Defending champion Giancarlo Stanton is the MLB betting favorite to win the home run derby, closely followed by young guns Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger – who, to continue to horse racing metaphor, were neck to neck in the leading homer department.
Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton
The Miami Marlins right fielder will have the support of the local crowd for whatever that’s worth. Stanton is tied for 8th place in the 2017 home run leadership board with 23 homers. He is a four-time MLB All-Star and was the 2014 winner of the Silver Slugger and NL Hank Aaron awards, as well as the National League home run champion. And as people who bet on baseball know, he won the 2016 HR Derby – thus becoming one of only two ballplayers (the other being Yoenis Cespedes) to win the Home Run Derby without being selected to the All-Star game proper. On that occasion, Stanton set a new record for most single-derby home runs with 61, and tied, moved into, and tied for second, third, and fourth – respectively – most home runs in a single round (24 in the first round, 20 in the final round, and 17 in the semifinal round).
Aaron ‘Dredd’ Judge
The New York Yankees right fielder has been compared to Stanton – as well as Richie Sexson, Dave Winfield, and Willie Stargell – due to his strength and size. Judge leads the league in HRs with 29, the fact of which alone makes him a strong MLB betting candidate for the derby. As a matter of fact, A-Jud hit a home run in first ever plate appearance on August 13, 2016, and also hit it out of the park in his second game – becoming the first player in Yankees history to hit a home run in each of his first two games since Joe Lefebvre in 1980. Judge had his first multi-homer game on April 28th, 2017against the Baltimore Orioles, one of which had an exit velocity of 119.4 miles per hour; the fastest for a home run measured by Statcast since it was adopted in 2015. Moreover; he became the youngest player to hit 13 home runs within the first 26 games of a season on May 3rd, and on May 28th hit his first career grand slam. Judge’s batting prowess earned him three consecutive American League Rookie of the Month awards – the longest streak since Mike Trout won four straight in 2012.
The baseball first baseman and outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers had people who bet on baseball thinking the 2017 home run-ship would be a two horse race with Judge for a while there. Bellinger has since lagged with 23 homers, but then again pitchers have always been wary of him – in fact, he was only the third Dodger in history to be intentionally walked in his debut, following in the footsteps of Chico Fernandez and Dick Nen. Bellinger hit his first major home run on April 29th off Zach Eflin of Philadelphia and followed-up with a second home run in the same game, off of Héctor Neris. In summary, he’s another MLB betting fave to win the homer derby.