2012 Home Run Derby Results: Odds of Each Contestant's Swing Getting Messed Up
The Home Run Derby, sponsored by State Farm Insurance, was conducted on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium. As always, balls were flying out of the park in rapid succession as a crowd of over 40,000 fans, and millions more watching across the world, cheered each prodigious blast.
Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder clearly showed that his move to the American League didn't affect his performance in the Derby. Sneaking into Round 2 after hitting just five homers in Round 1, Fielder lapped the field, hitting 11 in the round to move on and face Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista.
Joey Bats hit two homers on consecutive swings to move past Los Angeles Angels left fielder Mark Trumbo in a Round 2 swing-off.
Fielder did himself one better in the finals, hitting 12 home runs in the final round, putting pressure on Bautista.
That pressure proved to be too much, as Bautista was only able to go yard seven times, giving Fielder his second Home Run Derby crown.
Now that the event is over, however, the baseball world will be watching to see if the contestants suffer any kind of a drop-off in production over the second half of the season.
Last season, Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, the Derby runner-up, didn't hit a homer after the All-Star break until July 30 and then went another three weeks before hitting another (August 22).
Dave Hogg of FOXSportsDetroit.com offers up this analysis of post-Derby slumps.
Since 2009, there have been 24 contestants in the Derby. We examined their stats in the last 10 games before the All-Star break, and their stats in the first 10 games after the break. The difference is surprisingly strong.
Before the break, the average Home Run Derby contestant is performing like, well, an All-Star. They start out July hitting .288 with a .385 on-base percentage and a .535 slugging percentage.
After two days of festivities and another day or two off, things tend to change.
The slugging stars of early July turn into league-average hitters in the second half of the month. The batting average is down to .261, the on-base percentage is .345 and, most worrying, the slugging percentage is all the way down to .419. The number of homers hit by the players drops 38 percent after the break.
So, the numbers do tell a story.
Which of tonight's contestants are most likely to suffer power outages in the second half of the 2012 season?
Let's take a look.
Robinson Cano: New York Yankees
New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, last year's Home Run Derby champ, was not affected by his participation in the home run hitting contest at Chase Field in Phoenix.
First-half stats (2011): .296 BA, 15 HR, .521 SLG
Second-half stats (2011): .309 BA, 13 HR, .547 SLG
Do you think Kansas City Royals fans were just a tad upset that Cano didn't name local favorite Billy Butler to the Home Run Derby squad? It had to have affected Cano, who was completely shut out in Round 1.
Judging on last year and the fact that Cano has typically been a strong second-half performer, there's no reason to think that trend won't continue.
Odds of Second-Half Swoon: 3 percent
Prince Fielder: Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder, the 2009 Home Run Derby champ, competed once again, this time for the American League for the first time.
Much like Derby teammate Robinson Cano, Fielder has not suffered a power outage because of his participation in the home run hitting contest. In the previous three seasons in which Fielder participated in the Home Run Derby (2007, 2009, 2011), his second-half numbers are almost identical to his first-half stats.
Fielder showed that his move to the American League hasn't affected his Derby swing. He was the first to find the fountains at Kauffman Stadium beyond the right-center field fence, an estimated 454 feet. Unfortunately, Fielder only totaled five home runs in Round 1.
However, due to the goose-egg put up by Derby teammate Robinson Cano, Fielder got new life, moving on to Round 2. Fielder made the most of it, hitting 11 homers in Round 2, his farthest traveling 476 feet.
In the finals, Fielder continued improving with each round, hitting 12 balls out of Kauffman Stadium. With Bautista unable to get fully untracked, Fielder captured his second Home Run Derby title.
The Tigers are certainly hoping that Fielder's performance on Monday night doesn't affect him over the last two-plus months. Riding a five-game winning streak headed into the break, the Tigers are now just 3.5 games back of the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central and appear to finally be in sync offensively.
Odds of Second-Half Swoon: 5 percent
Mark Trumbo: Los Angeles Angels
When asked about his participation in Monday night's Home Run Derby contest for the first time, Los Angeles Angels left fielder Mark Trumbo told reporters that nothing should change from the ordinary.
"'I'm going to treat it kind of like a normal batting practice toward the later rounds,'" Trumbo said, per MLB.com. "'I don't think it's going to be a big adjustment with my swing. I think if I just stay with my approach, I'll be just fine.'"
I had the distinct honor and pleasure of covering the Angels for Bleacher Report last year, and saw Trumbo in batting practice on many occasions. He puts on a show during batting practice that is indeed impressive, so it's unlikely that his participation in the Home Run Derby is likely to alter or screw up his swing.
Trumbo's debut was admirable, belting seven home runs, tying him with Carlos Beltran in Round 1. Trumbo's longest traveled 439 feet. However, he hit one that bounced off the roof in left field that only traveled 427 feet, but was projected at over 475 feet.
