Judge may rule HR Derby in Miami
Eight of baseball’s best sluggers will square off in the 2017 Home Run Derby at Marlins Park on Monday. Under the format implemented before the 2015 Derby, each player will be seeded in a single-elimination, eight-player bracket. Batters have four minutes in each round to hit as many home runs as they can.
Here is who we think will win. Hint: It’s the same person you think will win.
First round: No. 1 Giancarlo Stanton vs. No. 8 Gary Sanchez
Sanchez missed almost a month with a biceps injury, leaving him with just 13 home runs entering Saturday. Stanton is a hometown favorite.
Predicted winner: Sanchez, 69.3 percent
First round: No. 2 Aaron Judge vs. No. 7 Justin Bour
Judge leads the majors in home runs (30) and slugging percentage (.701). Bour has not hit more than 23 home runs in a season and averaged just 398 feet per home run.
Predicted winner: Judge, 81.3 percent
First round: No. 3 Cody Bellinger vs. No. 6 Charlie Blackmon
Bellinger has been crushing the ball and appears poised to take advantage of the short right-field fence at Marlins Park.
Predicted winner: Bellinger, 97.6 percent
First round: No. 4 Mike Moustakas vs. No. 5 Miguel Sano
Moustakas is having a career year, batting .275 with 25 home runs and a .570 slugging percentage.
Predicted winner: Moustakas, 61.5 percent Semifinal: Judge vs. Bellinger Judge’s home runs go longer, are hit harder and go to all fields, giving him an edge even if he doesn’t get the exact pitch he is looking for.
Predicted winner: Judge, 78.4 percent
Semifinal: Moustakas vs. Sanchez
Moustakas sets up in the batter’s box four seconds faster than Sanchez, an advantage in a timed event in which getting into a rhythm could be a difference-maker.
Predicted winner: Moustakas, 53.1 percent Final: Judge vs. Moustakas It’s no surprise to see Judge in the final round, but how much he beats Moustakas by could be stunning.
Judge is better at hitting the ball on the sweet spot with twice as many barreled home runs (18) off fastballs as Moustakas (nine). And Judge hits those balls much harder with a faster swing speed, giving him more room for error in the contest.
And we predict Judge has an 88.9 percent chance of winning.