What a whirlwind since the beginning of the MLB season. Today we have time to take a breath and watch the ALL STARS battle for the Home Run Crown. Most years the big names gracefully decline to be in the contest but this year all the big names have entered. Today Sports Handicapper Craig Trapp will breakdown the Home Run Contest and give you his Free Winner!!
Albert Pujols (2-1): Home field advantage for this Cardinal might just put him over the edge. This is the third time he has entered the Home Run Contest finishing as Runner Up in 2003. The best hitter in the contest but he is not just a home run hitter which might hurt him in this contest. Favoritism has fallen on his wide shoulders because he is #1 in HR's this season, but not much value on a player that has never hit 50 HR's in a season.
Ryan Howard (5-2): Even though he does not play for the home town Cardinals but he is a hometown kid that is very proud of his roots. Also he has had huge success in new Busch Stadium hitting 7 HR's in 63 plate appearances. The perfect Home Run swing will carry him to at least the 2nd round. Being a bigger guy he might wear down in the late rounds but if he stays strong will be very tough to beat.
Prince Fielder (3-1): The youngest player in the contest who might swing harder than any other player in the contest. Not the smoothest swing and his last appearance in 07 he did not make it out of first round. Not a big fan of this type of guys in the HR contest. Definitely a play against!
Adrian Gonzalez (5-1): Early in the season he was tearing the cover off the ball with 20 HR's in early June. But since then he has only hit four HR's. But when you look at the dimensions of his home stadium Petco Park its a miracle that he is even at 24 HR's. Also SD is one of the worst lineups around him and he has no protection. This will be his coming out party to the whole world with one of the smoothest home run swings.
Carlos Pena (6-1): Since arriving in TB 2 1/2 years ago he has seen his HR totals really jump. With 24 he leads the AL in Home Runs. Definitely has the power but with only his first chance at the contest will play against this time.
Joe Mauer (8-1): Not sure how or why he is in this years contest. He only has 15 HR's this year and has never hit more than 20 HR's in a season. The best hitter in the contest but the idea is to hit HR's not singles. He really should be 20-1, stay away at all costs here.
Nelson Cruz (8-1): A complete unknown to most before this season. He had 22 HR's until this year but now has 21 HR's for Texas. A sweet swing but is up against it with all the big NL HR hitters. Is a better value than Mauer but still would be tough to support at only 8-1.
Brandon Inge (10-1): Guess he has been inserted into the contest because no one else in the AL wanted to participate. With a season best of only 27 HR's would be a huge upset to see him win. A great story but looking elsewhere tonight!
Craig's pick for Home Run Contest: Ryan Howard