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As with any bet on this upcoming MLB season, volatility is king, and the race for the home run crown is no exception. In a typical year, the home run leader hits between 40 and 60 home runs. In a shortened season, that could shrink to 20 or 30 - which means one hot stretch from a long shot could be enough to cash in on a wacky year.
Here are the odds for the 2020 home run title with a few names to target as early values:
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr||+2000|
|Ronald Acuna Jr||+2800|
If you want to go for safety in a volatile field, Trout's your guy. Yes, he's never led the league in homers, but he nearly did a year ago when he hit 45 behind a league-leading ISO (.353) and career-best HR/FB rate (25.9%). If he can stay healthy - he's missed 98 games over the last three years - he's as sure a bet as anyone.
Is this finally the year for Gallo? The 26-year-old slugger was the favorite for this prop back in April, and for good reason: he led MLB in barrels per batted ball event (26.4%) among players with 100 plate appearances last season, and it wasn't particularly close. Gallo is among the best pure power hitters in baseball and could use a shortened season to his advantage after an injury-riddled 2019.
A year ago, Soler led the American League in homers (48) and the majors in barrels (70) and "no-doubt" blasts (30), both positive signs for sustainable home run production. So why is he tied for 14th in these odds? His breakout season was no fluke, as evidenced by basically every advanced metric out there, so this is an easy 25-1 shot to take.
Davis led the league in home runs just two years ago (48), which was his third consecutive campaign with at least 42 bombs. But what happened last season, when he hit just 23? Injuries derailed his year and led to significant dips in his launch angle and exit velocity. However, his hard-hit rates were in line with his stellar 2018, leaving excellent value on a bounce-back year from a proven slugger.
Springer was one of only two players (Nelson Cruz) to hit at least 35 home runs while playing fewer than 125 games in 2019. He ranked fifth in HR/FB (29.5%) and was among the top hitters in slugging (.591), isolated power (.299), and barrels per plate appearance (9.5%). How's that for a long shot? His launch angle and exit velocity are a bit underwhelming, but if Springer is putting up those numbers already... Watch out.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.