Next week’s MLB all-star break not only marks the end of the first half of the regular season, but it also provides us with one of the most popular events connected with the All-Star Game; the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby. This year’s Derby will be held at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Monday, July 9, at 8 p.m. (ET) and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
The following is a brief look at each of this year’s participants from both the American and National League along with their current odds to win this year’s event as well as some betting predictions.
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Captain - Robinson Cano (New York Yankees) +450
Last year’s winner with 32 home runs through Rounds 1 and 2 and the Finals is back to defend his title this season as the captain of the AL. He is currently tied for eighth in the Majors with 20 home runs through 79 games and offers some solid value with his odds given his current form and last year’s experience in his only career appearance in this event.
Jose Batista (Toronto Blue Jays) +300
This will be Batista’s second Home Run Derby as well, but he did not fare so well last year with just four dingers in the first round that ended his night. He comes into this year’s contest as MLB’s home run leader through the first half of the regular season with 27, adding value as the Derby’s second-favorite.
Mark Trumbo (Los Angeles Angels) +400
Trumbo is having a break-out year for the Angels with 20 home runs after hitting 29 all last season. This will be his first Home Run Derby appearance, but he brings in some added value to his odds given that he has hit a home run every 7.51 at bats this season. At 26-years old he has the endurance for this event.
Prince Fielder (Detroit Tigers) +500
The 2009 Home Run Derby winner and veteran slugger of this group will have his work cut out for him on Monday night considering he has gone yard just 12 times this season. He made it to the second round in last year’s competition, but he managed only four home runs in the second round. Fielder is a sentimental favorite at best.
Captain - Matt Kemp (Los Angeles Dodgers) +650
The NL captain has been on the DL the past few months and is currently doing a rehab stint in the minors, which taps most of the value from his odds. He started the season on fire with 12 home runs in 36 games and could possibly find the necessary form in this contest, but he comes in as a true longshot given his two-home run performance in last year’s event.
Giancarlo Stanton (Miami Marlins) +285
The 23-year-old slugger comes in to this year’s Derby as the odds-on favorite to win it all. He has already belted 19 home runs in 78 games, ranking him tied for 11th in the standings after hitting 34 in 2011. Youth is on his side, but experience is not.
Carlos Beltran (St. Louis Cardinals) +600
Beltran will be making his first career appearance in the Home Run Derby and offers some solid value as another longshot in the field. He slugged only 22 home runs last season in 98 games with the Mets and 44 games with the Giants, but he has found his groove in St. Louis with 20 homers in 76 games this season.
Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado Rockies) +600
Gonzalez is another newcomer to the Derby after catching his captain’s eye with 17 home runs in 72 games this season after hitting 26 all last year. The 6-foot-1, 220 pound left fielder has the size and power to make a run at this year’s title but he may struggle with the endurance that is required to last all three rounds.
2012 Home Run Derby Prediction: Mark Trumbo
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