Monday, July 10, 2017

Home Run Derby Stats – A look into the last 10 derbies

In 2015, the HR Derby switched formats from a group stage in the beginning to a pure bracket style, ranking the home run hitters from 1 to 8 (typically based on HR totals before the AS break). Although a small sample size, there has only been 1 upset in the first round (out of 8 total matchups) since 2015. That upset was Giancarlo Stanton outhitting Robinson Cano in a #5 v. #4 matchup last year (Stanton went on to win the derby).

Furthermore, the new format is based on how many home runs a batter can produce in a given time, versus the old format of either hitting a home run or getting an “out”. The new format gives hitters one person to beat versus having to worry about the whole field of hitters.

 

The last 10 years

Seed (based on Pre-All Star HR totals) Advanced to Semi-Finals Advanced to Finals HR Derby Winner
1 seed 7 1 0
2 seed 7 2 1
3 seed 3 0 0
4 seed 7 6 2
5 seed 5 3 2
6 seed 5 2 1
7 seed 5 4 3
8 seed 3 3 2

 

At least one outfielder has made the finals in 8 of the past 10 derbies. There are 4 OF players in this derby and 3 of the 4 are the top 3 seeds (Bellinger qualifies as a 1B and OF). There were only 2 OF eligible players in 2015 and 3 in 2016.

The player with the most HR hit in the first round in the new format (since 2015) has gone on to win the Derby.

Two players have accomplished the back-to-back HR Derby win – Ken Griffey Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes. Giancarlo Stanton will attempt to be the third tonight in his home ballpark.

 

2017 HR Derby Lineup

 

No. 1 Giancarlo Stanton (Bats: Right, OF, MIA, 26 HR in 2017)

– Stanton will have the home field advantage at Marlins Park and is sure to be a crowd favorite. Stanton has split his HRs equally – 13 hit at home, 13 hit on the road. Marlins Park ranks 20th in overall HR-friendliness and is slightly more forgiving to right-handed batters (RHB) like Stanton than lefties. Stanton is hitting a HR/game at a .317 clip in his 41 home games. It’s not definite that he will take advantage of knowing the park over most of his competitors but it’s certainly a variable to consider. Another variable to consider is that Stanton is the only contestant in the derby to have participated (and won) before – he’ll understand the task ahead of him much better than his rivals.

No. 2 Aaron Judge (Bats: Right, OF, NYY, 30 HR in 2017)

– A monster rookie season has been greatly bolstered by hitting at Yankee Stadium for Judge. The right fielder is hitting a tremendous .377 with 21 HR (.500/game) at home. He’s hitting .280 with 9 HR (.214/game) on the road – a respectable stat line but a stark contrast from his home numbers. Yankee Stadium sits at 10th in overall HR-friendliness. Nevertheless, the 6’7″, 25-year-old rookie has plenty of pop in his bat and the HR derby is all about power swingin’. Of his 30 homers, 23 of them have been hit 390′ or farther, which is plenty enough to fly over the 386′ left-center fence at Marlins Park.

No. 3 Cody Bellinger (Bats: Left, OF/1B, LAD, 25 HR in 2017)

– The second rookie in this event, Bellinger is used to hitting at a more pitcher-friendly park. Dodger Stadium is 23rd in HR-friendliness. Though, the park is one of the more friendly parks to left-handed batters. Marlins Park is one of the worst parks for HRs for left-handed batters (LHB). The 330′ (4′ high) right field fence and 375′ (8′ high) right-center fence at Dodger Stadium are much more forgiving than the 335′ (7′ high) right field fence and 392′ (7′ high) right-center fence at Marlins Park. Bellinger has 15 HR (.375/gm) at home and 10 HR (.333/gm) on the road. The first round will be a lefty-lefty matchup against Blackmon who ranks below the league average in exit velocity.

No. 4 Mike Moustakas (Bats: Left, 3B, KC, 25 HR in 2017)

– Moose is another lefty who might find the Marlins Park right field walls unkind. Moustakas has been more comfortable on the road than at home. He has 9 HR at home (.230/gm) and 16 on the road (.410/gm). Kauffman Stadium is a middle-of-the-pack park in terms of overall HR-friendliness, ranking 15th, and is nearly equally friendly to LHB as it is to RHB.

No. 5 Miguel Sanó (Bats: Right, 3B/DH, MIN, 21 HR in 2017)

– Sanó is one of the few more “pure” power hitters in the derby this year, finding himself amongst Judge and Stanton. Sanó is hitting 236 feet on average with an average exit velocity of 95 mph. Those numbers come close to Judge’s 241 feet and 97 mph averages. Meanwhile, his first-round competition, Mike Moustakas, is averaging 215 feet and 87 mph. Being a RHB will also prove to be an inherent advantage over Moose for Marlins Park. Though, Target Field ranks 9th overall in HR-friendliness and is one of the most friendly parks to RHB and Sanó has only hit 8 HR there in 45 games (.177/gm) this season. He’s been much more effective overall and in the HR department on the road, hitting 13 HR in 37 games (.351/gm).

No. 6 Charlie Blackmon (Bats: Left, OF, COL, 21 HR in 2017)

– Blackmon is a great hitter but he’s no power hitter. The lefty outfielder greatly benefits from the most overall hitter-friendly park and left-handed hitter friendly park in the MLB (Coors Field). He has 13 HR at home in 42 games (.309/gm) alongside a .390 BA while hitting 7 HR in 47 games on the road (.149/gm) with a .261 BA.

No. 7 Justin Bour (Bats: Left, 1B, MIA, 20 HR in 2017)

– Bour is somewhat of a wildcard in this derby. The second Marlin in this event, he’ll be as familiar as Stanton is with tonight’s venue. Being a lefty and having one of the lowest averages for distance and exit velocity in the derby should prove to be inherent disadvantages in the first round against Judge. Nevertheless, he will have the home crowd on his side and is used to hitting in this park, cranking out 11 HR in 39 home games (.282/gm).

No. 8 Gary Sánchez (Bats: Right, C, NYY, 13 HR in 2017)

– The second Yankee to go toe-to-toe with a Marlin in tonight’s event, Sánchez will have a big task in the first round against Stanton. Sánchez’s 13 HR on the year are much less than the rest of the field (though he has played roughly 20-30 some games less than the rest). His 7 HR in 31 away games (.226/gm) is still not too stellar. Sánchez will likely have to have an extraordinary performance to overcome the reigning derby champ.

 

Odds

 

First Round matchups:

Stanton -400 v. Sánchez +275

Judge -350 v. Bour +250

Bellinger -200 v. Blackmon +162

Moustakas +162 v. Sanó -150

 

Winner:

Stanton +200

Judge +200

Bellinger +800

Sanó +850

Sánchez +1400

Moustakas +1600

Blackmon +1600

Bour +1600

 

Predictions

 

First Round

Stanton def. Sánchez

Judge def. Bour

Bellinger def. Blackmon

Sanó def. Moustakas

 

Semifinals

Stanton def. Sanó

Bellinger def. Judge

 

Final

Stanton def. Bellinger

 

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