LOS ANGELES -- The 2022 Home Run Derby is set for Monday night in Dodger Stadium. It's a fun field, spanning all the way from a 21-year-old rookie to a 42-year-old legend. Thanks to MLB implementing a clock before the 2015 Derby and keeping it in place ever since, this event is one of the highlights of the season. .
The eight-slugger field features a bracket format with seeding based off 2022 home runs. Here are the first-round matchups:
- No. 1. Kyle Schwarber, Phillies vs. No. 8. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
- No. 2 Pete Alonso, Mets vs. No. 7 Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves
- No. 3 Corey Seager, Rangers vs. No. 6 Julio Rodríguez, Mariners
- No. 4 Juan Soto, Nationals vs. No. 5 José Ramírez, Guardians
It's pretty well-rounded, with off-the-charts-raw-power guys like Schwarber and Alonso to the gap power types like Ramírez, and we've already mentioned the vast gap in age between Pujols and Rodríguez. Seager now being with the Rangers after spending the first seven years of his career with the Dodgers will be fun in front of the L.A. fans. Will those same fans boo Acuña due to the Braves knocking the Dodgers out last season, even though he was injured? Will Alonso win for the third straight Derby? Can Pujols pull off the huge upset and take down Schwarber? It's going to be a blast.
While we're at it, let's grab some betting picks. All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook. Best of fortune to all gamblers.
Here are the current odds to win the 2022 Home Run Derby:
Home Run Derby odds
- Alonso: +190
- Schwarber: +350
- Soto: +450
- Acuña: +750
- Rodríguez: +800
- Seager: +1200
- Ramírez: +1800
- Pujols: +2400
Overall winner: Kyle Schwarber +350
I'm not going to say anything stupid here like "you should see him take batting practice!" -- even if you should see him take BP! -- because every MLB player rakes in batting practice. Schwarber is capable of putting on a light show, though, and we've seen him get to the finals before (2018, when he lost to now-teammate Bryce Harper). This time he's going to slay the beast and put the two-time defending champ away.
Long-shot value: Seager +1200
Seager won't be lighting up the distance leaderboard the way Alonso, Schwarber and company can, but he's plenty comfortable in Dodger Stadium and I think the crowd will be behind him. That can be worth a little extra juice to push a player to victory (remember Harper in D.C. and Todd Frazier in Cincy?). Even if the player doesn't win, we've seen crowds provide a big boost (remember Justin Bour in Miami?). L.A. isn't "home" for Seager anymore, but it was for a long time and I don't see any reason for sour grapes from either side.
Longest home run: Acuña +360
Most of these are gut feelings, because breaking down the event earnestly is impossible. In this case, however, I'm using stats. Acuña leads the majors with an average of 437 feet per home run this season. He's hit one of the 10 furthest balls during game action this season at 464 feet. He's always toward the top of that leaderboard and he hit one 481 feet last season. There are several players here capable of getting to 500 feet and he's one of them.
Longest home run over/under 494.5 feet: Over
On that note, we're absolutely going over. Soto hit one 520 feet last year and, yes, it was in Coors Field. Previously, the record was 513 (Aaron Judge, 2017). It'll be tough to go over here, but I'm confident someone will, based upon two things. First off, there is some absurd power in this contest. Secondly and more importantly, we've seen MLB go to lengths to give a little extra "juice" in the event -- notably refusing to use the humidor for the Derby balls in Coors Field last year. There's been controversy about the baseballs and how MLB can tell which ones are more jumpy than others. They'll use the extra jumpy ones. We'll get to 500 feet at least once.
Finals outcome: Schwarber over Alonso, +600
I mentioned it earlier, but I'm going chalk here with the one seed over the two. Alonso is so, so good at this and he's worth another deep run. Schwarber is mostly a gut feeling and he's been very locked in for weeks. It's as good a bet as there is.
Longshot finals outcome: Seager over Soto, +3500
If you're looking for something other than chalk, Soto took down Shohei Ohtani in overtime last year with a monster first round and is absolutely capable of coming through with something similar. I've already mentioned the extra bump I'm giving Seager as well. Why not? They call it gambling, after all. Let's have some fun.