Dodgers Team News

Should Dodgers Star Mookie Betts Not Be Participating in the Home Run Derby?

Mookie Betts is riding a hot streak heading into the All-Star break hitting .457 with 6 home runs and a 1.200 OPS in his last 10 games. He’s also hitting nearly .300 with an OPS north of 1.000 since the start of May. And he’s also set to participate in his first Home Run Derby tonight in Seattle.

The question is, should he be?

The Home Run Derby has a history of upending stellar seasons for MLB stars. At least, to some degree. By the numbers, the total majority of players who have taken part in the derby have historically had worse second halves of the season. did the heavy lifting on the stats.

Comparison 1.1: Pre-Derby to Post-Derby, for Seasons Where Player Did Participate

.9696.061 .9265.346

Lower OPS. Reduced home run rate.

Betts is in the midst of his most consistent streak at the plate since joining the Dodgers in 2020. Manager Dave Roberts said on Saturday that this is “probably the best version” of Mookie he’s seen in his three-plus seasons since being traded from the Red Sox. Betts himself told SportsNet LA reporter Kirsten Watson this week that, in so many words, he’s keeping his game swing going amid his hot streak, inferring that he’ll be changing things in his approach for the Derby.

The fact that Betts is participating in the event is fun, it’s cool, but it’s not the most important thing in the world. For the Dodgers, the goal is a World Series championship. And to get to the promised land, as old friend Kiké Hernandez referred to it, this club fully needs the best, most locked in version of Mookie Betts that they can get.

So, should he be participating?

Sure. Why not? The data collected by SABR doesn’t dive into the differences in seasons where Derby participants made it deeper into the competition. But, looking at one recent Dodger who made it far into the event, Joc Pederson, his numbers actually improved across the board after the Derby.

Pre-Derby: 82 G, 20 HR, .239/.333/.521 slash line
Post-Derby: 67 G, 16 HR, .262/.346/.560 slash line

By the way, in case you forgot about that epic showdown between Joc and Vladimir Guerrero Jr, it’s worth a re-watch.

Mookie Betts isn’t expected to last very long in the Derby — particularly with him facing 2019 runner up and all-time single round homer record holder (40) Vlad Jr in the first round. Even Mookie doesn’t have all that much faith in his chances. So what does it hurt to go out, have fun, and add another baseball bucket list item to his ledger?

The Home Run Derby begins at 5 PM PT on ESPN.

Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!

One Comment

  1. I would like to see stats on how many homers hit after all star game as compared to before for all players. Its a long season and players often don’t do as well in the second half

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