Jul 9, 2012, 5:03 PM EDT
With Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium serving as the battleground, Monday’s Home Run Derby figured to yield fewer souveniers than usual. Kauffman is one of the game’s tough home run parks. Using Stats Inc. park factors, only Minnesota’s Target Field played tougher on home runs for AL parks from 2009-11 and that only slightly. It’s played closer to neutral this year, but Yankee Stadium it’s not.
That’s especially true for left-handed hitters. With 100 being average, Kauffman had a home run park factor of 64 from 2009-11, the lowest of any AL stadium. It was a more reasonable 89 for right-handed hitters. Yankee Stadium, in comparison, was at 143 for lefties and 117 for righties.
So, the righties should have the advantage tonight. Kauffman is a symmetrical park, but the ball just tends to travel better to left field.
And that’s one big reason I expect the Angels’ Mark Trumbo to be the champ. Of the participants, he’s hit the longest homers this year.
Interestingly, Beltran says he still hasn’t decided whether he’ll swing lefty or righty tonight.
Apart from Trumbo, I think Cano, the defending champ, and Beltran are the favorites. Bautista and Kemp were both eliminated in the first round last year, and Kemp still has some rust to shake anyway. Fielder has the muscle to start off strong, but as much effort as he puts into his swing, I think he’d fade if he ever made it to the finals.
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