The 2022 Home Run Derby
Every year as the MLB All-Star Break gets closer we look forward to one event and one event only: The Home Run Derby. Sure, there are other cool events and the all-star game itself can be pretty awesome, but nothing is as exciting as the Derby. Big beefy baseball boys just out there hitting dingers. A dong parade. It's an all-American display of power and grit. Granted, there can be some anticlimactic outcomes, but compared to the other events it's by far the most exciting. Likewise, if you have some skin in the game, the drama and sweat are terrific.
The 2021 Home Run Derby Results
Last year's derby was fantastic, with and unlikely meeting between Pete Alonso and Trey Mancini in the finals after coming in as the fifth and sixth seeds respectively. There was plenty of drama during the finals, but Alonso ended up slapping out 23 home runs in the final round (74 total) to win it. With that win he went back-to-back after winning the competition back in 2020 as well, the Polar Bear is back this year and looking for a rare three-peat in the competition.
The 2022 participants and odds to win
This year's participants are some of the premiere power hitters in the league…. and the corpse of Albert Pujols. I certainly understand the fan service going on here, but we are mostly going to ignore him today. If he wins that's awesome but there's very little pointing to that outcome. Meanwhile, the favorite coming into the event will be Pete Alonso with odds of +200. Kyle Schwarber is a close second at +330. The longest odds here technically belong to Pujols (duh) but for the purposes of this article let's just say it's Jose Ramirez at +1600. Considering the current odds, there seems to be value outside of Alonso.
Expected home runs in the recent sample
We are going to use a couple different things to make assumptions about who to bet on here. First off, let's take a look at the results of the Expected Stats and Home Runs model (which can be found here). This model is build on baselines from the recent sample, so we can utilize it as looking at the hitters “current form”. Here are the participants isolated against RHP:
If we consider this a good understanding of current form, Julio Rodriguez comes in as a solid option to win. He has the third highest xSLG against RHP and most expected home runs in the sample at 8.8 in total. Kyle Schwarber comes in next with an xSLG of .704 (second best) and 7.32 expected home runs but is tied with 6.34 against RHP. Pete Alonso, the current favorite to win, is actually rather tame in the recent sample with just 2.93 expected home runs in handedness. Jose Ramirez and Albert Pujols are tied for last at .49 each.
Granted, it's likely that Pujols ends up choosing a LHP to hit off of, but that still leaves him towards the bottom. Just based off of current form, we should have a lot of interest in Julio. Especially considering his odds at +1000, he represents a solid value on the board. However, recent form isn't everything!
Long term form and home run power
According to the MLB, the definition of ISO is a measure of the raw power of a hitter by taking only extra-base hits — and the type of extra-base hit — into account. So we can use it hear as a proxy for “Long term form”. If we look at the 2022 numbers overall, we see that Kyle Schwarber has the highest mark at .288 with Pete Alonso coming in second at .256. Julio Rodriguez, the leader in recent form with expected home runs, sits at .202. Considering the long and recent form, it looks like Kyle Schwarber, not Pete Alonso, deserves to be the favorite.
Expected home runs per plate appearance
Using the Fantasy Points per Plate Appearance tables (Found here) we can look at one more stat. If we consider the pitches during the rounds as a plate appearance, who has the highest capacity for home runs in the instance? We have Julio Rodriguez as the leader in expected home runs per plate appearance at 7.20%. Likewise, we have Kyle Schwarber with a mark of 6.82% as a close second. There's a large gap after them, with Corey Seager, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Juan Soto all sit between 4-5%. In last we have Jose Ramirez with a mark of just .54%. This is just another stat showing that Julio Rodriguez is a value and Kyle Schwarber should be the favorite.
Who will win the Home Run Derby?
Based on all the stats we went over, the favorite should be either Kyle Schwarber or Julio Rodriguez. The Paydirt pick to win is Kyle Schwarber, so make sure you bet him before he's the favorite! Meanwhile, when you consider the odds and payouts, hitting Julio Rodriguez before he gets bet up is a must. Regardless of who wins, this is a star-studded group and we are sure to experience one hell of a dong party. Sit back and enjoy!