Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman is going into Monday’s Home Run Derby as an underdog – just like his team; Baltimore, with a with a 50-35 record entering Thursday, has World Series odds ranging from +2500 to +3500 at various Maryland online sports betting operators.
But for Rutschman, the thrill of competing in the derby is still there, win or lose. And frankly, based on history, losing might not be the worst thing in the world.
Almost Hometown Appearance For Os Star
Rutschman will take his home run swats at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on July 10, just a couple of hours from where he grew up in Portland, Oregon. So he will have some strong “hometown” backing from friends and relatives. On top of that, his father reportedly will be his pitcher. The All-Star Game itself is Tuesday, July 11.
Rutschman is essentially the No. 8 seed in the eight-player home run contest, going against Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert Jr., in the first round, according to pairings on MLB.com. Roberts is tied for third in MLB with 25 homers in 319 at-bats going into Thursday’s games.
Just in his second season, Rutschman is having a nice campaign, but he has just 11 homers, a relatively modest number in a contest that rewards the big swing.
Rest of Home Run Derby Field
The rest of the Derby field: New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso; Tampa Bay outfielder Randy Arozarena; L.A. Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts; Toronto first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr.; Seattle outfielder Julio Rodriguez and Texas outfielder Adolis Garcia.
The Major League home run leader, Angels slugger-pitcher Shohei Ohtani, with 31 homers, is sitting out the Home Run Derby.
However, as it turns out, doing well in the derby has a bit of a curse to it. Some observers wonder if going for the fences in the contest somehow alters a hitter’s swing coming out of it -- and some recent results do make one wonder and perhaps reconsider home run prop bets at Maryland sportsbook apps.
To get a sense of how the Home Run Derby affects hitters, BetMaryland.com took a look back at the past 10 winners and gathered their home run rate before and after the All-Star break. We used game logs from Baseball-Reference.com to calculate these figures.
How Past HR Derby Winners Fared Afterward
Decline in HR Rate Is The General Rule
Over the past 10 years of the HR Derby, the winners of the contest have hit, on average, 7.5 fewer home runs after they won the slugging contest than they had before.
Only Alonso, in 2021, hit more homers after he won the Home Run Derby than he did before the contest (Caesars Sportsbook Maryland has Alonso as the +300 favorite to win the contest this year). Two years ago he had 17 dingers going into the All-Star break and another 20 after. Last year, Juan Soto, who was then with Washington before being traded to San Diego, had 20 home runs going in and just seven the rest of the season.
Since 2012, hitters who won the contest entered it with an aggregate home run rate of 5.73%. But after winning the contest, their collective home run rate slipped to 4.75%.
Rutschman Home Run Derby Odds
Looking ahead to Rutschman’s challenge, in the head-to-head against Roberts, the Baltimore catcher is listed at +160 against White Sox slugger (-200). BetMGM Sportsbook Maryland has Rutschman with the longest odds to win the contest outright, at +2000 as of Thursday afternoon. Alonso is the favorite at +275.
In a season-long betting proposition, which is to win the American League MVP, Rutschman’s odds are over a wide range for Maryland sports betting. At BetMGM he’s listed at +6600. Ohtani, whose exploits as a pitcher and hitter have made him a sensation, is the prohibitive favorite at -750.
But Rutschman does have the distinction of being the biggest liability for BetMGM.
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