The Home Run Derby begins tonight at 8 PM ET (watch on ESPN)
The Home Run Derby is usually a crapshoot. Hell, most things in baseball are a crapshoot, but the Home Run Derby is especially tough to predict since we don't really see these guys take batting practice 'til tonight. If you've ever played baseball, you know there is absolutely such a thing as a good BP hitter, which is the key skill in this competition. There is also such a thing as a good BP thrower, another component to the Home Run Derby that us fans don't have much information on beforehand.
The new format makes it tough to predict as well, in which players compete to hit as many home runs as they can under a certain time limit, which can be extended if they hit home runs over 475 feet. It's much more fatiguing than it used to be. I'd say the perfect Derby contestant has these traits.
Good BP hitter
Good BP thrower
Plus-power (obviously, but I'm saying he has to be able to not just hit home runs, but hit home runs especially far so as to get the time bonus).
Power to all fields (it's to the hitter's benefit to be able to hit it anywhere, since he will probably be swinging at every pitch. Even the best BP throwers can't put it in the same spot every time).
With that in mind, here's the official Peanut Gallery 2021 Home Run Derby prediction.
Soto (8) over Ohtani (1). YEAH I SAID IT!
Gallo (2) over Story (7)
Mancini (6) over Olson (3)
Alonso (4) over Perez (5)
The big pick here is Soto over Ohtani. I'm not sure how Ohtani is as a BP hitter, but he reportedly doesn't do it often, at least not on the field. There's no debate over who is superior when it comes to in-game power. But hitting BP isn't quite the same.
Alonso (4) over Soto (8)
Gallo (2) over Mancini (6)
Alonso edges Soto, mostly because he can hit the long long ball more frequently, which will buy him some extra time. Same story with Gallo over Mancini. Being able to get that extra time is an enormous advantage.
Gallo (2) over Alonso (4)
It's close, but Alonso is unable to match Gallo's light tower power and defend his Home Run Derby Crown.
For what it's worth, I've won both my high school and college alumni game Home Run Derbies. You could say I'm somewhat of a Home Run Derby expert.
Nevertheless, this will probably be mostly wrong. But I don't see you putting yourself out there!