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2022 Home Run Derby prediction and pick from handicapper Ben Rajavuori. Ben breaks down the Home Run Derby in LA and tells us why Kyle Schwarber and Juan Soto are poised for big nights.

2022 Home Run Derby Prediction: Why Dodger Stadium Makes Juan Soto and Kyle Schwarber The Best Bets

The all-star break is here, and we have three days without baseball games to bet on (unless you count the all-star game). However, the degenerate in me can't handle that, so I've gone out of my way to spend time researching this year's home run derby to find the best spots to bet. After spending the last 24 hours trying to find the best angles for this year, I have come up with a few bets to help hold us over until games return on Thursday.

Obviously, the two-time defending champion, Pete Alonso, is the outright favorite to win the derby once again. However, I like either Soto or Schwarber to upset the three-peat. This is because of Dodger Stadium. Dodger Stadium is only about 20 miles off the Pacific Ocean, and anyone who lives near an ocean can tell you that it's always windier. Well, Dodger Stadium is also aimed northeast, meaning that any wind hitting the park is usually blowing towards right field because of its orientation. This has created an advantage for left-handed hitters over the years. The wind blows towards right field 61% of the time and to left field only 33% of the time. The wind is blowing southwest tonight, meaning it will be blowing almost directly across right field. This won't have the biggest effect in the world, but it may kill the carry on balls for right-handed hitters pulling the ball and give a little extra carry for left-handed hitters that aim towards right field. There are three left-handed hitters in the 2022 derby: Kyle Schwarber, Juan Soto, and Corey Seager (Ramirez is a switch-hitter).

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2022 MLB Home Run Derby Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: July 18, 2022
  • Start Time: 8:00 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: ESPN

Click here for the latest Home Run Derby odds

2022 Home Run Derby Prediction

2022 Outright Home Run Derby Winner Pick: Kyle Schwarber @ +350 (Bet $100 to win $350)

Kyle Schwarber is probably my favorite pick of the two, but it's no surprise, as he is the heaviest favorite behind Alonso, but for a good reason. Schwarber is one of the strongest hitters in the league, and he has the sixth-highest average exit velocity of all hitters in 2022, with an average exit velocity of 93 mph. The next hardest-hitter in the derby is Julio Rodriguez, who is 15th in the league with a 92 mph average exit velocity. Schwarber is also in the 100th percentile in stat cast for barrel percentage and 97th percentile for hard-hit balls.

2022 Outright Home Run Derby Winner Pick: Juan Soto @ +550 (Bet $100 to win $550)

First-Round Matchup Winner: 2 units - Juan Soto @ -190 (Bet $190 to win $100)

Normally I wouldn't advise ever putting two units on a home run derby play, but Juan Soto makes me confident enough to do it. Motivation is no worrying factor here, as both Pete Alonso and Juan Soto have made it very clear they are taking the home run derby seriously and are coming out with every intention to win. In 2021, Soto upset Shohei Ohtani in round 1, beating him 31-28. Then Soto met defending champion Pete Alonso in round 2, falling by just one home run, losing 15-16 (although Alonso hit the walk-off with plenty of time left). Soto has made it clear that he intends to take home the trophy this year, and part of that mentality starts with who you pick to pitch to you.

Who you pick to pitch in the home run derby has shown to have a lot more impact than people may believe. Some guys pick someone their dads, and it ends up sabotaging them, as either they just aren't good at throwing batting practice, or they get nervous and make worse throws than normal, as several dad derby pitchers have admitted in the past. However, as part of Soto's all-in mentality, he, like Alonso, has picked someone with both batting practice experience and a knowledge of Soto's bat. Jorge Mejia will be Soto's pitcher, and the two met when Soto was 17. Mejia is Soto's offseason batting coach and has thrown him endless rounds of batting practice over the years while also helping his swing. Mejia knows the locations to throw it, and Soto has said in interviews that Mejia is very accurate in batting practice. Jose Ramirez is going the completely different route with his pitching pick, as he is going more the emotional route.

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Junior Betances will be the pitcher for Ramirez tonight, and Betances is a family friend of Ramirez. While this is a nice gesture, it will give him a disadvantage in the matchup against Soto, who is using a more experienced batting practice pitcher. This is Ramirez's first appearance in the home run derby, and first-time derby participants who pick pitchers based on their emotions typically don't fare as well.

Soto has the derby experience in this matchup and has made it known that he is not here for anything but to win. Ramirez is also 112th in exit velocity this season, while Soto is 44th. Soto knows the exact strategy to hitting the most home runs, as he's told the media he will not be swinging for the moon but instead keeping a consistent swing just enough to get it over the fence to preserve energy for later swings. Soto is the favorite here for a reason, and if it were over -200, I wouldn't take it, but I'm willing to back him at -190 here, and he is my favorite bet in the first round.

Article Author


Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.


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