- Aaron Judge is the favorite to lead the MLB in home runs in 2020
- Mets slugger Pete Alonso and Angels superstar Mike Trout are joint second-favorites
- Alonso led the league with 53 dingers in 2019
The New York Yankees are favorites in the 2020 World Series odds and their right fielder leads the home run betting futures, too. Aaron Judge missed time in 2019, though he still racked up 27 homers in 102 games.
A second New York-based stud follows Judge. Mets’ sophomore Pete Alonso crushed 53 homers as a rookie in 2019, leading the league in that category. He shares the status of second-favorite with three-time American League MVP Mike Trout.
MLB Home Run Leader Odds
|Aaron Judge (Yankees)||+900|
|Mike Trout (Angels)||+1000|
|Pete Alonso (Mets)||+1000|
|Ronald Acuna Jr. (Braves)||+1200|
|Christian Yelich (Brewers)||+1400|
|Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)||+1400|
|Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees)||+1400|
|Joey Gallo (Rangers)||+1400|
|Eugenio Suarez (Reds)||+1600|
|Yordan Alvarez (Astros)||+1600|
|Nolan Arenado (Rockies)||+1800|
|Gleyber Torres (Yankees)||+2000|
|Matt Olson (Athletics)||+2000|
|Alex Bregman (Astros)||+2200|
|Rhys Hoskins (Phillies)||+2200|
|Jorge Soler (Royals)||+2500|
|Bryce Harper (Phillies)||+2800|
|Eloy Jimenez (White Sox)||+4000|
|Vlad Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays)||+4000|
|Trevor Story (Rockies)||+4000|
|Khris Davis (Athletics)||+4000|
|George Springer (Astros)||+5000|
|J.D. Martinez (Red Sox)||+5000|
|Kris Bryant (Cubs)||+5000|
Odds taken Feb. 5.
Judge crushes the ball. He led AL in homers as a rookie in 2017 with 52, and he was in the 100th percentile in exit velocity and hard-hit rate in 2019. No ballpark is too big for Judge, yet Yankee Stadium certainly helps him out. He has power all over the park, and can mishit the ball over the fence.
His 14.3% walk rate in 2019 ranked in the top 5% of hitters. For his elite defense and natural power, it’s pitch selection that makes Judge such a productive player. A great eye forces pitchers to come into the zone, particularly with the hitters surrounding him in the Yankees’ order.
Posted my final 2020 stat prediction on IG today. Yes, Aaron Judge will win AL MVP. pic.twitter.com/kbyp8F4z4N
— Dan Rourke (@DanAlanRourke) February 4, 2020
Despite missing substantial time in 2018 and 2019, health isn’t too much of a concern for the Yankees superstar. His 2018 absence was a freak injury suffered after being hit by a pitch, and he showed no sign of issues upon his return from an oblique injury in 2019, finishing the year with a 141 wRC+.
Trout Keeps Improving
Already one of the greatest players in baseball history, Trout keeps getting better. His 45 homers in 2019 were the most in his career and he led the league in expected slugging.
Trout isn’t thought of as a big-time slugger due to his balanced skill-set. Last season was just the second time in his career he’s passed the 40-homer mark.
His upside as a home-run hitter isn’t as high as Judge, Alonso, and several others. Trout is a guarantee to put up great numbers, though, and a bit of a power surge could see him inch towards 50. His candidacy in the home-run race may depend on whether we get a red-hot year from one of the league’s hardest hitters. Trout ranked just 71st in MLB in hard-hit rate last season.
Alonso more than lived up to his high expectations in 2019. An All-Star and NL Rookie of the Year, the first baseman ranked 14th with 9.5% of his plate appearances ending in a barrel. Alonso’s expected weighted on-base (xwOBA) was good for 32nd in the majors.
He combined raw power with good launch angles and posted a walk rate over 10%. What we saw from Alonso in 2019 suggested sustainability, though it will be interesting to see if he can improve against breaking pitches. It was far from a glaring weakness, but his xwOBA was 100 points lower against breaking stuff than fastballs.
Two Mashers To Watch
Yordan Alvarez was phenomenal in 2019. The Houston Astros’ 22-year-old rookie walked in nearly 15% of his plate appearances and registered in the top 2% of the league in expected slugging and xwOBA. His 178 wRC+ (albeit in half a season) was only bettered by Trout over the full year.
There’s a small sample size to be wary of with Alvarez, but +1600 still looks like a great price for a player who lit up the league last season.
A second name that represents good value is Joey Gallo. A statcast star, Gallo hit 16 homers by the end of May, but injury derailed his 2019 campaign. In his 70 games last season, Gallo ranked third in plate appearances ending in a barrel and his .605 expected slugging was good for sixth in MLB, just ahead of Alvarez.
The Rangers outfielder posted career-bests across the board last season. He will be near the top of the home run leaderboard if he plays 150 or more games.
Picks: Yordan Alvarez (+1600), Joey Gallo (+1400)
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