Major League Baseball made the obvious move of adding Javier Baez to the 2018 Home Run Derby and Chicago Cubs fans got another surprise as Kyle Schwarber was picked to compete too.
The field has been set and so have the matchups.
Dingers on deck.
— MLB (@MLB) July 12, 2018
As you can see in the bracket, there’s a chance we could see an all-Cubs final, as Baez and Schwarber are on opposite sides of the tournament.
Anyway, the odds don’t particularly love the Cubs. Here they are via Bovada.
- Bryce Harper – 11/4
- Jesus Aguilar – 7/2
- Max Muncy – 5/1
- Freddie Freeman – 11/2
- Rhys Hoskins – 11/2
- Javier Baez – 6/1
- Alex Bregman – 9/1
- Kyle Schwarber – 9/1
So, if you go by those odds, Baez is the slight underdog against Max Muncy in the first round and well Schwarber vs. Alex Bregman is too tough to call as they both have the same odds to win it all, so there’s no clear advantage in the first round.
Schwarber has changed his swing this season and although he has 17 home runs, he doesn’t have the same swing path that screams home run. Yet, there’s no doubt that a man with Schwarber’s strength can still be dangerous. Expect at least a few bombs hit by him.
Meanwhile, Javier Baez has the perfect home run swing. Not sure if he’ll tire himself out or not, but man is he going to be exciting to watch.
If you haven’t watched the home run derby in years because you think it’s boring, you should definitely check it out and it’s not just because Baez and Schwarber are in it this time. The new format has really improved the overall event and has made some great entertainment.
As a refresher, here are the rules of the new format to the home run derby.
Batters will have four minutes per round. The clock starts with the release of the first pitch. Interestingly, when the new format was created in 2015, batters were supposed to have five minutes per round. With rain in the forecast in Cincinnati that night, the decision was made to shorten the rounds to four minutes. The event went so well that MLB opted to keep the four-minute rounds in effect.
It should be noted that once the second player in a given round exceeds the home run total of his opponent, the round ends. There is no need for a player to add to his tally.
After the first round, the winner of the Aguilar-Hoskins matchup will meet the winner of Bregman-Schwarber. On the other side of the bracket, the Harper-Freeman winner faces the Muncy-Baez winner. The two players left standing will meet in the final round.
Can players stop the clock?
Yes. In the first round and semifinals, each batter is entitled to one 45-second timeout. In the finals, each batter gets two timeouts — one for 45 seconds and another for 30 seconds.
In the 2015 semifinals against Josh Donaldson, Frazier took his timeout with one minute, 49 seconds remaining in the round while trailing, 9-6. He regrouped and wound up tying Donaldson with less than 10 seconds left before drilling a 444-foot blast just as time expired to advance to the finals against Joc Pederson.
The timeout wound up working against Frazier a year later, because after Stanton hit just six homers in the first 1:35 of the finals, he took a timeout, then pounded out 14 more following the breather to take the title away from the Toddfather.
Can participants earn bonus time?
Yes, 30 seconds of bonus time will be awarded for hitting at least two home runs that each equal or exceed 440 feet. Distances will be tracked and posted using Statcast™. Any bonus time will be awarded at the end of the initial four-minute round and the timer will not stop during the bonus time period.
Last year, Judge hit four homers that traveled more than 500 feet, so he maxed out his bonus time — and he needed that extension to exceed opponent Justin Bour’s total of 22 homers in the first round.
How are ties broken?
Ties in any round will be broken by a 60-second swing-off with no stoppage of time or additional time added. If a tie remains after the swing-off, batters will engage in successive three-swing swing-offs until there is a winner.
The HR derby will start at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN Monday. So, place your bets!