2018 Home Run Odds: 5 Players Not Being Talked About That Could Win the Race
Published on March 05, 2018
If chicks dig the long ball, women must be loving baseball these days more than ever. Balls flew out of MLB stadiums , and players’ growing obsessions with launch angles and exit velocity makes it likely that we see even more hit in 2018.
Not only are home runs the most exciting play in baseball, they also make for a fun thing to wager on. TopBet.eu is one of the betting sites to have already posted odds on which players will win the 2018 MLB home run title.
We all have an idea of who the most fearsome sluggers in the game are. But what are the chances of a player coming completely out of nowhere (ala Brady Anderson in 1996, when he belted 50 taters to finish just 2 behind Mark McGwire for the league lead) to contend for the home run title?
Of the 4 major professional sports, baseball is the one in which players’ individual statistics tend to vary the most by the season. So while the NBA and NHL scoring titles may have just a few legitimate contenders each year and Drew Brees is always a top favorite to throw for the most passing yards in the NFL, the MLB home run race is usually wide open.
We see that in the 2018 MLB home run odds at TopBet. While the Yankees’ newly-formed tag team of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge are the obvious choices to lead baseball in round-trippers this season, no other player pays less than Cody Bellinger’s +1200 odds and TopBet has listed 51 different players on this prop!
It’s definitely worth noting that TopBet lists “the field” as the second-most likely winner of this home run prop! According to those +500 odds, there’s approximately a 17% chance that the 2018 MLB home run king will be a player not listed on these futures odds.
But who could it be? Here are 5 players who, although improbable, at least have the potential to lead baseball in bombs this season.
Despite being the runner-up for the National League rookie-of-the-year award, a 2-time all-star and a 4-time finisher in the top 25 of MVP voting, Zimmerman has never been that much of a masher. Until last year, at least, when the Washington first baseman hit a career-high 36 homers as part of his NL comeback player of the year-winning campaign.
It’s not uncommon for a player to start to display more power later in his career, and the 33-year-old Zimmerman is already surrounded by a lot of run producers in the Washington lineup. With Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy ahead of him, Zimmerman should feel less pressure batting lower in the order.
I’ve never completely understood scouts’ infatuation with the Upton brothers, none of whom have completely lived up to the high expectations that accompanied them when they arrived in the big leagues.
That could all change if Justin Upton were to contend for the MLB home run crown, and this season might be his best chance to do just that. Confidence should not be an issue as he’s coming off his best year as a pro, posting career highs in doubles, homers, RBI and OPS in 2017. Upton’s true capabilities might also have been masked by playing in Atlanta, San Diego and Detroit over the past 4 years, parks that aren’t exactly friendly to long-ball hitters.
Angels Stadium isn’t a home run-hitting haven, either, but Trout plays there too and is still tied for sixth on the 2018 home run futures. Speaking of Trout, what better guy for Upton to hit behind in the Angels lineup, especially with the added protection of the still-dangerous Albert Pujols behind him?
How excited must Yelich be to get out of Miami? Instead of playing half of his games in cavernous Marlins Park for a franchise that doesn’t seem to have any interest in winning games this season, Yelich will now play in homer-friendly Miller Park for a Brewers squad with serious playoff aspirations.
At 26 years old, Yelich is just starting to enter his prime. Though he’s hit just 39 homers over the past 2 years combined, the outfielder hit last year – the fourth-highest total in baseball. If the Brewers can convince Yelich to try hitting more balls into the air and focus less on line drives (as Milwaukee management is believed to be interested in doing), we could see a sudden explosion in the youngster’s home run total.
Souza’s another young player whose power numbers could benefit greatly from a change of scenery.
Last year, the 28-year-old outfielder made the most of receiving 500 at-bats in a season for the first time in his career, nearly hitting more homers in 2017 (30) than he had in his previous 2 seasons combined (33). And he did it while playing half of his games at Tropicana Field, a stadium that for years has been ranked in the bottom third of baseball in home runs yielded, according to ESPN Park Factors.
Now, Souza will play in the launching pad otherwise known as Chase Field, which is routinely among the most homer-friendly parks in the majors. He’s already a pretty safe bet to see regular playing time with the Diamondbacks as the replacement for J.D. Martinez, and an early-season power surge might be all it takes to draw out Souza’s full potential.
No list of potential darkhorse home run candidates would be complete without a member of the Rockies who gets to pad his numbers playing in the high altitude of Coors Field.
Although Gonzalez is currently without a contract, there seems to be a strong chance he ends up with which he’s spent his last 9 seasons with after breaking in as a rookie with the Oakland A’s.
CarGo is coming off a horrible 2017 (possibly struggling under the pressure of being in his contract year), but he’s just 3 years removed from a 40-homer campaign in 2015. Whether he signs again with the Rockies or lands elsewhere (perhaps Baltimore, another stadium where balls tend to fly out of the yard), Gonzalez is still just 32 years old and at least has the potential of cracking the 40-homer plateau once again.
Stanton seems like everybody’s choice to win the 2018 MLB home run title, and for good reason. After mashing 59 jacks in 2017 (including 18 in August), Stanton moves from Miami to the bandbox that is Yankee Stadium and is surrounded by plenty of other young bashers. Fangraphs projects Stanton will , which is 15 more taters than the site projects for any other player in baseball.
But Stanton is far from a sure thing. Prior to last year, his career high in homers was 37. There’s also always potential for injury (he’s missed 39 or more games in 4 of his last 6 seasons) and the pressure of playing in the Big Apple. Judge is also a prime candidate for some regression from his 52-homer rookie campaign, a season in which he hit for an unsustainably-high .357 batting average on balls in play.
More guys are hitting 20 or 30 homers in baseball than ever before, but other than Stanton and Judge, no one hit more than J.D. Martinez’s 45 last year. Getting to 40 homers could at least put you in the conversation for the MLB home run title if Stanton and Judge come back to the rest of the pack, and Zimmerman, Upton, Yelich, Souza and Gonzalez all have the potential to do that.
Odds are that one of the top-ranked players on TopBet’s home run prop will end up as the regular-season champion. I personally love the +1200 value on Cody Bellinger, who blasted 39 as a rookie last year for the Dodgers despite missing the first 3 weeks of the season.