Alright, now that the final list of participants has been announced, its about time to look at some of the stats so we can inaccurately predict a winner. It kind of worked last year.
Let’s take a quick look at the participants and their season home run totals:
|American League||National League|
|Nelson Cruz (TEX) – 21||Prince Fielder (MIL) – 22|
|Carlos Pena (TB) – 24||Adrian Gonzalez (SD) – 24|
|Joe Mauer (MIN) – 15||Ryan Howard (PHI) – 22|
|Brandon Inge (DET) – 21||Albert Pujols (STL) – 32|
I look at this field and I think it has the star power that people are looking for in a Home Run Derby. Most of the players fit my two requirements: he can hit a lot of home runs and he can hit them a long way. Of course, last year taught us that lack of star power doesn’t make for a bad Derby and vice versa.
Last year’s top career home run hitter was Lance Berkman who had 281 blasts at the time. This year, hometown hero Albert Pujols will carry 351 bombs into the Derby, assuming he doesn’t hit any during today’s double header with the Cubs. In fact, last year’s Derby only boasted three players with over 100 career homers. This year, five of the 8 participants have between 100 and 200 homers (Pena – 187, Inge – 117, Howard – 198, Gonzalez – 121, and Fielder – 136) and only two have under 100 (Cruz – 43 and Mauer – 59).
Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies will be participating in his third Derby, he won it in 2006 in Pittsburgh and hit three homers in San Francisco the following year. Pujols will also take part in his third Derby; he finished second to Garret Anderson in 2005 and finished tied for third in San Francisco. Fielder was also in that San Francisco Derby where he managed just three homers.
From a team perspective, only the Phillies (Howard 2006), Rangers (Juan Gonzalez 1993), and Twins (Justin Morneau 2008) have seen a winner wearing their uniform.
Finally, just for kicks, lets take a look at each hitter’s longest homer of the year. All this information is coming from Hittrackeronline.
Adrian Gonzalez has the longest homer in the field when he took Ross Ohlendorf for a 471 foot ride back in April.
Gonzalez only bests Carlos Pena by five feet as he took Washington’s Jordan Zimmerman 466 feet on June 13th.
Right behind them is Mr. Pujols who hit a 465 foot shot off of Randy Johnson on June 30th. I believe this was the one that took out the “I” in “Big Mac Land” but I could be wrong. This is also the longest homer so far in Busch Stadium.
Brandon Inge touched up former Blue Jays closer BJ Ryan for a 460 foot homer back in early April.
Prince Fielder matched Inge with a 460 shot of his own off Johan Santana.
Nelson Cruz has a 454 foot homer to his credit. He took Oakland’s Keven Cameron deep back in late May.
Ryan Howard hit a 452 foot bomb off of Florida’s Chris Volstad in late May.
Joe Mauer’s longest homer of the year came at the New Yankee Stadium off Phil Coke in May which traveled 426 feet.
So now it’s time for my meaningless prediction. The park doesn’t seem to favor lefties or righties and it doesn’t seem that career homers has much to do with this. We have a former winner in the field, but he didn’t do to well in the latest contest. Pujols will be the favorite since it’s his home ballpark and he’s a freak. Mauer and Cruz could surprise people.
I don’t know who I’m trying to kid. Pujols is going to win. He’s not human and he’s locked in right now.
Just a reminder, I’ll be there tomorrow night with my camera. Come back and read about my experience in St. Louis.