With the summer solstice in the rearview mirror and the dog days of summer on the horizon, we’re on the precipice of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game festivities.
This year, a half-dozen of the league’s best power hitters will convene at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park for the Home Run Derby on July 10.
With all that talent on one stage, there will no doubt be a cavalcade of highlights.
The annual derby isn’t all fun and games, however, as it has been a topic of debate among baseball fans on the potential impact it has on a player’s swing for the rest of the season. To get a sense of how the Home Run Derby actually impacts hitters, BetCalifornia.com took a look 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.
Unfortunately, there is no legal sports betting in California on the MLB All-Star Game or any other sport.
A referendum that could have helped legalize wagering failed in 2022 and can’t go on a state-wide ballot again until 2024.
It'll be interesting to see whether Los Angeles Dodgers cornerstone outfielder Mookie Betts is impacted by the post-derby home run slump, should he win the Seattle competition, or whether fellow competitors like Randy Arozarena of Tampa Bay, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of Toronto, Julio Rodriguez of Seattle, Baltimore catcher Adley Rutschman, Chicago White Sox' Luis Robert Jr., Texas' Adolis Garcia and two-time derby champ Pete Alonso of the N.Y. Mets are impacted by the post-derby slump.
Home Run Derby Winner Stats By Year
The player with the best odds to lead MLB in home runs for the season isn’t in the Home Run Derby. The L.A. Angeles Shohei Ohtani leads the field at +100 at BetMGM Sportsbook nationally (there is no BetMGM California). Of those in the derby, Alonso has the best odds to win this year’s home run chase at +700 (good for third).
Will Betts Be Hurt by Participating in Derby?
The Dodgers’ 30-year-old centerfielder is on a tear at the plate this season, on pace to shatter his career high for home runs in a season (35 in 2022).
Betts has already cracked 23 long balls in 82 games, averaging out to .28 per game, which would equal around 44 home runs if he plays the current level of games he has to date (96.4% of LA’s contests).
Although there are no California betting apps, national operators list the Dodgers as National League West favorite at -160.
It remains to be seen whether Betts will follow the trends set forth by Home Run Derby winners like Alonso (in 2021), Cespedes (in 2013) and Prince Fielder (in 2012) — who were the only three winners to see their home run rate increase after the event.
Conversely, Betts could very well fall in line with other derby champs, such as Frazier, who had the biggest drop-off in home run rate, going from 6.68% to 3.29% (-3.39%) in 2015 after winning the derby, followed by Soto (from 5.09% to 2.58%/-2.51% in 2022), Harper (5.55% to 3.91%/-1.64 in 2018), Stanton (6.23% to 4.7%/-1.53% in 2016) and Judge (8.2% to 7.1%/-1.1% in 2017).