Moving onto Round 2, Trumbo hit at least two shots over 450 feet, but with only six homers he was unable to move past Prince Fielder. However, with Jose Bautista's struggles in Round 2, Trumbo faced off with Joey Bats in a swing-off, with the winner moving on to face Fielder.
Trumbo homered in his final swing, but Bautista connected twice to eliminate him.
Odds of Second-Half Swoon: 7 percent
Matt Kemp: Los Angeles Dodgers
This year's National League Home Run Derby captain, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, is another player who wasn't affected by his participation last year.
Kemp only hit two home runs in the first round last year, so he can't use exhaustion as an excuse. However, his swing certainly wasn't altered by his participation, either. Kemp's batting average and slugging percentage were higher after the All-Star break.
Kemp struggled early and often in Round 1, not collecting his first home run until after registering nine outs. That would be his only long ball, bowing out early.
Kemp is likely to be activated immediately following the 2012 MLB All-Star Game after spending several weeks on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. Considering the Dodgers' anemic offensive output since his departure, they're certainly hoping that the Home Run Derby doesn't affect him negatively.
Odds of Second-Half Swoon: 8 percent
Carlos Gonzalez: Colorado Rockies
The 2012 MLB All-Star Game marks the first appearance for Colorado Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez, and by extension his first Home Run Derby as well.
Gonzalez never quite found his groove in his debut, hitting just four long balls in Round 1, his farthest traveling 433 feet.
Traditionally, CarGo has been a solid second-half player.
Career first-half stats: .300 BA, .507 SLG
Career second-half stats: .308 BA, .566 SLG
The Rockies may not have much to play for in the second half; however, Gonzalez could very well put up numbers similar to 2010 during which he was a legitimate Triple Crown candidate.
Whether or not CarGo can repeat those numbers in the second half this year remains to be seen.
Odds of Second-Half Swoon: 12 percent
Carlos Beltran: St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran will be participating in his seventh All-Star Game, but his participation in this year's Home Run Derby was his first.
Beltran has been the offensive force for the Cards in the first half, with 20 home runs and 65 RBI. Historically, Beltran's numbers in the second half during his career are slightly better than his first-half numbers.
However, now 35 years old, it's hard to tell how Beltran's participation in the Derby will affect his second half this season. With the Cardinals trailing the Pittsburgh Pirates by just 2.5 games in the NL Central, they're certainly hoping that Beltran isn't afflicted with a post-Derby swoon.
Beltran hit seven home runs in Round 1, with his farthest shot traveling 436 feet. It was good enough to tie Trumbo for second place, moving on to Round 2. However, with just five home runs in the semifinals (longest 459 feet), Beltran's night was done.
Odds of Second-Half Swoon: 20 percent
Beltran is the oldest player competing in this year's Derby, so that is a factor that could work against him. One of the reasons David Ortiz declined to participate was partly because of age, per CBS Boston:
Jose Bautista: Toronto Blue Jays
Heading into this year's All-Star break, Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista had clearly found his stroke after a tough start to the 2012 season, hitting a major league-leading 27 home runs.
The man who hit more homers than anyone in baseball in the first half fared pretty well in Round 1, reaching double digits with some moon shots to left field, totaling 11 altogether. Bautista's longest shot traveled an estimated 439 feet.
Bautista moved into Round 2 as the overall leader; however, he struggled in the semifinals, hitting just two out of the park, entering into a swing-off with Mark Trumbo.
Bautista found his stroke in the swing-off, connecting on his first two swings to oust Trumbo and set up a dramatic final round with Prince Fielder.
In the final round, Bautista gave it the old college try, but ultimately fell short, hitting just seven home runs to Fielder's 12 long balls.
Bautista was definitely one of the players last year who was affected by his Home Run Derby participation. His first- and second-half stats in 2011 show a dramatic drop-off.
First-half stats (2011): .334 BA, 31 HR, .702 SLG
Second-half stats (2011): .257 BA, 12 HR, .477 SLG
So, what do you think his chances are of repeating those numbers?
Odds of Second-Half Swoon: 20 percent
Andrew McCutchen: Pittsburgh Pirates
Due to the arthroscopic surgery performed on the right knee of Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton on Sunday, Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen participated in his first-ever Home Run Derby.
McCutchen has clearly become one of the elite players in all of baseball, leading the majors with a .362 average to go along with 18 home runs and 60 RBI. His numbers thus far are easily on pace to set new career highs.
McCutchen only totaled four home runs in Round 1, the victim of not enough elevation for the most part. His longest shot traveled an estimated 436 feet.
McCutchen suffered a severe decline in production following the All-Star break last year, even without participating in the Home Run Derby.
First-half stats (2011): 14 HR, .291 BA, .505 SLG
Second-half stats (2011): 9 HR, .216 BA, .392 SLG
Pirates fans and management can only hope that McCutchen takes up where he left off this season before the break. Given his career second-half stats, it would clearly be going against the grain.
Odds of Second-Half Swoon: 25 percent
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.