Monkey Knife Fight Home Run Derby:
Pittsburgh Pirates at Arizona Diamondbacks
With Chris Archer out due to a thumb injury, Nick Kingham will continue to start for the Pittsburgh Pirates. On the season, he has a 5.94 ERA, 1-0 record, and 18 strikeouts, most of which came from bullpen relief opportunities. He started one game in Archer’s absence so far, and he allowed two runs in four innings against the Texas Rangers. One of those runs was a home run, and he currently has a 2.0 HR/9 ratio. Vegas has the Arizona Diamondbacks as -165 favorites tonight, and the O/U is set at 9 total runs, giving the Diamondbacks an implied run total of 5.1. Most importantly, perhaps, Kingham has an average batted ball distance of 253 feet, a fly ball rate of 44%, and a hard hit rate of 50%. He is definitely a pitcher to target when searching for home runs on a shorter slate. The Diamondbacks offer plenty of solid options tonight, so focusing on advanced metrics seems to be the only ‘good’ way to narrow it down. First, Eduardo Escobar is a lock. Escobar is a switch-hitter that performs much better against right-handed pitching. His ISO differential entering tonight’s game is 0.10. He has 0.039 HR/AB, and he is expected to hit second in the batting order, which gives him more opportunity than most. Over the last 15 days, he has an average batted ball distance of 245 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of 94 MPH, a fly ball rate over 50%, and a hard hit rate just under 40%. Click the select button, and move on. Next, skip David Peralta, and roster Adam Jones. Yes, that is painful to type. While Peralta does have a 0.049 HR/AB ratio to Jones’ 0.026, Jones has the better advanced metrics right now. Over the last 15 days, he has an averaged batted ball distance of 233 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of 96 MPH, a fly ball rate just under 50%, and a hard hit rate of 58%. He has been crushing the ball of recent, and the hitter-friendly Chase Field will only boost his home run potential. Finally, look toward Christian Walker to fill out the trio. Walker has 0.055 ISO and 0.091 wOBA differentials against right-handed pitching, he is hitting 0.055 HR/AB, and he will hit in the five-hole tonight. Over the last 15 days, he has an average batted ball distance that matches Jones, his average exit velocity on those batted balls is 94 MPH, his fly ball rate is just under 30%, and his hard hit rate is just under 50%. One of these three batters should go the distance tonight.
Recommended Batters: Eduardo Escobar, Adam Jones, Christian Walker
Home Run Prop Bet:
Eduardo Escobar (+440) – Arizona Diamondbacks – 3B
The odds on an Eduardo Escobar home run tonight are far too wide. He has great advanced metrics, and his power has been on full display all season long. Escobar has seven home runs on the season, two of which came in his last 10 games. He hits significantly better at home, and he has one of the best matchups he will see all season long.
This section will only be filled out if PrizePicks offers one of the above-mentioned home run prop bet recommendations. Unfortunately, they do not for tonight’s slate (as of time of posting).
*Odds are from MyBookie. They continually update available prop bets on their prop builder, so odds should be released closer to the start of the contests. If you do not see the recommended player available, he will likely become available later in the day, and odds will be updated in the article when that happens.*
Follow Jason Bales (@BalesTJason)