Handicapping the Derby

In Uncategorized on July 13, 2009 at 7:52 pm
RBI 93, aka the greatest baseball videogame ever

RBI 93 - the greatest videogame derby ever

It was a busy day over at Game Six Headquarters, one which unfortunately involved actual work that needed to get done. Regardless, one of my favorite events of the year – the MLB Home Run Derby – is less than ten minutes away and I’ll be damned if I don’t handicap the field before it starts.

Without Fred Adu, here it goes:

National League

Prince Fielder, MIL: 6-1

Cecil’s son is having a solid year but hasn’t played well in Busch Stadium historically. I feel like he’s the kind of guy who could either hit 15 homers in Round 1 or string together a couple lazy fly balls and golf swing his way to a first round exit.

Ryan Howard, PHI: 4-1

I’m on record as saying that I LOVE Howard’s lefty swing. It’s got a little touch of Griffey in it and…well, you know how I feel about the Kid. Howard is also an enormous physical specimen – not in a steroids way, but rather in a “the kid in Little League who grew before everyone else and just mashes homers” way – so I think he’s got a good shot at winning tonight. I’d personally love to see him pull it off.

Adrian Gonzalez, SDP: 4-1

The lesser-known Gonzalez has 24 homers on the year, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him put on a show. The Big Names always get the all the pomp and circumstance at the Derby, but a guy like Gonzalez certainly has an upset in him.

Albert Pujols, STL: 5-4

Pujols is the prohibitive, off-the-board favorite in this year’s Derby, and for good reason – he’s been an absolute monster at the plate this year, with 32 homers thus far. He’ll also have what’s sure to be a raucous home crowd on his side which can’t hurt. Actually, the only thing preventing me from guaranteeing a Pujols win is the fact that he’s coming off a day-night doubleheader at Wrigley on Sunday. Also, if I was a guy with a legitimate chance at the league MVP, I’d be very tempted to scale it back for the Derby so as not to risk ruining my swing. But we’ll see what Albert thinks about that.

American League

Nelson Cruz, TEX: 6-1

Nelson, who? is what many are undoubtedly saying right now. The name is Cruz, Nelson Cruz, and we should all probably get used to hearing it, because in his first season as an every-day player Cruz is hovering near the top of the AL home run leaderboard with 21. At 6′ 3″, 230, Cruz has more than enough power behind his cuts and has been known to hang with Josh Hamilton during Rangers BP – and we all remember what he did last year.

Brandon Inge, DET: 8-1

I’m hesitant to give Inge much of a shot tonight because he’s not really a home run guy. The 19 he’s hit this year are actually the second-most for his career, already. That kind of statistic doesn’t really breed confidence in a derby handicapper.

Joe Mauer, MIN: 5-1

Although he’s having one helluva year, like Inge, Mauer has never been a home run hitter throughout his career. He does bring a gorgeous lefty swing to the table, however, and he’s had a torrid year at the plate so far in 2009, so I wouldn’t count him out.

Carlos Pena, TBD: 4-1

Pena’s uppercut lefty stroke is perfectly tailored to the Derby and he’s unleashed some unbelievable home runs over the last few years. Even with all the big names in the lineup tonight, as far as I’m concerned, he’s the favorite.

Game Six Pick: Carlos Pena


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