With Wednesday’s news that Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert Jr. will join the field in the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby as part of next week’s All-Star Game festivities, it’s worth wondering what impact the event might have on the power-hitting Cuban’s swing.
For years, there has been much debate among baseball fans on the potential impact the derby has on a player’s swing for the rest of the season. To get a sense of how the competition affects hitters, IllinoisBet.com – your home for Illinois sports betting promos – looked back at the past 10 winners. We gathered their home run rate before and after the All-Star break. We used game logs from Baseball-Reference.com to calculate these figures.
For Robert, the 2023 derby represents the first iteration that the 25-year-old has taken part in. The outfielder has a shot to become the first Southsider since Frank Thomas in 1995 to win the annual derby on Monday night.
How Past HR Derby Winners Fared Afterward
Will Derby Negatively Impact Robert’s Second Half Total?
This year’s eight participants have been paired off for the first round according to MLB.com, with Robert facing Baltimore’s Adley Rutschman to start things off.
Of the last 10 Home Run Derby champs, seven saw their second half home run rate drop. The exceptions were Pete Alonso in 2021 (6.17% HR rate after the derby, 5.43% before then), Yoenis Cespedes in 2013 (4.72%, from 4.4%) and Prince Fielder in 2012 (4.7%, from 4.04%).
Leaguewide, the average home run rate of derby champs between 2012 and 2022 fell 0.98% in the second half compared to the first, going from 5.73% to 4.75% overall.
Those numbers might be worth watching for customers at Illinois sportsbooks in the second half of the season, especially for those who enjoy wagering on home run props.
Biggest Second Half Declines in HR Rate
The biggest second half decline was by Todd Frazier, who went from 6.68% to 3.29% (3.39% lower) in 2015 after he won the derby.
Other derby winners with a major decline in home run rate were Juan Soto in 2022 (from 5.09% to 2.58%, a 2.51% drop), Bryce Harper in 2018 (5.55% to 3.91%, down 1.64%), Giancarlo Stanton in 2016 (6.23% to 4.7%, down 1.53%) and Aaron Judge in 2017 (8.2% to 7.1%, down -1.1%).
Customers using the Caesars Sportsbook Promo Code Illinois can get +400 odds on Robert to win this year’s derby, second behind Alonso of the Mets.
Entering Thursday’s games, Robert is tied with Alonso for the third-most home runs in the Majors with 25, behind Shohei Ohtani and Matt Olson. Robert’s home run rate is around 7.8% overall.
Whether the White Sox centerfielder will follow the trends of his fellow countryman (Cespedes) and shirk the second half home run slump remains to be seen.
For now, all we know is that there will be a myriad of homers hit inside the Seattle ballpark come Monday night. Millions will feast their eyes on the outsized exploits of the league’s best pure power hitters, such as Robert.
Chicago enters Thursday 13 games under .500 but 7.5 games out of first place in a poor American League Central. Any White Sox fans optimistic that the team can surge in the second half can get odds ranging from +1400 to +1900 at various Illinois betting apps for the team to win the division.