Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has homered just eight times through the first two months of his Major League career but he still managed to score an invitation to the 2019 Home Run Derby, which takes place Monday night at Cleveland’s Progressive Field.
And despite his power slump Guerrero has respectable odds to win the event at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, as he is listed at +400 on the 2019 Home Run Derby odds heading into his quarterfinal matchup with the Oakland Athletics’ Matt Chapman on Monday.
Guerrero hit six home runs in the month of May, including two on May 14 in a 7-3 Blue Jays victory at the San Francisco Giants. But after hitting a home run at home against the New York Yankees on June 5, the third baseman went over three weeks before hitting another, at home against the Kansas City Royals on June 29. That is Guerrero’s most recent home run.
But the Blue Jays rookie might have caught a break on Sunday, as Milwaukee Brewers slugger and top seed for the event Christian Yelich pulled out of the Home Run Derby with a back injury. Yelich has blasted a league-high 31 home runs at the break, while fill-in Chapman has 21 home runs on the season. Chapman sits at +550 on those MLB odds to claim the title.
The other three quarterfinal matchups in Cleveland on Monday night have Houston’s Alex Bregman taking on the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson, Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell facing off against Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr., and Pete Alonso of the Mets going up against Cleveland’s Carlos Santana, who should have the backing of Indians fans in his home ballpark for the contest.
Bell sits with the best odds of that group at +275, with 27 home runs on the season, with Alonso just back of Guerrero at +500 with 30 home runs so far in 2019. Acuna and Pederson have +700 odds, with Bregman at +1000, and Santana trailing at +1200. Acuna has 21 home runs on the season, Pederson has hit 20, Bregman has hit 23, and Santana sits back at 19.
Bregman and Pederson both have experience in this event. The Astros third baseman was a part of the competition last year, falling to the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber 16-15 in their quarterfinal matchup. Pederson, meanwhile, participated back in 2015, topping Manny Machado in the quarterfinals and Albert Pujols in the semifinals before losing the final 15-14 to Todd Frazier.
Guerrero is seeded eighth at the event, and the winner of his quarterfinal matchup will face the winner of the 4/5 matchup between Bregman and Pederson. That winner goes to the final.