I don’t much care about the Home Run Derby, but I talk about it whenever possible if for no other reason than to remind people that I perfectly predicted last year’s Derby, matchup-by-matchup, including a first round upset. I’m usually wrong about everything, but that’s one I’m never gonna let people forget about.
I doubt I’ll have such luck, er, I mean insight this year, but it’s worth a shot. I’ll give it a couple of days before I pick who I think will win, but for now know that this is how the 2018 Home Run Derby is gonna go down:
I haven’t seen the odds yet, but I suspect Harper and Aguilar will be favorites to meet in the final. I also figure that the folks behind it all will be pushing a Max Muncy narrative hard. There’s a lot of storyline to this stuff.
Anyway, we’ll give our predictions before it tees off on Monday night.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.