Josh Bell Now Home Run Derby Favorite After Injured Christian Yelich Replaced by Matt Chapman

Dan Israeli
Pittsburgh Pirates v San Diego Padres
Pittsburgh Pirates v San Diego Padres / Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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The 2019 MLB Home Run Derby received a major shakeup on the eve of the event, as the prohibitive favorite Christian Yelich was scratched due to a back injury. He will be replaced by Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman.

Yelich leads the league with 31 home runs, which earned him the the top seed in the eight-man bracket and a first-round matchup with Toronto Blue Jays rookie sensation Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (eight homers in 2019). Chapman, however, will slide right into Yelich's spot in the bracket against Guerrero, even though his 21 homers are tied for fourth in the field.

The new favorite to take home the derby crown is Josh Bell of the Pittsburgh Pirates (+350), according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Bell is fourth in baseball with 27 home runs, and will be playing in his first All-Star Game the day after Monday night's derby.

As impressive as Bell has been this season, there is another National League first baseman in the field with more homers (30), but worse odds to win the contest. That slugger is Pete Alonso of the New York Mets, who is tied with Vlad Jr. with +450 odds. If either player wins the contest, they'll double their 2019 salary with the $1 million first prize. Bell is in the same boat as he will earn $587,000 in 2019 playing for the Pirates.

The rest of the field includes Joc Pederson (+700), Alex Bregman (+850), Carlos Santana (+950) and Ronald Acuna Jr (+950) with Chapman sliding in with +850 odds to win the derby, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

With a single-elimination bracket, it's truly anyone's game under the lights on Monday night at Progressive Field.


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