2012 Home Run Derby: Victory Odds for Each Member of Team Cano and Team Kemp

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2012

2012 Home Run Derby: Victory Odds for Each Member of Team Cano and Team Kemp

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    Now that the captains have made their selections, the eight-man field in the 2012 Home Run Derby has been set.

    National League captain Matt Kemp announced his team Sunday night, and he is bringing some heavy hitters in the form of Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Beltran and Giancarlo Stanton.

    Not to be outdone, reigning derby champion and American League captain Robinson Cano has comprised his own fearsome foursome, adding the trio of Prince Fielder, Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo to the mix.

    Home-field advantage might be on the line in the All-Star game itself, but the Home Run Derby is all about bragging rights—win, and you are the derby king—with the hardware to prove it.

    Does Cano have what it takes to become the second player to win consecutive derby titles and the first since Ken Griffey Jr. accomplished the feat for the second time in 1998 and 1999?

    Let's find out.

Team Cano: Jose Bautista, RF, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Career Home Runs: 182 (26 in 2012)

    Career Home Runs at Kauffman Stadium: 2 (64 AB)

    Currently leading all of baseball with 26 bombs in 2012, Jose Bautista returns to the Home Run Derby for the second consecutive year looking to improve upon his paltry four home run performance in the first round last year.

    He's hit 123 home runs since the beginning of the 2010 season, and that number could easily reach 150 by the time this season ends. Bautista is one of the favorites heading into the contest.

     

    Odds of winning: 15 percent

Team Kemp: Carlos Beltran, RF, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Career Home Runs: 322 (20 in 2012)

    Career Home Runs at Kauffman Stadium: 61 (1568 AB)

    It's a homecoming for Carlos Beltran, who started his career with the Royals and spent nearly seven seasons patrolling center field at Kaufman Stadium. The 61 home runs that he's hit in Kauffman Stadium are more than he's hit anywhere else over his 15-year career.

    After clubbing 10 home runs in May, he hit half as many in June, a month that included a three-game series in Kansas City that saw him go 6-for-14 without an extra-base hit. His 20 home runs on the season put him second in the NL, behind only Milwaukee's Ryan Braun who has 22.

    This is Beltran's first derby appearance, and his track record in Kansas City coupled with how he's played this year put him in an excellent position to contend for the title.

     

    Odds of winning: 15 percent

Team Cano: Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees

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    Career Home Runs: 164 (20 in 2012)

    Career Home Runs at Kauffman Stadium: 3 (125 AB)

    The reigning champion, Robinson Cano leads a veteran attack as the American League tries to make it three years in a row where the derby crown resides in the land of the designated hitter.

    Cano, who narrowly beat out Boston's Adrian Gonzalez in a thrilling derby in 2011, comes in with as good of a chance to win it all—other than Giancarlo Stanton.

     

    Odds of winning: 15 percent

Team Kemp: Carlos Gonzalez, LF, Colorado Rockies

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    Career Home Runs: 94 (17 in 2012)

    Career Home Runs at Kauffman Stadium: 0 (4 AB)

    One of the best players in the game, 26-year-old left fielder Carlos Gonzalez has averaged 30 home runs a season since 2010 in relative anonymity. Gonzalez, who has had four multi-home run games so far in 2012, went deep in four consecutive at-bats earlier this season—homering in each of his last three at-bats against the Padres and going deep in his first at-bat the next day against the Astros.

    Appearing in his first derby in the major leagues, Gonzalez told the Denver Post's Troy Renck that he's ready: "I am going to swing hard for the streets. I am excited to get out there." CarGo, as he's commonly referred to, points to his experience going head to head against Miguel Cabrera and Bobby Abreu in these contests back in his native Venezuela.

    Said Gonzalez: "I was a kid then. I am grown man now."

    CarGo's proven already that he can go deep whenever he wants, but whether he can hang against the bigger sluggers as the competition progresses is a big question mark.

     

    Odds of winning: 5 percent

Team Cano: Prince Fielder, 1B, Detroit Tigers

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    Career Home Runs: 242 (12 in 2012)

    Career Home Runs at Kauffman Stadium: 0 (24 AB)

    Prince Fielder makes his fourth appearance in the Home Run Derby but his first as a member of the American League.

    The 2009 champion, Fielder failed to get out of the first round in 2007, while advancing to the second round last year.

    For all of his power, Prince put forth a pretty poor performance in 2011 with a total of nine home runs, and the 12 dingers he has on the season in 2012 are below where most thought he'd be by now with Detroit.

    While this past champion shouldn't be taken lightly, I don't think he's got much of a shot to reclaim his crown given his rather pedestrian power numbers so far this year.

     

    Odds of winning: 10 percent

Team Kemp: Matt Kemp, CF, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Career Home Runs: 140 (12 in 2012)

    Home Runs in Kauffman Stadium: 0 (never played)

    The captain of the NL squad, Matt Kemp has jacked 26 or more home runs in each of the past three seasons, and he was well on his way to making it four—perhaps by the All-Star break—before being sidelined with a left hamstring strain that has kept him out of action for nearly half of the season.

    Voted a starter in the All-Star game by the fans but unlikely to play due to his injury, Kemp has every intention of participating in his second consecutive Home Run Derby. Last year, at Arizona's Chase Field, Kemp failed to advance past the first round, going deep only twice.

    Kemp will be about a week into his rehab assignment that is set to start Tuesday, when he'll DH for the Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, by the time the derby rolls around. While he might have worked through the rust in his swing by then, he's not yet likely to be generating the same power from his legs that saw him go deep a dozen times in April.

     

    Chances of winning: 10 percent

Team Kemp: Giancarlo Stanton, RF, Miami Marlins

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    Career Home Runs: 75 (19 in 2012)

    Career Home Runs at Kauffman Stadium: 0 (never played)

    With the exception of Bryce Harper—and that's a big maybe—nobody in baseball possesses as much raw power than Giancarlo Stanton. Routinely crushing balls well over 400 feet into the night, Stanton has already broken the scoreboard at Marlins Park with one of his blasts, while tagging the new ballpark's home run sculpture in center field with another.

    The scary thing is that at only 22 years old, he hasn't fully tapped that power yet.

    Marlins coach Joe Espada thinks Stanton is ready to shine, as he told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald: “I love his chances. This guy has the best chance to win the Home Run Derby because he can mishit the ball and it’s going to go over the fence.”

    I agree with him—Stanton's my choice to win the whole thing as well.

     

    Odds of winning: 25 percent

Team Cano: Mark Trumbo, OF/DH, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    Career Home Runs: 49 (20 in 2012)

    Career Home Runs at Kauffman Stadium: 1 (25 AB)

    In somewhat of a surprise pick (I had Curtis Granderson here), Mark Trumbo makes his Home Run Derby debut for Team Cano in 2012.

    The runner-up for the AL Rookie of the Year in 2011, Trumbo has been a force in the middle of the Angels' lineup, and his 20 home runs on the season are tied with Robinson Cano for seventh in all of baseball.

    He's a bit of a wild card in this field, but with more experienced players around him, I don't give the youngster much of a chance to win it all.

     

    Odds of winning: 5 percent