Skip to content

Handicapping MLB’s Home Run Race

Juniors Are Presumptive Favorites

In terms of fun young position players with loads of power, baseball is in a golden age especially now that there will definitely be a 2022 season. Between Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatís Jr., Shohei Ohtani, the ageless Mike Trout (and more), MLB is filled with exciting talent. Plus, most of baseball’s current stars — at least on the hitting side — have major power and should be big players in the 2022 home run race.

The BetUS sportsbook has home run leader odds on the board for what should be a fascinating battle between the Juniors, 2019 champion Pete Alonso, the Yankees’ big bats, the Angels’ two transcendent stars, and plenty of other candidates.

Handicapping MLB’s Home Run Race

Let’s assess the field by looking at the best betting online picks to lead MLB in dingers this season:

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (+600)

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Salvador Perez tied for the American League – and Major League – home run crown in 2021 as each of them drilled 48 bombs. It was pretty uncharacteristic of Perez but was a performance right up Vlad’s alley as he has long had elite power that finally presented itself when he got in better shape and was healthy for a full season.

However, it’s not easy to repeat as the home run king even if the MLB odds expect him to. The Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup is still loaded — giving him more than enough protection — but he’s in a tough AL East and pitchers might have a better idea of how to attack him at the plate now that he has played a full year.

Still, Vladdy will be good because it doesn’t really matter what kind of pitches he faces. He can cover the whole plate and has ludicrous power to all fields. He’s a very worthy favorite in this race and is a great value.

Fernando Tatís Jr. (+700)

Fernando Tatís Jr. would need a miracle to take home the home run title in 2022 despite hitting 42 home runs last season to lead the National League because he will miss months due to a fractured wrist. If Tatís’ value on the market gets better — as it likely will — then maybe he’s worth a shot assuming that he’s able to return faster than his initial timeline indicates. But, if it stays at +700, he’s a stay away if you’re betting online.

Pete Alonso (+1000)

After winning the home run title with a NL rookie record of 53 longballs in 2019, the New York Mets’ Pete Alonso took a step back each of the last two seasons. But, he still managed to hit 37 home runs in 2021 and should be in a better position to eclipse that figure with an improved supporting cast around him in the Big Apple.

Alonso is a solid value at this number. There are few players in baseball with more pure power than Alonso who is hurt a little bit by Citi Field’s status as a pitcher-friendly park. But, at +1000 on the MLB lines, he’s an awesome pick.

Joey Gallo (+1200), Aaron Judge (+1200), Giancarlo Stanton (+1600)

Let’s tackle the New York Yankees’ three candidates in the same section. Joey Gallo’s partial 2021 season in pinstripes was a disappointing one with Yankee Stadium’s favorable dimensions for his swing. He had just 13 home runs as a Yankee and had 38 dingers between Texas and New York. Look for him to bounce back a bit as he gets more comfortable in New York. He should be up over 40 home runs by season’s end.

Aaron Judge had 39 home runs in 2021, his most since his 52-homer Rookie of the Year campaign in 2017. The key for Judge is health since he hasn’t played more than 150 games since that 2017 season. If he can stay on the field, he’s a great bet at plus-money.

The same thing can be said for Giancarlo Stanton, who drilled 35 home runs in 138 games. Stanton’s potential is unlimited but his 59-homer MVP year in 2017 may have set unrealistic expectations for his time with the Yankees. Still, he should be able to hit 40+ in that ballpark. He’s a good value at +1600.

Shohei Ohtani (+1200), Mike Trout (+1400)

The Los Angeles Angels also have decent candidates of their own. Shohei Ohtani hit an absurd 46 home runs last season to finish third while also being one of MLB’s top pitchers. It’s not fair to expect him to be that dominant on both sides of the ball again but if there’s anything Ohtani does well, it’s exceeding expectations. With his strength and bat speed, he’s a reliable choice at +1200.

His teammate, Mike Trout, was held to just eight home runs in 2021 because of how much time he missed due to injury. That has been a common theme of his last few years as he hasn’t played more than 140 games since 2016. He still managed to hit a career-high 45 home runs in 2019 and the power is still there for sure. The question is how many games he’ll play and how many at-bats he’ll get.

Matt Olson (+1200)

Matt Olson, an Atlanta-area native, has huge shoes to fill as the Atlanta Braves’ replacement for Freddie Freeman. Olson was tied for sixth in the Majors in home runs in 2021 even though he played his home games at cavernous RingCentral Coliseum. The Braves’ Truist Park isn’t exactly a bandbox but it’s more hitter-friendly than the Coliseum and Olson could get a big boost by playing for his hometown team. He also has plenty of protection throughout the Atlanta lineup which always helps.

Honorable Mention

Kyle Schwarber (+2500) and José Ramírez (+2800) are longshot picks that might be worth a bet. Schwarber should have a big year in hitter-friendly Philadelphia and Ramírez quietly continues to rake despite being in relative obscurity in Cleveland. Both are elite power bats who are severely undervalued.

Did you find this article interesting?

Comments (0)