Is Winning the Home Run Derby Bad for Your Swing?

Is Winning the Home Run Derby Bad for Your Swing?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The 93rd edition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game will be at Seattle's T-Mobile Park on Tuesday, but a lot of the focus will be on Monday’s Home Run Derby (ESPN, 8 p.m.).

Eight players will take part, including New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, who is favored by NY sportsbooks to win his third title in the last four years. It also would be the fourth for a New York player as the Yankees' Aaron Judge won in 2017. This will be Alonso's fourth derby in the last five years as he looks to join Ken Griffey Jr. as the only three-time winners of the event.

At the break, Alonso’s Mets (40-46) have been a huge disappointment to fans of with New York betting apps

The Mets are in fourth place in the NL East, 18 games behind the team with the best record in baseball, the Atlanta Braves (58-28). They also are 6.5 games out of the wild-card race.

Meanwhile, the Yankees are nine games above .500 (48-39), but find themselves third in the AL East, eight games behind Tampa Bay (57-32) and three behind the up-and-coming Baltimore Orioles (50-35).

For the Home Run Derby, Alonso will be joined by Chicago White Sox slugger Luis Robert Jr., Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman, Texas outfielder Adolis Garcia, Tampa Rays left fielder Randy Arozarena, Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts, Toronto Blue Jays first baseman/designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the hometown hero, Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez.

Rodriguez blasted a combined 81 homers over three rounds last year (second only to Guerrero Jr.'s 91 in the 2019 Derby for most all-time) but finished runner-up to San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto.

WynnBET NY on Thursday had Alonso favored to win another Derby title at +270, followed by Guerrero at +350. The biggest long shot is Rutschman at +1200.

FanDuel also favors Alonso (+275) but picks Guerrero (+350) as his biggest challenge.

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Home Run Derby Winners Before/After Split

For years, there has been much debate among baseball fans on the potential impact the Home Run Derby has on a player’s swing for the rest of the season. To get a sense of how the Home Run Derby affects hitters, EmpireStakes.com looked back at the past 10 winners and gathered their home run rate before and after the All-Star break. We utilized game logs from Baseball-Reference.com to calculate these figures.

Here is what the research shows from EmpireStakes.com, your source for New York sports betting promo codes.

YearWinnerPre HR Derby HR RatePost HR Derby HR Rate
2022Juan Soto5.09% (20 HR)2.58% (7 HR)
2021Pete Alonso5.43% (17 HR)6.17% (20 HR)
2019Pete Alonso7.98% (30 HR)7.25% (23 HR)
2018Bryce Harper5.55% (23 HR)3.91% (11 HR)
2017Aaron Judge8.2% (30 HR)7.1% (22 HR)
2016Giancarlo Stanton6.23% (20 HR)4.7% (7 HR)
2015Todd Frazier6.68% (25 HR)3.29% (10 HR)
2014Yoenis Cespedes3.65% (14 HR)3.07% (8 HR)
2013Yoenis Cespedes4.4% (15 HR)4.72% (11 HR)
2012Prince Fielder4.04% (15 HR)4.7% (15 HR)
2012-2022TOTAL AVERAGE5.73% (209 HR)4.75% (134 HR)

 

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Alonso a Rare Exception

Over the past 10 years, the Home Run Derby winner has hit less home runs after the Derby eight times.

The two exceptions are Alonso in 2021 and former Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder in 2012.

Alonso hit more after the event (20) than he did before (17). Fielder hit the same amount (15) before and after he won the Derby in his first season with the Tigers.

Before Alonso’s 2021 performance, in his first Derby win in 2019, he produced seven fewer home runs after the event (23) than before (30).

This season, Alonso is batting .214 with 25 home runs (tied for 3rd in MLB) and 58 RBI (tied for 8th) in 78 games played entering Thursday’s action.

During Judge's 2017 win, he hit eight home runs less (22, 7.1%) than before the derby (30, 8.2%).

One runner-up note: Although he did not win last year, Rodriguez had 16 home runs before (4.21%) his epic performance, but only 12 after (6.67%).

The biggest drop in production was former Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier, who won the event (held in Cincy) in 2015. Frazier hit 25 home runs before (6.68%) but just 10 (3.29%) after.

Last year at Dodger Stadium, the American League edged the National League, 3-2, for its ninth consecutive All-Star Game victory. New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton was named MVP after going 1-for-2 with a two-run homer to tie the game in the fourth inning.

The AL leads the NL, 47-43-2 (.522) in all-time All-Star Game results. 

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Author

Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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