The Home Run Derby is upon us, and for the third consecutive year a Dodgers rookie All-Star is taking part. The Dodgers-centric stage belongs to Cody Bellinger on Monday night.
Bellinger and friends will be televised by ESPN beginning at 5 p.m. PT.
For years, mentioning the words “Home Run Derby” and Dodgers in the same sentence was to speak of futility. From 1993-2014, seven Dodgers appearances in the event produced just 10 total home runs, half of which were hit by Hee Seop Choi.
Hee Seop Choi should never top a franchise leaderboard in anything except easiest three-syllable name to chant.
That all changed in 2015, when Joc Pederson put on a show, advancing to the finals and hitting 38 total home runs in three rounds, but he lost to Todd Frazier, then of the Reds in his home park in Cincinnati.
In 2016, Corey Seager hit 15 home runs in the first round, more than any of Pederson’s three rounds (13, 12, and 14) the previous year. But despite the third-highest total in the eight-player field in the first round, Seager was eliminated because he was matched up with Mark Trumbo, who hit 16 in the opening round.
Bellinger enters the All-Star break with 25 home runs, just one off the National League lead despite starting the season in Triple-A for three weeks. He is the third seed, as this year’s contestants were ranked by home run totals through July 4. The lone exception was that Giancarlo Stanton was awarded the top seed as the defending champion.
There are two literal behemoths in the field in Stanton and New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge, the latter leading the majors with 30 home runs. Bellinger has to face Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon in the first round, but should he advance a potential matchup with Judge in the second round awaits, with Stanton potentially looming in the finals.
The folks at Bovada understandably have Stanton and Judge with the best odds to win the Home Run Derby, but Bellinger has the third-best odds in the tournament:
- Stanton +160 (if you bet $100, you win $160)
- Judge +180
- Bellinger +600
- Miguel Sano +800
- Blackmon +1400
- Mike Moustakas +1400
- Justin Bour +1400
- Gary Sanchez +1600
Bellinger will have his dad, former major leaguer Clay Bellinger, pitch to him during the derby on Monday night.