Friday, August 12, 2022

Kyle Schwarber is the big bat to back in the 2022 MLB Home Run Derby

I felt so old Sunday night. The MLB Draft began, and the first two picks of the draft were Jackson Holliday and Druw Jones. The fact both players were born in 2003 within a week of each other was bad enough, but it was who their fathers were that put the stake in my heart.

Jackson Holliday is the son of former player Matt Holliday, who retired in 2018 and isn’t much older than I am. Druw Jones is the son of Andruw Jones, who happened to be one of my favorite players growing up. Then Carl Crawford’s son was taken later in the first round! And Crawford is younger than both of them!

Now the three of them have sons being drafted to play professionally, and I’m considering buying a 30-pack of cheap beer and drinking way too much of it to feel young again.

Now let’s bet on some large men to mash taters.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥The Hot Ticket

MLB Home Run Derby, 8 p.m. | TV: ESPN

  • Key Trend: Kyle Schwarber is large and hits dingers frequently.
  • The Pick: Kyle Schwarber to win HR Derby (+330)

Every day when you open this newsletter and scroll down to the picks, you read choices made by me based on a variety of factors. Some are strictly numbers plays, while others go off trends or gut feels. The best picks are the ones that use a little bit of everything to achieve a logical result.

Well, throw all of that out the window tonight. The Home Run Derby is the only show in town, and there isn’t much science to go with it. We’re just tuning in to watch men with bats hit baseballs a long way. Pete Alonso has won the last two and is the favorite again tonight. Don’t be surprised if he wins it again, but the price being offered on him seems a little too low given how difficult it is to win a derby like this and how much luck you need to go your way.

Jonathan Coachman is joined by Zack Cimini and Jon “Buckets” Eimer to bring you the best bets for Monday. Download and follow The Early Edge on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.  

Instead, I suggest we bet on the burly man from Philadelphia. Kyle Schwarber’s 29 home runs trail only Aaron Judge this season, and his swing is low-effort enough to believe he won’t tire as the event goes on. That’s huge.

Also, have you watched Kyle Schwarber’s home runs? The vibes are immaculate. They’re fun to watch, so let’s root on the big man to hit more than everybody else tonight.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine expert Micah Roberts has handicapped the derby tonight. Make sure you check out his thoughts.


💰The Picks

⚾ Home Run Derby

Juan Soto Getty Washington Nationals

Getty Images

The Pick: Juan Soto to hit longest HR (+380) — Soto enters the evening as the third-favorite at +600, and while that’s a pretty reasonable price worth considering, what scares me about betting him to win the entire thing is his effort level. Soto has a beautiful, natural swing that doesn’t require much effort to make magical things happen, but that never stops him from swinging hard. Because of that, I can see him wearing down. We saw that last season when he beat Shohei Ohtani in the first round by hitting 31 dingers and then lost in the second after hitting only 15. While that approach isn’t conducive to winning the entire thing, it should lead to some absolute bombs. Soto probably isn’t going to win the whole thing, but there’s a real chance he hits the biggest bomb of the evening.

The Pick: Over 252.5 Total HR (-115) — Honestly, what’s the point of watching the Home Run Derby and not rooting for as many as possible? I’ve always been the person who annoys friends by telling them the under is the smarter play in a lot of games when they don’t want to hear it, but for an event like tonight, you’d have to be some kind of misanthrope to root for warning track flyouts tonight.

For what it’s worth, there were 309 homers hit in last year’s derby and 312 in 2019 (there wasn’t a derby in 2020). And while Dodger Stadium might not be seen as a hitters’ paradise, according to Statcast’s Park Factors, it’s the third-best park for hitting home runs at night in the league, trailing only Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park and Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The All-Star Game isn’t until Tuesday night, but SportsLine’s John Bollman has already shared his best plays for the midsummer classic.


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