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The Home Run Derby is tonight, which means at least 60 minutes of being subjected to Chris Berman saying back back back. Robinson Cano and Adrian Gonzalez whooped everyone last year, with Cano taking the crown by a single dinger (bonus points if you remembered that).

Who will win this year? Let's have at it.

Andrew McCutchen   - Odds: 9.5/1 / Previous Best: N/A / MLB Rank: t-15th
Carlos Beltran          -  Odds: 7.5/1 / PB: N/A / MLB Rank: t-9th
Carlos Gonzalez       -  Odds: 7.5/1 / PB: N/A / MLB Rank: t-18th
Matt Kemp               -  Odds: 6.7/1 / PB: 2 (8th) / MLB Rank: t-really far back
NL: 3/2

Jose Bautista     -   Odds: 3.9/1 / PB: 4 (6th) / MLB Rank: t-1st
Mark Trumbo      -  Odds: 5.3/1 / 1 PB: N/A / MLB Rank: t-7th
Prince Fielder     -  Odds: 5.5/1 / PB: 23 (1st) / MLB Rank: t-26th
Robinson Cano    -  Odds: 4.5/1 / PB: 32 (1st) / MLB Rank: t-9th
AL: 5/9

Odds from: (you're going to have to take my word that these are the most accurate - stuff like this is a joke).

Kauffman stadium is symmetrical, so the handedness of the batters shouldn't come into play.  It's hard not to see the American League as the favourites - they are more experienced, and have the more prolific home run hitters. So, predictions - who wins it?

I'll go out on not really a limb here and predict that Mark Trumbo takes this year's title.

Home Run Derby! | 19 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Paul D - Monday, July 09 2012 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#260022) #
Is there anyway to watch this without cable? That could be the downside of ditching cable and watching the Jays via Rogers anyplace...
Lugnut Fan - Monday, July 09 2012 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#260029) #
I might be in the minority here, but I don't care for the HR derby at all.  It isn't going anywhere as MLB makes a ton of money off it though as evidenced by a sold out stadium coming to watch guys basically take BP.
fozzy - Monday, July 09 2012 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#260038) #
It would be okay if it wasn't sooooooooooo long. Why not just add up AL vs. NL homeruns and there's your winner - whoever hits the most HR is awarded $100,000 to give to a charity of their choice? This round-robin business stretches the HR derby into a three hour marathon that is helped little by Chris Berman's nattering (though in fairness, what else is he gonna talk about?) It would be nice if they could get the home team announcers of the participants in the booth to talk to them about the players and teams, or find someone who is knowledgeable to talk about them.
fozzy - Monday, July 09 2012 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#260039) #
I should clarify that the individual who hits the most HR would get to donate 100K to charity.
neurolaw - Monday, July 09 2012 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#260049) #
I thought Bautista would have asked Cecil to throw BP to him.

I can envision the conversation:

Jose: Hey Brett can you throw me BP for e thHR derby?
Brett: Sure buddy, how hard do you want me to throw it?
Jose: As hard as you can.
neurolaw - Monday, July 09 2012 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#260052) #
Abraham is pitching better than the entire Jays staff.
greenfrog - Monday, July 09 2012 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#260053) #
I just thought of a way for Coco to earn some extra cash.
hypobole - Monday, July 09 2012 @ 10:58 PM EDT (#260055) #
Abraham is pitching better than the entire Jays staff.

I dunno. I thought he was exactly like the Jays staff with all the trouble he had throwing strikes.
Anders - Monday, July 09 2012 @ 11:11 PM EDT (#260056) #
Jose: Hey Brett can you throw me BP for e thHR derby?
Brett: Sure buddy, how hard do you want me to throw it?
Jose: As hard as you can.


acepinball - Tuesday, July 10 2012 @ 04:40 AM EDT (#260057) #
Yep, neurolaw, best joke of the all-star break, right there. +100
MatO - Tuesday, July 10 2012 @ 09:23 AM EDT (#260061) #
Just in.  Abraham is going to see Dr. Andrews.
Mike Green - Tuesday, July 10 2012 @ 09:26 AM EDT (#260062) #
You win, Mat.

