The 2011 MLB Home Run Derby has some interesting participants. Monster blaster sluggers like Prince Fielder and David Ortiz lead their respective NL and AL teams that also includes high quality contact hitters with pop like Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp and a couple of questionable lightweights in Robinson Cano and Rickie Weeks.
The 2011 Home Run Derby kicks off Monday evening at 5:00 p.m. local time (8:00 p.m. ET) and will be broadcast on ESPN. You can also follow along with live player commentary on Twitter.
It's always hard to predict the outcome of these Home Run Derby events. You've got variables ranging from player apathy to park configuration. One thing we know for sure, if there's a Derby, there's betting. Here's the current odds to win the entire thing via Bodog.com.
Jose Bautista 13/5
- Prince Fielder 7/2
- David Ortiz 9/2
- Matt Holliday 9/2
- Adrian Gonzalez 11/2
- Matt Kemp 15/2
- Robinson Cano 17/2
- Rickie Weeks 14/1
Bautista is an understandable favorite. Not only does he lead the league in homers but his easy but powerful swing is a good match for the Derby where stamina is as important as raw power. Field and Ortiz are next thanks to their herculean strength and of course the lightweights have the longest odds for winning.
Chase Field's dimensions don't favor either righties or lefties. The left field poll is 330 feet while the right field poll is 335. The left and right center field walls are both 376 and dead center is 407. The park isn't small by any measure but the elevation of about 1100 feet above sea level along with the dry desert air has made this a hitter-friendly venue. Monday, however, there's a chance of afternoon monsoon storms and humidity around 30 percent which is high for Phoenix.
My prediction is Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez is one of those guys that can swing all day without getting tired and as a former Padre he's comfortable playing at Chase. He's got 13 career home runs in this building compared to five for Kemp, four for Holliday and Fielder. He's a grove hitter who can get and stay hot without burning out his power in the early rounds.