1. Mike Davis (West) ~ 8/5 (+160)
2. J.J Bissell (West) ~ 2/1(+200)
3. Samuel Carter (East) ~ 5/2 (+250)
4. Dioni Rodriguez (West) ~ 4/1 (+400)
5. Gevon Jackson (West) ~ 9/2 (+450)
6. Johnny Cole (East) ~ 6/1 (+600)
7. Luc Pomales (East) ~ 9/1 (+900)
8. D’Aundray Van Slyke (East) ~ 19/2 (+950)
9. Kevin Putkonen (West) ~ 11/1 (+1100)
10. Brian Brademan (East) ~ 12/1 (+1200)
11. Matt Martinez (West) ~ 16/1 (+1600)
12. Luis Touron (East) ~ 18/1 (+1800)
The most noteworthy aspect of the 2017 Empire League Home Run Derby is the cavernous nature of Chip Cummings Field. Center field extends to 405 feet and the lines measure 350 feet respectively.
The most glaring aspect of the list is the gap between the top three contestants and the rest of the field. Two of the top three names should come as no surprise. Anyone who’s seen Mike Davis and J.J. Bissell know that there is a chance either could get on a tear run away from the pack. But Samuel Carter may be a less recognizable name to fans.
Carter is not only a physically gifted player, who has shown a knack for extra-base hits, but he is also in the East Bracket which would seem to provide a more clear path to the final round. Bissell and Davis will have their work cut out for them as Dioni Rodriguez and Gevon Jackson will also be competing in their group. Even Kevin Putkonen, who only hit one home run in last years event, can make a chase for the crown.
Johnny Cole could be higher but we’re still not sure what side of the plate he’ll hit from nor can we be certain that he’ll stay on the same side the entire time. That diminished his value on the list but I would still watch out for him as a wild card.
Luc Pomales and D’Aundray Van Slyke could be legitimate dark horses coming out of the wide open East. At the same time I don’t know if I feel comfortable taking Van Slyke to win the event after such a brief tenure in the league. Regardless, he and Pomales are both strong hitters who can make a run at the crown.
Matthew Martinez is going to be a father in about two months so he may channel inspiration from his young family and rise to the occasion.
Events like these are always unpredictable so do not shy away from choosing a few of the guys near the bottom of the list. Brian Brademan and Luis Touron have been penalized in their ranking mainly because they are catchers. The demands of being behind the plate throughout the season puts them at a considerable disadvantage but they both swing live bats so… you never know.
Ahead of the Spread