P.S. The ballboys are next.  The turf at the Rogers Centre is murder on the UCL.

sam - Tuesday, July 10 2012 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#260083) #
The Toronto Star has a piece up right now grading the players, coaches, and management for their first half performance. I was wondering if people here would be interested in doing that? It could be a good tool to see how we all evaluate the team?

My Harvey "C" Mansfield grades in brackets:

JP Arencibia - B- (C)
This grade is more about what we were told Arencibia would be this season than anything. There was a lot of talk of Arencibia becoming a more complete player this Spring Training, but that has since evaporated. If you accept that Arencibia is a below-average defender and poor hitter, with power being his only redeeming quality, than this grade is very harsh as he's basically on pace to repeat last year's performance. However, I think we expected a lot more of Arencibia and more importantly, there seems to be a general aversion from the pitching staff to pitch to Arencibia. He has not "clicked" with Romero and every Alvarez start with Arencibia behind the plate seems to result in some sort of dugout argument between the two. The coaching staff is now giving Mathis (rightfully) a few more starts here and there, which in part might have to do with the fact that Arencibia has the worst CERA of all qualifying catchers in baseball. Young players are usually given a bogey or two their first couple years in the league, but coaches, scouts, and management want to see a player develop and improve the more subjective aspects of their game. I don't think you can say Arencibia has improved much.

Adam Lind - C- (D-)
The only thing keeping Adam Lind from a fail is his recent performance. Lind has been a disaster for the Jays. For essentially two months we had to watch him scuffle at fairly epic proportions for a first basemen. He didn't hit for average or power, and played one of the worst first base I have ever seen. The only thing he seemed to do well was take the walk a bit more. The real kicker here is we're essentially stuck with him for the next couple years. I don't think I'll ever warm to Lind or see him in any other light but negative. For me he'll always be the guy who doesn't hit in the clutch or against good pitching, is too passive at the plate, and wonky in the field. New this year to my feelings towards Lind; he didn't get himself into shape to play a season of baseball. Thus, we'll go into the offseason and over the course of the winter months we'll slowly convince ourselves that Lind will return to something resembling his 2009 season and that three seasons of sub-.300 OBP were really an anomaly. Lind is a platoon hitter at best and maybe in the half season left he can put together a nice line against right handed pitching.

Edwin Encarnacion - A+ (A)
He has been a revelation and a real coup for Anthopoulos, who stuck by him for a number of years when things just weren't right for Eddie. Encarnacion came in to the season with a new mechanical adjustment, one which seemed so obvious to any fan; keep two hands on the bat when you swing. Jays fans and Encarnacion can have Robinson Cano's dad--he of the 80 mph batting practice arm--to thank as he was the one who reportedly worked with Encarnacion to make that adjustment in the offseason. That Encarnacion wasn't an all-star this season was just a tad ridiculous as he led AL DH's in HR and RBIs, while sporting a healthy .295 average at the break. Eddie runs a bit, walks a bit, and probably doesn't get enough credit for the defense he does play at 1B. In my mind he should have been at the all-star game. For the Jays, Encarnacion's importance cannot be overstated. He has provided the very necessary protection to Bautista in our batting order, and I would argue the secondary run producing threat in the middle of the order the Jays have sorely lacked in recent years. That he is athletic and on pace to steal 15+ bases should be noted as well. By all accounts, he is a good person in the locker room, low-maintenance, and well liked. Going forward you hope that he stays healthy for the whole season, which has been an issue for him, and the Jays lock him for the next few years. That, or they trade him for a small ransom. I'm hoping they keep him. Well deserving of the grade.

Kelly Johnson - B (C+)
Johnson was what we hoped we were getting in the months of April and May. Some HR, some walks, and some SBs. In June, however, he didn't hit a HR and continued to K at a fairly alarming rate. Johnson has battled hamstring issues, which I think we can fairly assume has played some part in his OK stats this year. While he'll likely improve on last year's overall stat line, he has not rebounded to his career 2010 season, which many fans were hoping. Coupled with Aaron Hill's very, very good season in Arizona, it's hard to get too excited or to give Kelly Johnson a good grade. Johnson is the second highest paid Blue Jay this year. I somewhat doubt the Jays making a commitment beyond one year to him, although I'm unsure whether he would get term from another team. His future with the Jays is up in the air. If Johnson could get hot here in the next two weeks, he just might convince another GM to part with a prospect to acquire Johnson. He is 2.3 WAR player. When he's hot and because he can do so much, Johnson looks to be one of the best second basemen in baseball. That might be the best scenario for the Jays.

