160710-giancarlo-stanton
Getty Images

Giancarlo Stanton, Mark Trumbo have top odds for 2016 Home Run Derby

Leave a comment

The two-year bracket format for the MLB Home Run Derby might lend itself to an improbable champion, if Todd Frazier’s triumph in 2015 is any indication.

The Miami Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton and the Baltimore Orioles’ Mark Trumbo top the Home Run Derby odds board at +300 and +375, respectively, at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for Monday’s showdown at PETCO Park in San Diego.

It’s easy to see why. Players get an additional minute on top of their allotted five minutes if they hit two home runs that travel farther than 420 feet. Ten of Stanton’s 20 homers this season have traveled farther than 420 feet, and Trumbo also has 10 that have met that threshold. The two sluggers could potentially meet in the semifinal.

Wil Myers, of the hometown San Diego Padres, is listed at +550. The aforementioned Frazier is at +600, along with the Cincinnati Reds’ Adam Duvall, with the Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano (+1000), Colorado Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez (+800) and Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager (+900) trailing on that baseball betting prop.

The timing rules make the Derby an endurance contest. And, of course, PETCO Park is MLB’s third most extreme pitcher-friendly stadium (according to parkfactors.com) thanks to its distant power alleys and the heavy sea air. However, an average of 2.24 HR/game have been hit there this season, in line with the National League’s 2.20 average.

As the MLB home run leader and top seed, Trumbo is the -175 favorite in his quarter-final against Seager, who is listed at +145. For whatever it is worth, Trumbo has only one home run in 12 career games at PETCO, but Seager has yet to homer in 49 career times at bat in San Diego.

Stanton has a -175 line to defeat Cano, who is listed at +135, in their matchup. Stanton’s average true distance of 421.8 feet on his homers is the longest of any player with at least 15 homers this season. Cano could have an edge in stamina, which helped win the Home Run Derby in 2011.

Myers, owing to the home-park factor, is listed at -150 against Duvall at +110. Myers has actually been beastlier at PETCO, with a 1.036 home OPS vs. .706 on the road. Duvall, a first-time all-star, will have to adapt from his hitter-friendly confines in Cincinnati.

The second-seeded Frazier is a mild -140 favorite against even-money Gonzalez. Back-to-back champions are rare; Yoenis Cespedes did it in 2013-14, but he was the first since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998-99. Gonzalez averages 420.9 feet on his homers, second among players with at least 15. However, he has only six home runs in 192 career at-bats at PETCO Park.

The players are seeded based on their home run totals through July 6.

Cubs overwhelming favorite for 2017 World Series futures

Leave a comment

No team has won back-to-back World Series since the turn of the millennium, but the Chicago Cubs are favored to do so after ending their 108-year drought earlier this month.

The Cubs opened 2016 at the top of the board and delivered by winning three elimination games in a row to defeat the Cleveland Indians. The Cubs will return almost all of their nucleus except for free-agent closer Aroldis Chapman, so it is no surprise that Chicago is at the top of the 2017 World Series odds at +350 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

With utilityman Javier Baez, 3B Kris Bryant, 1B Anthony Rizzo, SS Addison Russell and LF Kyle Schwarber all in their peak years, Chicago is well set up to be postseason regulars for years on end.

Only the 1998-2000 New York Yankees have gone back-to-back during the 22-season postseason history of the wild-card era. The afterglow of the Cubs winning has probably inflated the prices for other contenders. The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers are each listed at +900.

The Red Sox will have five everyday players who will age 28 or younger next season and are rumored to be the landing spot for free-agent DH Edwin Encarnacion, who has turned down a qualifying offer from the rival Toronto Blue Jays.

The Dodgers won the NL West last season even though ace LHP Clayton Kershaw missed a third of the season, so clearly their ceiling could be even higher than last season’s 91 wins.

The Washington Nationals are listed at +1200, on the presumption that they might eventually have a bullpen to buttress the star power of RF Bryce Harper and RHP Max Scherzer.

Washington’s prospectus will change if they go against their emphasis on starting pitching and get in on the bidding war for one of the four prized free-agent closers – Chapman, Greg Holland, Kenley Jansen or Mark Melancon.

Despite coming within one run of winning the World Series, Cleveland is listed at +1400 along with Toronto, the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants.

It seems strange to see the New York Yankees well down the board at +2500, but the Yankees are still in belt-tightening mode and are unlikely to add more payroll.

Best moments from the Chicago Cubs World Series parade

Leave a comment

It’s time.

Chicago Cubs fans waited for more than 100 years to celebrate bringing a title back to Wrigley Field and they wasted no time securing a spot to watch the parade.

Don’t get mad Blackhawks fans, but this was the biggest parade that the city of Chicago has seen since Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

And it lived up to expectations.

Even Grant Park, where the Cubs will be ending their parade, was packed before the parade started.

parade_csnchicago

Other Cubs fans took to the great outdoors to conduct their parade.

Chicago’s well known for dying its river green on St. Patrick’s Day, but today, it’s blue.

In an incredible twist of irony, Chicago Public schools were scheduled to be closed on Nov. 4th anyway for a school improvement day, but some schools in the Chicagoland area were still given the opportunity to participate in the festivities thanks to a really cool principal.

On the buses, Anthony Rizzo was amped, while team grandpa David Ross discovered how to take a pretty well done selfie.

(Update: Kris Bryant is still wearing the belt.)

Travis Wood just got a little too excited.

Veteran pitcher Jon Lester has been through enough World Series parades to know that when they tell you to sit, there’s probably a good reason.

Walter Payton’s son, Jarrett, found a warm (and rather spacious) spot to watch the parade.

The intro of the day goes to play-by-play man Pat Hughes, who summed up exactly what all Cubs fans are thinking.

“Did anybody go to work today? Did anybody go to school today? Your teachers and bosses are all here, too.”

Theo Epstein reflected on the Cubs’ season and what this World Series meant to the team in an emotional speech at Grant Park. He mentioned that the rain delay during Game 7 was a big deal for the squad, and after introducing Joe Maddon, he relayed that he’s going to continue on his bender.

The Cubs manager also wore a “We Did Not Suck” shirt.

Miguel Montero and Jon Lester kept it short and sweet. Montero just said, “We Are Good!” and Lester called for more cheers for David Ross.

MVP Ben Zobrist spoke a bit longer, giving credit to Anthony Rizzo for playing Rocky movies all week long and David Ross for inspiring the team when the Cubs were down 3-1.

Anthony Rizzo gave credit to nearly every person associated with the Cubs, even giving the final out to owner Tom Ricketts. The most touching moment of the speeches was when the first baseman got emotional when introducing catcher David Ross.

Grandpa Ross revved up the crowd with a major CHICAGO, thanked his family, and then did the most millennial thing of all time.

He took a selfie with the crowd.

We made it through nearly the entire parade before we found the Cubs’ J.R. Smith: Travis Wood, who lost his shirt as Brett Eldredge closed out the event with a rousing rendition of “Go Cubs Go”.

For a celebration 108 years in the making, a turnout of 5 million people is tremendous.

Enjoy it, Chicago.