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Preview and Predictions: Home Run Derby 2018



It’s July, which means the mid-summer classic events of the year are here. Both the all-star game and the home run derby are chocked-full of MLB’s best. Although household name sluggers such as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and J.D. Martinez are not competing in the derby, this year still holds a lot in store in terms of excitement. Besides Bryce Harper, all 7 contestants in the derby are first-timers who will look for their moment to shine blasting baseballs into the outfield pavilions of National Park.

Overview

Jul 10, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; National League outfielder Cody Bellinger (right) of the Los Angeles Dodgers greets his father Clay Bellinger after the first round during the 2017 MLB Home Run Derby at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Left side of bracket
Jesus Aguilar (1) vs. Rhys Hoskins (8)
Alex Bregman (4) vs. Kyle Schwarber (5)

Right side of bracket
Bryce Harper (2) vs. Freddie Freeman (7)
Max Muncy (3) vs. Javier Baez (6)

  1. Jesus Aguilar (23 HR, .638 SLG)
  2. Bryce Harper (22 HR, .468 SLG)
  3. Max Muncy (21 HR, .614 SLG)
  4. Alex Bregman (19 HR, .531 SLG)
  5. Kyle Schwarber (17 HR, .490 SLG)
  6. Javier Baez (17 HR, .559 SLG)
  7. Freddie Freeman (16 HR, .536 SLG)
  8. Rhys Hoskins (14 HR, .469 SLG)

Predictions

Obviously, predicting the winner of the home run derby is both difficult and without merit. However, I find baseball fun in pretty much all forms so here we go with my predictions. Selections are in Red

First Round
Jesus Aguilar (1) vs. Rhys Hoskins (8)

Dodgers
Jun 28, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy (13) runs in a solo home run against the Chicago Cubs in the third inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Bregman (4) vs. Kyle Schwarber (5)

Bryce Harper (2) vs. Freddie Freeman (7)
Max Muncy (3) vs. Javier Baez (6)

Hoskins escapes narrowly in triumph over the 1 seed in Aguilar. Have you seen Hoskins at the plate? The dude is a straight masher. Schwarber defeats Bregman easily by a generous margin. I just don’t see Bregman competing with the sheer strength of Schwarber. Harper out-homers Freeman in a competitive but comfortable fashion. Freeman is an incredible hitter, he is just too balanced of a hitter to hit solely home runs. Muncy takes the first round narrowly in an impressive slug-fest by both Baez and Muncy.

Second Round

Rhys Hoskins (8) vs. Kyle Schwarber (5)

Bryce Harper (2) vs. Max Muncy (3) 

Hoskins continues to surprise by out-clubbing a powerhouse in Schwarber. I think this one will be the best match-up of the day. Muncy just doesn’t have enough in the tank to compete with Harper who will outlast ol’ Max in the power department.

Final Round

 

Rhys Hoskins (8) vs. Bryce Harper (2)

Hoskins takes the crown in an impressive defeat over Harper. Everyone loses their minds in Nationals Park as their knight in shining armor is upset in the finals.

As always, baseball has a way of never conforming to predictions or exhaustive analysis. These picks will probably be totally off and Harper and Hoskins will probably lose in the first round. But, that’s the beauty of baseball. Enjoy the derby as it gets underway Monday at 5pm PST on ESPN. Let’s go Max Muncy!

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Written by Eric Morse

Born and raised in Southern Oregon, Eric has always had a love for baseball. Growing up visiting LA often to watch the Dodgers, Eric comes from a long line of Dodger fanatics. He spends his time ministering to youth and following the Dodgers.

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