Yunel Escobar - B- (C+)
Yunel just hasn't hit as well as last season. He is still a 2.5 WAR player, which is saying something about SS production and how good he was last year. Escobar, however, was asked to be the leadoff guy he was last year and I would say he was a bit of a let down in that category. To my eye, he settles for mediocre at the plate, content to move the runner over from second to third instead of trying to drive him in. I'll be the first to admit that this is a bit ridiculous picking on him for essentially getting the job done, but I don't think it's unfair to be critical of the overall approach in those situations. It wares on me as does the amount of softly hit ground balls, which have inevitably translated to 13 GDP. Putting him in a tie for second in that category in all of baseball. In the field I don't have many complaints. Sometimes I think his defence has dropped off, but then most defensive metrics say otherwise, so who knows. It would be a real boost to the offense if he could get back to the player he was last year. The ability to hit for average and get on base the way he did last year would be greatly appreciated in a line-up that is particular challenged in those respects.

Brett Lawrie - A- (B+)
It's funny now that this time last year we were fretting whether Lawrie was going to be able to play 3B. The offense we all knew was there, but the defence we sometimes questioned. While he is tied for second for most errors by a 3B, I understand that most advanced defensive metrics say he is the best 3B by far in all baseball. I tend to agree with the metrics on this point, especially since they are backed up by scouts and "baseball" people who say Lawrie gets to more ground balls than any other 3B. I don't think Lawrie is yet the GG most assume he deserves this year. Errors are errors and I have a hard time accepting that the powers that be will put more weight on somewhat inconclusive stats to award the GG award over the more traditional evaluation. That's just my opinion, which I'm sure people will disagree with. Offensively, I would say the season for Lawrie has been a bit of a grind. He was not going to produce similar numbers as last year, but I think it would be fair to say we expected him to be above .800 OPS. I say grind because pitchers have pitched him a variety of ways and he has yet to really get hot for an extended period of time. He had a very good June so hopefully he continues to hit well into the second half of the season. Lawrie seems to be now the club's leadoff hitter, which I have mixed feelings about. He has excelled at the top of the order, scoring more runs in the month of June than April and May combined. He is the opening act of baseball's best 1-4 batting order, so there's that. I still, however, cling to the belief that your 3B and Lawrie's talents may best be suited to the middle of the order, where he could drive in runs and run and maybe have the more attractive stat line. But Lawrie is such a talent that his skill set projects anywhere across the batting order. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Rajai Davis - B+ (B)
Davis by all means hasn't been bad since assuming everyday playing time in LF. He's hitting close to .300 and stealing some bases. He doesn't walk that much, but then again he doesn't strike out at a Kelly Johnson-type rate. He makes things happen, sometimes for the worst, on the base paths. Ultimately though, and AA has said the same, Davis is perhaps best suited as a platoon hitter or bench player on a good team. The feeling is that Davis is filling in until we get that LF who is the more complete player. I don't know when that's going to be as George Bell is unavailable and I'm unconvinced that Travis Snider or Eric Thames is that guy, although I am in that camp that we need to give Snider one last shot here. Davis is deserving of this grade and I hope he continues his excellent play, if anything he would be a mighty attractive piece to any "playoff" team come the end of July.

Eric Thames - D- (F)
Thames won the LF job out of Spring Training, but since failed to make the grade and was demoted to Las Vegas. As a result, I think he has been pushed to the back of the line in the revolving door that is LF between Snider, Davis, and Thames. Thames, by all reports, is a hard worker and should get another opportunity to claim an outfield gig either with the Jays or elsewhere.

Colby Rasmus - A- (B+)
A mechanical adjustment and batting order change has transformed Rasmus into one of the more dominant hitters in all of baseball. The man squares up the baseball a lot and does things on the baseball field that only a few people are able to do (see John Axford HR). Combine the offensive production with that defence in CF and you have something very rare. Rasmus has really come into his own these past couple months and is a real pleasure to watch. To nitpick here, he could stand to hit for some more average and walk a bit more, which is seems to be doing so far in July. I also wouldn't mind seeing him steal a few bags, however, that would be a bit counterintuitive considering Jose Bautista's penchant for HRs. If he continues at this pace that he's set these past two months, he could very well set career highs and I wouldn't put it past him to out slug (%) his position in the AL.

