MLB Home Runs Leader Prop Picks | Best Bets for Yordan Alvarez, Julio Rodriguez, More

MLB Home Runs Leader Prop Picks | Best Bets for Yordan Alvarez, Julio Rodriguez, More article feature image

Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Yordan Alvarez

Here are my projected home run leaders for the upcoming season, alongside their listed odds at Superbook, which generally has the best odds for the HR Leader market:

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In the past five seasons, the home run leader has averaged between .07 and .09 home runs per plate appearance.

Therefore, I would largely discount the players projected below .05 home runs plate appearance. And as a result, I cut my list to players projected to hit 29 home runs or more. Starting at 28 home runs, you get into players (Ronald Acuna Jr., Willy Adames, Corey Seager) who I slot at .04 home runs per plate appearance.

Some bats in the .05 range (including Eugenio Suarez, Anthony Santander, Max Muncy, Salvador Perez, etc.) are still projected for 25+ round-trippers, but aside from Perez, I can't justify betting any of them based on the rate stat.

I only show two players — Aaron Judge and Yordan Alvarez — in the top tier (.07 home runs per PA). Like RBI leader, Alvarez is my favorite bet for HR leader, too; you can bet him down to +1000. And you'll see him pop up in my Awards piece too.

Among the players in the .06 tier, Byron Buxton and Giancarlo Stanton are the obvious injury candidates with massive upside

I tried to bet Buxton in several of these categories (HR Leader, Runs Leader, MVP) last season, and the Twins will try to use him at DH as often as possible this year. He has averaged .073 HR per PA over the past two seasons — enough to qualify for consideration as the category leader. Still, he's also one of the most injury-prone stars in the game, and he gets hurt running the bases far too often to justify his DH usage as a potential difference-maker in playing an entire season.

I could say similar things about Stanton, but at least he has played in 76% of his team's games over the past two seasons. Unfortunately, his skills may be eroding (.062 HR per PA), but that primarily comes down to contact. Stanton continues to post the highest exit velocity marks in the game and could legitimately hit .200 with 50 home runs and lead the league with a bit of variance.

Olson is an easy bet as a mispricing relative to his projected peers, and a player I expect to take a big step forward in his second year in Atlanta.

Julio Rodriguez and Juan Soto are far more speculative bets. Each year there are players in the +5000 range who catch my eye (Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2020) whose projections don't necessarily align with their immense talent and upside.

Soto won the 2022 Home Run Derby and improved his flyball rate by eight percent last season. He may feel freer to pull the ball without the shift, and I still expect him to evolve at some point into more of a late-career Barry Bonds type, selling out for power unless he can force pitchers to walk him. Soto is likely to grow into his peak game power and post a 40+ home run season in his mid-20s if he decides to swing just a bit more, and I'm willing to speculate at +5000 until it happens.

Rodriguez ranked in the 99th percentile for max exit velocity in his rookie season, the most immediate predictor of future power. J-Rod may become the fifth member of the 40-40 club (Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano) sometime in the next few seasons. Rodriguez and Acuna (41 HR, 37 SB in 2019) are the likeliest candidates among current players. Yet Rodriguez is closer to +1200 in the steals market. His power is underrated compared to his speed — he is elite in both areas.

The last player I want to mention is Cal Raleigh, who is as high as 200-1 at some books, and as low as +4000 at Superbook, which generally has the best available odds in the HR leader market across the board.

Anytime a player is much shorter at the Superbook for HR leader than they are anywhere else, it will grab my attention. I projected Raleigh for 23 home runs (.05 per PA), but it's worth noting that he was injured last season during a strong rookie campaign (and still averaged .065 HR/PA) and may garner plate appearances as a DH this year.

If I could add two more HR leader bets, I would have included Rafael Devers and Kyle Tucker, given the odds; but I try not to go more than six deep in any category.

Most Home Runs Bets

  • Yordan Alvarez (+1400, 0.25u) at Superbook
  • Julio Rodriguez (+5000, 0.05u) at Superbook
  • Matt Olson (+6000, 0.05u) at Superbook
  • Cal Raleigh (+20000, 0.02u) at Caesars
  • Juan Soto (+5000, 0.05u) at Superbook
  • Giancarlo Stanton (+4000, 0.05u) at Superbook

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