2018 Home Run Derby: Full Bracket and Predictions

Right when we’re all lulled into a slumber because of the lack of sports to watch, the MLB’s All-Star Break quietly nudges us awake. While the All-Star game itself may be rather boring, the Home Run Derby may give you a shot of adrenaline. Keep reading to find out who is the MLB Home Run Derby favorite.

Major League Baseball Home Run Derby

  • When: Tuesday, July 16, 2018
  • Where: Nationals Park

2018 HOME RUN DERBY PROPS

Format

The 2018 Home Run Derby will follow the same format as how it was established in 2015.

Eight players do battle in a single-elimination tournament to determine a winner. They’re seeded one through eight based on the number of home runs hit by Tuesday, July 10.

Predictions

This year, the home run derby has the usual challenges for players. Each batter is given four minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. Hitters will receive an extra 30 seconds in their round if they hit at two balls measuring at least 440 feet.

But, but I see a few key factors for this year’s bunch that can make it an interesting competition.

The first seed faces the eighth seed, No. 2 plays No. 7, No. 3 goes toe to toe with No. 6 and then No. 4 vs. No. 5 rounds out the quarterfinals:

Left side of the bracket

1. Jesus Aguilar, Brewers vs. 8. Rhys Hoskins, Phillies

Aguilar has a 45.4 percent hard-hit contact rate compared to Hoskins’ 32%. While Hoskins is one the big reasons why Philadelphia is still in the race for the playoffs, that’s still a significant hurdle to overcome for him.

Winner: Aguilar

4. Alex Bregman, Astros vs. 5. Kyle Schwarber, Cubs

Kyle Schwarber will be taking his pitches from Mike Sinicola, who was his personal batting practice pitcher in Florida. They may play into giving Schwarber an advantage. Bregman will undoubtedly hold his own, but Schwarber will likely pull ahead in the bonus time.

Winner: Schwarber

Right side of the bracket

Bryce Harper, Nationals vs. 7 Freddie Freeman, Braves

The Nationals ballpark tends to favor the left-handed batters, like Harper, because the right field is the shortest distance, at 335 total feet. But, the left field is just two feet deeper than the right which means the advantage is not a big one. Freddie Freeman is a great hitter, but he'll be playing against Harper’s home crowd. It’s a fairly even matchup, but Harper will want to give his adoring fans something to cheer about.

Winner: Harper

Max Muncy, Dodgers vs. 6. Javier Baez, Cubs

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ infielder, has a significant advantage over the Cubs’ second baseman; Muncy has a 44.2 percent fly-ball rate and a 46.5 percent hard-hit contact rate against right-handers, so expect him to follow on through the second round.

Winner: Muncy

Expected Potential Matchups

No. 1 Jesus Aguilar vs. No. 5 Kyle Schwarber

The first semifinals will be close; At +300 Aguilar is second favored on the odds to win it all, just ahead of Schwarber. He's the pick to move on.

Winner: Aguilar

No. 2 Bryce Harper vs. No. 3 Max Muncy

It should be one heck of a battle between two hard-hitting lefties. Though Muncy has been hitting the ball somewhat harder than Harper this year against righties, Harper is the home-crowd, and odds on, favorite and will advance by a homer or two.

Winner: Harper

No. 5 Kyle Schwarber vs. No. 2 Bryce Harper

Harper and Schwarber are the betting favorites to win the MLB Home Run Derby.

Harper is a +225 favorite to win it all and that’s probably because of the way he strikes fear into opposing pitchers. He’s already hit 173 homers in his short career, 23 of which have come in the first half of this season alone.

Schwarber, on the other hand, has been hitting the ball well, riding last season’s momentum into an 18 home run first half this year. But, I don’t think he’ll win.

Winner: Harper