Jose Bautista - A- (B)
If you were the compare Bautista to his own lofty standards, you might say well he's having a standard year, but where are the hits? To anyone else's standard he's in another world. Tied for most HR in baseball and walking at an excellent rate, Bautista has been very, very good. He has improved each month since the beginning of the season and looks primed for a big second half. All this to go along with a MLB leading (OF) 13 assists and you have something special.
China fan - Tuesday, July 10 2012 @ 08:25 PM EDT (#260086) #
Thanks, Sam, for the interesting comments. One correction: Rajai Davis is not hitting "close to .300" any more. His season BA is .253 and his OPS has fallen to exactly .700. Over the past 12 games, his OPS is an abysmal .457.

I think it's safe to say that Davis is not hitting strongly enough to be blocking Snider any more. On the other hand, Snider himself might not be quite ready for the seemingly inevitable promotion yet. Over the past 10 games, Snider has an OPS of just .761 with only 3 extra-base hits. He's not quite back to the old mashing habits, so he might need a few more weeks before getting promoted.

When Snider does get promoted, I wouldn't want Davis to disappear into an invisible Francisco-style bench role. I'd rather see him getting a fair amount of rotating work in the OF and at DH to keep him as a semi-regular. His speed is too valuable to be neglected in a bench role.

And if Davis can occasionally replace Snider in the OF, this might also allow Snider to be worked into a full-time job with a bit less pressure -- if the fans could stop going into apoplexy if he doesn't play every single game. I think Davis has shown his value, and it won't harm Snider's development if Davis occasionally replaces him -- as long as the Jays have even a remote chance at the playoffs, anyway. Once they're out of contention, sure, let Snider play every game.
sam - Tuesday, July 10 2012 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#260087) #
I should have specified that hitting close to .300 since assuming full-time playing duties. My apology.
China fan - Tuesday, July 10 2012 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#260088) #
Even that's not really correct any more. Davis got the full-time job on May 29. Since then, his BA is .268 and his OPS is .698.
scottt - Tuesday, July 10 2012 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#260089) #
I still don't know why we have Ben Francisco on the bench and no corner infielder.

I would have liked to see Hech for a bit while KJ takes the time to heal up.
I don't think it would have made a difference in the standings.

Realistically, there is not enough pitching to last through August. That's painfully obvious. So, what now?
sam - Tuesday, July 10 2012 @ 10:13 PM EDT (#260090) #
Ricky Romero - C- (D-)
To sum Romero's season thus far, I'd like to plagiarize one of my favourite movie reviews:

"'Romero' fails so completely (this season) that you might suspect (Romero) sold his soul to the Devil to obtain the success of (his past few seasons) and the Devil has just come around to collect."

That didn't work as well as I imagined it and it may be a bit harsh as he is still on pace to win 15 games, but Romero has been the exact opposite of staff ace. He is epitome of what is wrong with the pitching staff. Inability to throw strikes and inability to get back into the dugout in crucial situations. He does not "lead the way" for the staff, sulks and throws a tantrum after a bad inning, and just doesn't seem to understand how to throw a pitched baseball properly after four seasons in the Big Leagues. Sure the numbers are ugly, but it's that he's the appointed staff leader and has looked so bad compiling them that makes his season thus far such a disaster in my mind. That he takes to twitter after each poor start to vent his frustration on critical fans probably is a tad unwarranted. Glass half full: Romero could regain his control/emotions/velocity and have a nice back end of the season. Glass half empty: Romero continues to walk people at a miserable rate, hurts himself in one of his post-inning hissy fits, and the Jays pitching staff leads baseball in walks allowed. For me, this season has been a revelation of sorts for Romero. I, like many here, convinced myself that Romero was a bonafide ace and that in time he would learn to dominate some of the better teams in baseball. I think the reality is he'll always struggle with walks and perhaps is best considered a solid no. 2 pitcher and perhaps a very good no. 3.

