Can 2023 Home Run Derby Winner Buck Trend To Slump Afterward?

Can 2023 Home Run Derby Winner Buck Trend To Slump Afterward?
By Jim Tomlin
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

The Home Run Derby has become one of the most beloved parts of the annual MLB festivities and will be a big Ontario sports betting event on what would ordinarily be a slow day.

But there’s also a debate: Do participants in the Home Run Derby wind up trying so hard to hit long balls in the contest that it messes up their swing for the rest of the season?

With young Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. entered in this year’s derby, it’s a question worth asking.

Guerrero is in the Home Run Derby for the second time. He was chosen as one of eight participants for Monday’s event in Seattle, the day before the All-Star Game. Odds on the Derby are available at Ontario sportsbook apps.

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How We Determined HR Rate Stats

OntarioBets looked back at the past 10 derby winners and gathered their home run rate before and after the all-star break.

The tendency is not a good one for the most part. Seven of the past 10 derby winners saw their home run rate drop from the first half of the season to the second half – not even just total home runs, but the actual percentage of the time that they go yard (this is an important distinction because there are usually more games before the All-Star break than after it).

We used game logs from to calculate these figures.

Guerrero entered the derby once before. As a rookie in 2019 he set a record for most homers in one round with 40 and most HRs in the course of the whole contest with 91, though Pete Alonso of the Mets edged the Blue Jays star in the final.

Alonso, the favorite for this year’s contest with +300 odds at Caesars Ontario Sportsbook, is one of the few to buck the trend of having declining homer numbers winning a derby. In 2021 his home run rate rose from 5.43% (17 HRs) before the All-Star break to 6.17% (20 HRs) afterward. However, in 2019 Alonso also won the derby and his rate dipped slightly in the second half of the season, from 7.98% (30 HRs) to 7.25% (23 HRs) though his second-half rate was still excellent.

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How Past HR Derby Winners Fared Afterward

YearWinnerPre HR Derby HR RatePost HR Derby HR Rate
2022Juan Soto5.09% (20 HR)2.58% (7 HR)
2021Pete Alonso5.43% (17 HR)6.17% (20 HR)
2019Pete Alonso7.98% (30 HR)7.25% (23 HR)
2018Bryce Harper5.55% (23 HR)3.91% (11 HR)
2017Aaron Judge8.2% (30 HR)7.1% (22 HR)
2016Giancarlo Stanton6.23% (20 HR)4.7% (7 HR)
2015Todd Frazier6.68% (25 HR)3.29% (10 HR)
2014Yoenis Cespedes3.65% (14 HR)3.07% (8 HR)
2013Yoenis Cespedes4.4% (15 HR)4.72% (11 HR)
2012Prince Fielder4.04% (15 HR)4.7% (15 HR)
2012-2022TOTAL AVERAGE5.73% (209 HR)4.75% (134 HR)

Biggest Home Run Rate Decline

Todd Frazier, the 2015 winner, had the steepest decline in HR rate after taking the Home Run Derby title. He hit 25 round-trippers before the contest for a rate of 6.68%, but only had 10 homers (a 3.29% rate) for the remainder of the season.

He was the only one on our list to have his HR rate fall by more than half, but it has not been unusual for the rate to drop by a percentage point or more.

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Vlad Guerrero Home Run Derby Odds

As for this year, according to Home Run Derby pairings at, Guerrero faces Dodger star Mookie Betts in the first round.

Also according to MLB, Vlad The Younger seeks to join Hall of Famer Vlad Guerrero Sr., as the only father-son duo to both win the derby. Vlad Sr., then with the Angels, won the contest in 2007.

Guerrero Jr. enters this year’s contest with 13 homers as of Thursday afternoon. He mashed 32 last year and 48 in 2021 so he has a ways to go to catch up to that type of productivity this season.

Toronto is 46-40 entering Thursday’s play, in fourth place and 9.5 games behind first-place Tampa Bay in the rugged American League East. The Blue Jays have +2500 odds at FanDuel Sportsbook Ontario to win the 2023 World Series.

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Jim Tomlin is an editor and writer specializing in sports, gambling and the intersection of those industries. He has 30+ years of journalism experience and his work has appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, FanRag, Saturday Down South and Saturday Tradition.

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