- JD Martinez ran away with the RBI title last year, knocking in 130
- Martinez has the highest projected total heading into 2019 with 116.5
- What are some of the best plays on this year’s ribby market?
Congratulations! Of all the offensive stats in baseball to make a season-long wager on, you have chosen to read about the silliest one. Unlike homers or strikeouts, RBI totals are just as much impacted by the competence of a player’s teammates as they are by individual performance.
Sure, JD Martinez was hitting at an MVP level last year, but his league-leading 130 RBIs had as much to do with him hitting behind the actual MVP, Mookie Betts, as it did anything else.
So while Martinez has he highest projected over/under for RBIs this year, keep in mind with these totals, you’re really betting on the guys in front of him to have a solid year.
2019 MLB RBI Projections and Odds
|Player||Projected 2019 RBI Total||Over Odds||Under Odds||2018 RBI Total|
*All odds taken on 03/04/19
Let’s examine some of these bets a little closer shall we?
Can Martinez Do it Again?
Look, it’s no secret that bookmakers always clean up on these season-long props because no one likes playing the unders, even though they consistently cash.
Last year, Martinez played in the second-most games of his career, appearing in 150. Not counting his rookie season, Martinez is averaging 124 games a season over the last seven years which is not even close to enough games to make that RBI total. He’s had a history of foot and ankle injuries, and every once and a while, he’ll run into a wall.
"Nope." – J.D. probably. pic.twitter.com/oGzdH02VAA
— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 21, 2018
But even if Martinez makes it through the year without any health issues, the RBI is still such a fickle stat that it may not matter. Look at the last 10 American League RBI leaders. All of them saw their total RBI totals drop by an average of 27.9 the following season.
I’m not projecting Martinez to have a down year. He’ll probably be up there in MVP talks again. But there’s a lot more ways he’ll miss this total than hit: for example, what if Betts doesn’t post an insane .438 on base percentage again?
Pick: Martinez Under 116.5 RBIs (-115)
Will Betts Pick Up Production?
Speaking of Betts, the Red Sox announced they’ll be moving the .346 hitter out of the leadoff spot and into the two hole, which is good news for Mookie’s chances at bringing in more runners.
— Red Sox (@RedSox) March 3, 2019
In front of him, Andrew Benetendi has been a solid .280 hitter in his first three years in the league and managed 87 RBIs out of this lineup spot last year.
Meanwhile, the bottom of the lineup, Christian Vazquez and Jackie Bradley Jr, had down seasons in 2018, but each has shown the ability in the past to post above average OBPs. With Bradley trying out a new swing, perhaps the eight and nine hitters will give Betts a few more RBI chances this season when the lineup turns over?
Either way, I’ll roll with an OVER here.
Pick: Betts Over 94.5 RBIs (-115)
Is the Ed Wing Finally Grounded?
Edwin Encarnacion is another under worth eyeing here. The now 36-year-old DH saw all of his batting numbers drop last season save for one, RBIs. In a loaded Indians offence, he brought 107 runners in, the same as 2017. If you think his numbers can’t drop that drastically in the same Cleveland offence, well you clearly didn’t hear he was traded this offseason.
#Mariners Edwin Encarnacion is a player to avoid this year. He showed signs of decline last year, with his K% falling to a career-worst 22.8%. He is now hitting in a mediocre lineup for a rebuilding Seattle team. #FantasyBaseball
— Frank Ammirante (@FAmmiranteTFJ) March 3, 2019
Hitting in a spot that Nelson Cruz only drove in 97 RBIs from last year, I wouldn’t have high hopes for the declining Encarnacion this year.
Pick: Encarnacion Under 93.5 RBIs (-115)
Another Fishy Total
While betting against Mike Trout seems foolhardy, betting on his teammates to let him down always comes through.
Mike Trout hasn't driven in a teammate since June 19.
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 22, 2018
The Angels suck, and it seems to be taking a toll on Trout, as he’s missed at least 22 games in each of the past two seasons. Back when he was playing over 150 games in a season, he was still just a 50-50 proposition to top that 97.5 RBI mark, because as previously stated, his team sucks.
Pick: Trout Under 97.5 RBIs (-115)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.