Home Run Derby Analysis 2022

It’s that time again…HOME RUN DERBY TIME!!! It’s always a fun event to mess around with. It’s also an event that can be great for analytical assessment. I love breaking down the Home Run Derby using an algorithm I designed years ago and some different analytics.

For the 2022 version of the Home Run Derby, I am going to use a new method of assessment. I am going to use my algorithm to select an outright player based on value (which is what I usually do) and I am going to use a technique to breakdown each matchup of the bracket to see if that is more accurate picking the winner. Let’s see how it goes!

First, there is ABSOLUTELY no value on Alonso at +200. Sure, he could win it, but you won’t get far in gambling if you take negative value. So, none of the modeling below is going to see value on him. Not because he has no talent…because his price does not match the probability.

Method #1: The Algorithm Outright Selection

The algorithm (posted publicly each year since 2019 https://thesharpplays.com/home-run-derby/) simply takes a variety of statistics that have shown to be predictive of the Home Run Derby winner over the past 15 seasons, uses those statistics to calculate expected probability of being the Home Run Derby winner, and converts those probabilities to their respective moneylines. Then, we simply bet the overlay values! Here’s the calculated prices this year…

NameTeamCurrent OddsFair ValueDifference
Corey SeagerTEX1100875225
Jose RamirezCLE1600151090
Kyle SchwarberPHI35031535
Juan SotoWSN52551510
Julio RodriguezSEA650700-50
Ronald Acuna Jr.ATL800965-165
Pete AlonsoNYM210380-170
Albert PujolsSTL22002620-420

As we can see by the above table, the positive odds players are Seager, Ramirez, Schwarber and Soto.

How could you bet these? If you place 0.75 units on Seager it returns 8.25 units, 0.40 units on Ramirez returns 6.40 units, 1 unit on Schwarber returns 3.50 units and 0.75 units on Soto returns 3.94 units.

So, you have a combined 2.90 units of risk. If Schwarber wins you net +1.60 units,. If Soto wins you net +1.79 units. If Ramirez wins you net +3.90 units. If Seager wins you net +6.1 units. It’s 2.9 units of risk in this example for illustration, but risk can be dialed down to whatever is comfortable. Technically, why not make it 0.29 units of risk if you like…in which case Seager’s risk is 0.075 units and so on. I simply use the 1 unit style for ease and clarity. It is hardly required for wagering.

Method #2: The Bracket Method

With this method, instead of treating the Home Run Derby as a single field, you look at the bracket and go through each matchup. Within each matchup you select the value between the two players using analytics and then carry that value forward until you get to the end and the winner. So, whereas Method #1 dials things down to the top values, which ends up being multiple players, this method forces the selection of a single winner. It uses some different analytics and expected fatigue based on the way the matchups will play out. Let’s see how it goes for the first year of me testing it out!

With this method we have Round 1 going as follows…

Schwarber beats Pujols

Ramirez +155 beats Soto (noting the line here because it shows as the top matchup value in Round #1)

Alonso beats Acuna Jr.

Seager beats Rodriguez

Round 2 then proceeds as follows…

Ramirez beats Schwarber

Seager beats Alonso

The Final then proceeds as follows…

Ramirez beats Seager

Top Home Run Derby value based on matchup method: Ramirez +1600

Best matchup value shows as Ramirez +155 over Soto

Good luck and enjoy the Derby!!