Home Run Derby Preview
Monday, 8:00 pm Eastern – ESPN
The 2009 Home Run Derby on Monday will feature a number of top home run hitters including local favorite Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals. Pujols leads the league in home runs while San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez is second. Gonzalez is also in the contest along with Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard, Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder, Texas’ Nelson Cruz, Minnesota’s Joe Mauer, Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena and Detroit’s Brandon Inge. While the list may not seem imposing other than Pujols it is very representative of the league leaders. Pujols leads the National League and is the favorite in Home Run Derby odds while Gonzalez is second and Howard and Fielder are tied for fifth. Pena leads the American League with Cruz second and Inge tied for fourth. Howard won the Home Run Derby in 2006 while Pujols was the runner-up to Garret Anderson in the 2003 event.
Current HR Derby Homerun Odds from Bookmaker Sportsbook
ALBERT PUJOLS +180
RYAN HOWARD +275
ADRIAN GONZALEZ +500
JOE MAUER +850
PRINCE FIELDER +350
NELSON CRUZ +800
BRANDON INGE +1000
CARLOS PENA +600 .
Many of the players around baseball didn’t want to compete in the Home Run Derby because they fear it will mess up their swing but not Minnesota’s Joe Mauer. "I just think it's a great event," Mauer said. "Home Run Derby -- I always told my buddies when we were younger -- we always played it in the back yard and stuff like that. I always told them, if I ever had the opportunity to do it, I would jump at it, and it happened this year." Mauer is one of the few people not worried that his swing will be affected. "I don't think one night will affect your swing for the rest of the season," Mauer said. "It might be a little tiring, but as far as mechanically, I don't think so."
Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz is not worried about messing up his swing either. "I hear people say that," Cruz said. "It's just like taking BP for me. I always do better the second half [of the season]. I don't know why. I work a lot harder, trying to keep myself strong until the end of the season. I don't worry about it." Cruz’s teammate Josh Hamilton finished second last year and Cruz thinks he has a shot this year. "I think I have a chance," Cruz said, “I don't expect to hit 20 homers like Josh."
Pena was added to the All-Star roster as a late replacement for Dustin Pedroia and was the final person added to the MLB Betting Home Run Derby. He is excited to be a part of it. "It's just a cool thing," Pena aid. "That's the best way to describe it. It would be so cool."
Our Pick to win the HR derby is: Adrian Gonzalez!