  • Miguel Sano, Twins: 6/1
  • Cody Bellinger, Dodgers: 7/1
  • Mike Moustakas, Royals: 11/1
  • Charlie Blackmon, Rockies: 47/3
  • Justin Bour, Marlins: 29/1
  • Gary Sanchez, Yankees: 33/1

I’ve never been this excited to watch glorified batting practice, and it’s due to one man: Aaron Judge. The leader of the Baby Bombers is smacking dingers at a (rookie) record-breaking pace. Judge’s 29 home runs, thus far, have him tied with Joe DiMaggio for the Yankee rookie record, and he’s on pace to break Mark McGwire’s MLB rookie record (49). At 6’7″ and 282 pounds, Judge is a ball-crushing monster. Case in point, this. It just comes too naturally for him, which is why he comes in as the favorite.

Though he possesses a wimpy 245-pound frame, Giancarlo Stanton is no stranger to hitting homers, either. The reigning champion set a Derby record last year with 61 total home runs, and is back to his usual mashing ways this year. If anyone can slay the beast, it’s Stanton swinging in his home park. And fortunately, the bracket sets up a possible meeting between the two in the finals.

Odds the record for most home runs in a round is broken: 2/1

Josh Hamilton is the record-holder, having hit 28 in a single round in 2008. Stanton came close last year, hitting 24. Again, Judge continues adding more excitement.

Odds the record for most home runs in a single derby is broken: 7/3

Stanton crushed the previous record of 42 a year ago, lighting up the scoreboard with 61 home runs. That kind of consistency had never been seen before, and will be awfully tough to duplicate/surpass.

ALL-STAR GAME

Odds to win the 2017 All-Star Game

  • National League: 7/8
  • American League: 8/7

We don’t yet know which pitchers will start for each side, but we do know Clayton Kershaw will be unavailable for the NL, since he is scheduled to pitch Sunday. Even without Kershaw, the combination of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Zack Grienke is still lethal and gives the NL the slight advantage.

Odds to win 2017 ASG MVP

  • Bryce Harper, Nationals: 8/1
  • Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins: 8/1
  • Aaron Judge, Yankees: 9/1
  • Jose Altuve, Astros: 10/1
  • Nolan Arenado, Rockies: 10/1
  • FIELD: 1/1

If you find it’s weird not seeing a pitcher on the list, keep in mind that only one pitcher has won it since 2000, and that was Mariano Rivera in 2013, during a farewell tour. No pitchers are in the same position this year. So we look to the position players who have a shot at making a major impact with their bat.

It has already been the season of Judge, so why wouldn’t the trend continue? If the NL does win, look for home-run swingers Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, and Nolan Arenado to be difference-makers.

Odds on ASG records being tied/broken

  • RBIs (5): 12/1
  • Home runs (2): 19/1
  • Hits (4): 33/1

First of all, the pitching in the All-Star Games is far too good. And if a pitcher is struggling, each manager has a handful of other aces to turn to. On top of that, players generally won’t see more than three plate appearances in the game, so recording four hits is damn near impossible.

Props for the Biggest All-Star Snubs

American League: Logan Morrison, 1B, Rays

Logan Morrison (Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/])
No first baseman in the Majors has hit more home runs than Morrison (24), and only one AL 1B has more RBIs. He’s also providing that power without sacrificing too much average (.267). Basically, he lost out to Canada getting behind its guy, Justin Smoak. Can you blame him for being upset?

  • Over/under total home runs in 2017: 44.5
  • Over/under total RBIs in 2017: 99.5
  • Over/under batting average for 2017: .265.5
  • Odds Morrison makes the 2018 ASG: 11/1
National League: Mark Reynolds, 1B, Rockies

Trevor Story and Carlos Gonzalez have been horrible at the plate this season, yet the Rockies are very much in contention. Why, you ask? Sure, Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon have been great, but Mark Reynolds’ 61 RBIs are tied for tenth in the Majors, and his defense has been pretty good, too. It’s just hard to argue which 1B he should replace.

  • Over/under total home runs in 2017: 35.5
  • Over/under total RBIs in 2017: 107.5
  • Over/under batting average for 2017: 275.5
  • Odds Reynolds makes the 2018 ASG: 14/1

 

Perry

Perry is a regular contributor to MTS and a die-hard Broncos fan. Yes, he does remember the five Super Bowl losses, but likely remembers all your teams shortcomings, too. Consider yourself warned. Though his love for the Broncos may seem unconditional, Mr. Port never mixes his emotions with gambling.