In a field featuring a number of solid sluggers, but fewer oh-obviously-that-guy-is-gonna-destroy types than in years past, I think the Cubs’ duo of Javy Baez and Kyle Schwarber have a chance to do some damage in this Home Run Derby. I will be watching and enjoying that happen.
But I’m gonna be honest with you up front: I don’t love either of them to win the thing. Before you come at me, let me offer an explanation.
As Schwarber has evolved as a hitter, his swing has become less home-run friendly, and more line-drive oriented. Sure, it allows him to hit absolute monster rocket homers, but it also isn’t not necessarily conducive to hitting tons of homers in a derby format. I could see Schwarber hitting a few whoppers, but maybe not a huge volume.
Baez, by contrast, I *do* feel like has the kind of swing to hit a ton of homers in a derby format. His swing generates the right kind of fly balls to hit a lot out in a very short time, but it’s also a max-effort swing. Very max-effort. I don’t know if Javy knows anything other than max-effort when he’s swinging for dingers. So while I could see Baez hitting a lot of homers, say, in the first round, I wonder if he’d be one of the guys who wears down quickly. It’s a legitimately tiring event!
That said, it’s just for fun anyway, so I’m very fine being wrong on this one. In fact, if either Cubs hitter reaches the finals, I’ll donate $100 to Make-A-Wish for the Blogathon. And if a Cub wins it, I’ll donate another $100.
The official odds out there from Bovada, though, don’t think the Cubs hitters will fare too well:
Bryce Harper – 11/4
Jesus Aguilar – 7/2
Max Muncy – 5/1
Freddie Freeman – 11/2
Rhys Hoskins – 11/2
Javy Baez – 6/1
Alex Bregman – 9/1
Kyle Schwarber – 9/1
I think that’s all mostly fair. I’m not quite sure why Max Muncy is up there like he is, but Jesus Aguilar is such a thumper and Bryce Harper is Bryce Harper. It’d be fun to see him win it in DC, too.
The Home Run Derby is Monday night on ESPN at 7pm CT.