On The Derby: DME's ESPN Radio Appearance

In case you missed it, earlier today I was on ESPN Radio discussing the Home Run Derby. You can listen to the audio by clicking here (you can hear a better audio quality here, albeit only the first 8 minutes). The audio is a bit soft, so you will likely to need headphones, but there is a lot of good chatter, so it is totally worth it. Thank you Paul Singman for recording this for me.

Hope you enjoy my ramblings. Below are a few of my specific liner notes of interest.

Open or closed roof?
  • A 10-degree change in temperature tends to have a 1% or so effect on flyball distance, and every 10 degrees over 70 tends to bolster park factors by 2.6 points.
  • The average MLB home run is about 395 feet, so each ten-degree change likely has a 4-5 foot effect on home run distance.
  • The projected temperature at Chase Field tonight is 95, versus somewhere in the mid-70s or so if they close the roof and air-condition the park. The forecast for tonight in Arizona is thunderstorms, so the roof will probably be closed. Given the heat/humidity, odds are the roof would have been closed even if the forecast was sans storms.
  • A closed roof could chop off up to 10 feet from tonights’ flyball distances compared to an open roof, making those “just enough” homers harder to attain, and those Slammin' Sammy/Josh Hamilton bombs unlikely.
  • Wind can also affect flyball distance, so a closed roof might also further affect flyball distance beyond just temperature.

Derby Players' Vegas Odds [per BoDog]
  • Jose Bautista: 3/1
  • Prince Fielder: 15/4
  • David Ortiz: 9/2
  • Matt Holliday: 9/2
  • Adrian Gonzalez: 11/2
  • Matt Kemp: 15/2
  • Robinson Cano: 15/2
  • Rickie Weeks: 12/1
Matt Kemp, as mentioned in the comments to my original article, would be my best "gambling pick" (looking at not just likelihood of winning, but also payout potential) for the derby, though I would call any attempt to gamble on as random an event as the Derby ill advised (hitting slow meatballs is hardly the same as hitting a fastball, let alone guessing what pitch at what speed is incoming). With three, Kemp has the most home runs over 440 feet of any derby contestant this year. Kemp's three are second in the majors only to Justin Upton, an Arizona Diamondback, who has four (each of which are over 450 feet)

Final note: Jonny Venters is the NL’s secret weapon this year. A lefty who gets strikeouts and tons of grounders (over 75 percent groundball rate this year) is going to be the key to getting out of a high-leverage jam. Craig Kimbrell is equally as filthy a pitcher from the right side, a testament to just how disgusting the Braves bullpen is. Imagine if Billy Wagner didn’t retire.