While All Star festivities have been taking place in Kansas City all weekend, the real action begins tonight with the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby contest. This year’s participants include American Leaguers Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, and Prince Fielder. Representing the National League are Matt Kemp, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez, and Andrew McCutchen. 2012 Home Run Derby Odds have the Blue Jays Bautista listed as a +250 moneyline favorite to win this year’s slugfest. Robinson Cano, the 2011 Derby winner, is a second pick at +300 odds.
Jose Bautista (Blue Jays +250): The Jays, who has belted 124 home runs over the last 2.5 seasons, comes into tonight’s contest tied with the Rangers Josh Hamilton for the league lead with 27 long balls. Tonight will mark his second home run derby appearance; he failed to advance to the second round last year after hitting just four home runs in the opening round. Last year’s experience should help him feel a little more comfortable this time around.
Robinson Cano (Yankees +300): Cano, who currently has 20 home runs for the AL East leading Yankees, hit 32 total home runs at last year’s Derby. He was one shy of Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez in the first round after hitting eight dingers, but he knocked out 12 in both the second and third rounds to beat the Red Sox first baseman. Cano will not be a fan favorite in Kansas City tonight; many Royals fans are upset that he, as team captain, did not select KC’s Billy Butler, who has 16 home runs on the season, to participate in the Derby.
Mark Trumbo (Angels +400): Tonight will represent Trumbo’s first Home Run Derby appearance, but he is a major threat to win the competition. Trumbo, who has 22 home runs at the half way point, has the longest blast (459 feet) and the longest home run average (419.5) in this year’s Derby field.
Matt Kemp (Dodgers +500): Kemp has not played since May 13th (hamstring), but he is healthy enough to give it a go tonight. The Dodgers slugger comes in with 12 home runs, all of which came in the month of April. Kemp’s first Derby appearance came last year, but he hit just two home runs in the opening round, a total he is, no doubt, anxious to surpass this evening.
Carlos Beltran (+500): Beltran, who trails only Ryan Braun in National League home run hitters (20 to 24), has experienced a resurgence in St. Louis this season. Suffice to say he will feel more at home tonight than the rest of the field as he played the first 6.5 years of his career for the Royals.
Home Run Derby Rules: The winner is not based on cumulative total but rather on who wins each round. The top four from the first round advance to the second round and the top two finishers from the second round will move on to the third and final round. Each player receives 10 outs per round, anything other than a home run is an out.
2012 Home Run Derby Odds: Provided by TopBet.com
Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) +250
Robinson Cano (Yankees) +300
Mark Trumbo (Angels) +400
Prince Fielder (Tigers) +400
Matt Kemp (Dodgers) +500
Carlos Beltran (Cardinals) +500
Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies) +600
Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) +800