The Home Run Derby is the biggest attraction outside the All-Star game itself. It’s like the Dunk contest of the MLB All-Star break. This year’s competition is highly anticipated not only because of the presence of the two-way phenomenon Shohei Ohtani but also because this competition was shelved last year because of the pandemic.

This year’s Home Run Derby will be on Monday, July 12th with the ESPN broadcast starting at 8 PM ET. The show begins with a pre-Derby ceremony and batting practice and these will be shown live via MLB Network from 6:00-8:00 PM.

The NL will have their batting practice from 5:15 to 6:10 PM while the AL’s turn comes at 6:15 to end at 7:10. Batting practice will be followed by the ceremonies which end at 8:00 PM when the event is scheduled to start.

Baseball Round Format

As it has been since 2015, this year’s Home Run Derby will be based on a time limit and not using the number of outs as it was during the old days. Each hitter will have three minutes in the first two rounds of the competition to hit as many home runs as possible. The time limit is shortened to two minutes in the final round.

If the two competing hitters are tied at the end of each round, a 60-second overtime period will be held and if there is still a tie after that, then there will be three swing swing-offs until a winner emerges.

A hitter is given an additional 30 seconds after each round if he hits a home run of 475 feet or longer during the final 30 seconds of a particular round.

Each player is entitled to one 45-second timeout in each of the three regulation periods.

The contestants were bracketed according to the number of home runs hit during a cutoff period. Below is the result of the seedings:

Baseball Who are the Favorites?

Here is the latest odds board as of BetOnline as of 07/12/2021:

Player Odds
Shohei Ohtani +200
Joey Gallo +375
Pete Alonso +525
Matt Olson +600
Trevor Story +900
Juan Soto +1000
Salvador Perez +1000
Trey Mancini +1200

Shohei Ohtani is the MLB leader in home runs with 33 on the season. The 27-year old two-way star of the Los Angeles Angels isn’t just on pace to shatter the Angels’ franchise record of 47 home runs in one season but could be on his way to hitting 60 after drilling 13 in June and five already in July. His longest home run of the season is 470 feet and his most recent one was a 463-foot homer to the upper deck of T-Mobile Park, only the 6th ever homer to hit that area.

Joey Gallo is 5th in the majors with 24 homers on the season. He has hit 11 home runs in his last 11 games and is the no. 2 seed in this competition. Gallo’s bracket looks to be easier than Ohtani’s, meaning he may have a better chance to get to the final round than Ohtani. His 16 no-doubt home runs this season rank next to Ohtani among the participants in this competition.

Pete Alonso is the defending Home Run Derby champion. The 26-year old set an MLB rookie record with 53 home runs last season but has not been able to match that pace this year. Despite that, he’s one of the league’s hardest hitters, ranking 11th in average exit velocity at 92.7 MPH. 14 out of his 17 home runs this season have come on the road, there should be no problem hitting bombs here.

Baseball Who Wins?

It’s easy to get carried away with the Sho-time phenomenon but the favorite often fizzles out in events like this one. Ohtani though is a once-in-a-generation talent so there’s really knowing what he’s capable of. What we’re sure of is that he ranks 6th in average exit velocity and has some of the best pure power in this group. So I won’t blame you if you go with Ohtani and he’s still at +200 so that’s a fair one there.

Personally, I like Pete Alonso here because not only has he won the Home Run Derby before but also because I think he is built to win these types of competition. Three out of the last four winners of the home run derby weighed at least 245 pounds- Giancarlo Stanton in 2016, Aaron Judge in 2018, and Alonso in 2019.

In this year’s field, only Alonso, Perez, and Gallo fit that description. Ohtani is the lightest player at 210 pounds per Baseball-Reference. And although he is the same size as Bryce Harper who won in 2018, I’ll take my chances with Alonso at +500. He’s hit three homers in six appearances at Coors Field. This is a solid value bet and I’ll take it.

Prediction: Pete Alonso wins Home Run Derby

Baseball Other Bets To Make

Player With the Most Home Runs
However, while I’m not sure if Ohtani wins this competition, I think he will be the one to hit the most home runs in the contest. Remember last year when Vladimir Guerrero hit 91 homers but lost to Alonso in the final? I like that kind of thing happening this year so this is a good value bet on Ohtani without picking him to win. And yes, in case he wins the contest, he’s likely to do so with the most home runs too so this is a good way to hedge your bet on Pete Alonso to win.
Prediction: Shohei Ohtani +500
Round 1 Matchup: Story vs Gallo
Trevor Story is a +155 underdog to beat Joey Gallo (-190) in the first round of the competition. That looks like an easy pick to make at first look because Story’s power numbers have gone down in the last couple of years and Gallo is poised to hit 40 home runs for the third time in his career this season. However, Story still averaged 31 home runs in his first four seasons. He knows this ballpark more than the other competitors and he will be looking to put on a show for the hometown fans.
Prediction: Trevor Story +155 to beat Joey Gallo
Longest Home Run
In the Statcast era, only one home run has traveled beyond 500 feet at Coors Field and that was from Giancarlo Stanton in 2016. This season, the longest homer in Denver has been at 478 feet by Ryan McMahon and it traveled at an exit velocity of 109.4 MPH. But those are regular game situations and we’re talking about a glorified batting practice in the Home Run Derby. With guys like Ohtani and Alonso who have produced max exit velocities of 119 MPH and 117 MPH respectively, I think we’ll see several 500+ feet homers on Monday.
Over 503.5 Feet (-113) at DraftKings

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