Brandon Morrow - A- (B)
An injury has curtailed a breakout campaign for Morrow. While a significant injury, fortunately it was unrelated to his throwing arm. In 77 innings, Morrow had three complete game shut-outs and was sporting a 3.01 ERA much improved from last years 4.72 mark. The strikeouts are down, but I think most here will take that considering the leaps and bounds he's seemed to make in his ability to pitch. In most starts he would almost exclusively feature a low 90s fastball and mid 80s slider. He would locate these to almost perfection and teased hitters by mixing in a mid-upper 90s fastball or big hook, and even the occasional change-up. Just so they knew it was there. Morrow, who we had heard for several seasons was working to find that perfect balance between effort and command seemed to have found it in those 77 innings before his injury this season. Let's hope he finds it again in the second half.

Henderson Alvarez - B (C+)
I don't know if Alvarez has disappointed this season. I personally think those who expected Alvarez to post sub-4.00 ERA this season with essentially one good pitch and two mediocre offerings, with a pretty straightforward overall repertoire might be dreaming a bit too much. Guys who just don't have much swing and miss to their game don't fair too well. You go through a start and more often than not there will be a couple situations where a strikeout is almost necessary. Alvarez just doesn't have that capacity. The grade, however, while mostly about his overall statistical line, which has been underwhelming, is also due to what I sometimes view as a general indifference on the mound. Alvarez can be too casual at times and never seems to be on the same page as his catcher. Sometimes I do wonder if he pays attention to pre-game meetings cause it seems that at times he gets it into his head that he wants to throw a bunch of sliders or wants to challenge guys in certain situations. A couple HRs, by the way, 17 HRs for a ground ball guy like him is way too many. Anyways, a couple HRs, I've noted have come when Alvarez has shook off the catcher. He fields his position extremely well, but I get the impression that Alvarez is a good backend guy rather than someone who might feature near the front of a rotation. Of course, this is his first full season of big league ball and he is 22 to go along with a very good fastball, which for some might be evidence enough that he's destined for a front end gig. I'm a little more pessimistic as everything I've learned from listening to professional "baseball" people and then playing under scouts suggests that strike out stuff is usually either there, or not.

Kyle Drabek - C- (D)
Drabek really didn't offer much of an improvement on last year's abysmal stat line. He still walked as many people as he struck out, the only catch here that guys didn't hit him as hard as last year. In part, I have to think that is down to his increased use of his curve ball, which I still believe is a true plus pitch. Again, throwing strikes was his issue and while early on he showed glimpses of a better temperament, better mechanics, and overall more ML-ready repertoire, peaking perhaps in a rare US nationally televised game against Yu Darvish. The wheels really came off for him and now Drabek is gone for the rest of the season and likely 2013 as well. Drabek is one of the few that has undergone two TJ surgeries. The success rate is quite high, so I'll assume he'll be back in a Blue Jays uniform at one point. I say he'll be gone for 2013 as well largely because he might be healthy to pitch come July 2013, however, I think it might be wise to ease him back slowly and perhaps use that time to really harness his mechanics. He can't come back up and struggle with his mechanics and walk numbers the way he's done so far. Ultimately, his future may as a result be in the bullpen, which would be a shame as he possesses true power stuff.

Drew Hutchison - B+ (B-)
At first, I thought it wouldn't be long before Hutchison was blasted back to the minors. He nibbled too much, didn't overpower people, and I wasn't impressed too much by the secondary offerings. Hutch found his feet and the combination of some increased velocity, funky delivery, and ability to attack hitters with his solid fastball got him through some fairly impressive outings for a 21 year old. It wasn't so much that the stuff changed, but he quickly picked up on how he needed to attack hitters and set them up. At one point to there, he was arguably our best pitcher. Unfortunately Hutch went down with an elbow injury that will likely spell the end of a very impressive rookie season. Word is he decided against TJ and his on a "no'throw" program for 4-6 weeks.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, July 11 2012 @ 05:27 AM EDT (#260097) #
Wonderful.   Hutchison "rests" his injury and likely won't be throwing until early August and takes, how long to get up to speed?   Maybe shut down for the season, or up in Septermber?   How long do we wait for the next injury, the one requiring TJ?
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