Last year's league-wide home run total was the lowest since 2015, but that didn't stop Aaron Judge from posting the highest single-season HR total in American League history.
The latest: Judge finished 16 homers clear of everybody else last season, blasting 62 to break Roger Maris' AL record. The newly appointed Yankees captain is favoured to lead the league again this season, with a trio of fellow AL sluggers holding odds of 10-to-1 or better.
Check out the latest MLB home run leader odds.
MLB home run leader odds
Check out the latest odds to lead the majors in home runs. Click linked odds to add selection to your betslip.
|Player||Odds (March 20)||Odds (March 8)|
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||+800||+800|
|Fernando Tatis Jr.||+1,600||+1,600|
|Ronald Acuna Jr.||+3,000||+3,000|
Odds as of 12:07 p.m. on 03/20/2023.
Best MLB home run leader odds
The favourite: Aaron Judge (+300)
At 6-foot-7, Judge is often head and shoulders above his competition in a literal sense. Last year, he was also far and away the best power hitter in the sport.
From a contact quality standpoint, this is about as perfect as one's profile can be:
By Statcast's measure, a ball is deemed to be hard-hit when its exit velocity is 95 mph or greater. Judge's average exit velocity in 2022 was a league-best 95.9 mph. He simply mashes the baseball.
Though Judge takes advantage of the short outfield porches at Yankee Stadium — the eighth-friendliest home run park, according to Baseball Savant — he also cleared the deck in 15 of the 18 visiting parks he played in, too.
It would be interesting to see what Judge's home run leader odds would've been had he signed with the San Francisco Giants, who have one of the most offence-repressing stadiums in MLB.
No need to worry about that, though.
Judge is back where he's always been, aiming to lead the league in homers for the third time in his career.
Other MLB HR leader choices
Best value: Shohei Ohtani (+1,600)
In 2021, Ohtani blasted 46 home runs to finish just two back of the MLB lead. His long ball output declined last year (34 HRs), but most of his power peripherals did not.
The former MVP has now posted consecutive seasons in the 97th percentile for average exit velocity and 99th percentile for expected slugging percentage.
The second home run of the night for Shohei Ohtani! pic.twitter.com/dGnY66G2Ga— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) April 16, 2022
One stat that could help explain his HR decline is launch angle. After a career-high 16.6-degree average launch angle in 2021, Ohtani was down to 12.1 degrees last year.
We don't want to get hung up on launch angle, though, because it only tells a small slice of the story. Judge's average launch angle was 14.9 degrees, and balls need at least 20 degrees of loft to leave the yard.
Ohtani’s pure power is among the best in the league and he plays in the homer-friendly Angel Stadium (34% more homers than the average park for lefties). He may also have some lineup protection thanks to Mike Trout.
Player to watch: Julio Rodriguez (+4,000)
Rodriguez fulfilled his great expectations as a rookie, winning AL Rookie of the Year honours and earning some down-ballot MVP votes.
He also tore up the Home Run Derby.
Although Rodriguez didn't win, he tagged 81 homers — second-most among any contestant in Derby history.
Julio Rodríguez's 81 Home Run Derby home runs, 2nd-most ever in a single Derby— David Adler (@_dadler) July 19, 2022
His 1st one was his longest: 463 feet pic.twitter.com/QqvwDJAQ1H
Obviously, batting practice pitching isn't a perfect indicator for regular season success, but it's clear Rodriguez knows how to swing for the fences.
He homered 28 times as a rookie, which is a respectable number that could realistically climb in his second year.
Keep in mind that J-Rod is only 22 years old and could grow stronger as he ages.
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