Predicting the best MLB Home Run leader options with mid-season odds

New York Mets rookie 1B Pete Alonso’s statement victory in the 2019 MLB Home Run Derby has pushed him to the top of the odds list to finish the regular season as the home run champ at +280.

He enters the second half of the year tied with Los Angeles Dodgers OF Cody Bellinger (+350) for second behind Milwaukee Brewers OF Christian Yelich (+320).

Who can get hot in the second half of the season and overtake the top three?

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook; for a full-set of today’s sports betting odds, access them at USA TODAY Sports.

2019 MLB Home Run Leader Favorites

Milwaukee Brewers OF Christian Yelich (+320)

Jun 30, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich (22) at Miller Park. (Photo Credit: Michael McLoone – USA TODAY Sports).

Yelich leads the league in slugging percentage, wOBA and ISO. He pulled out of the derby due to a back injury, but he led off for the NL in the All-Star Game.

Limitations: Yelich hit the injured list with an oblique injury earlier this year and any sign or more missed time is a serious negative, even if he was able to play in the exhibition game.

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Reason to believe: Yelich is hitting more fly balls, pulling the ball more often, and making hard contact at a higher rate than ever before while drawing more walks. His power is here to stay.

Los Angeles Angels OF Mike Trout (+500)

Jul 7, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) hits a home run during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. (Photo Credit: Troy Taormina – USA TODAY Sports).

The 27-year-old Trout has never finished a season as the home run leader, but he currently leads the AL in homers, RBI and walks.

Limitations: As baseball fans have seen before with Trout, opposing pitchers have no issue giving him a free pass. His 19.4 percent walk rate is already highest among qualified hitters.

Reason to believe: Trout has been getting support within the Angels’ (45-46) lineup and meaningful games all season will keep him on the field.

2019 MLB Home Run Leader Longshots

Los Angeles Dodgers INF Max Muncy (+6500)

July 7, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy (13) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the San Diego Padres during the second inning at Dodger Stadium. (Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez – USA TODAY Sports).

Muncy trails Yelich by nine homers in just seven fewer plate appearances. He is both swinging at and hitting more pitches inside and outside the strike zone than he did last year.

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Limitations: The 2018 breakout star’s power is down nearly across the board. Both his strikeout and walk rates are down, but pitchers could choose to stop throwing him anything he can take out of the park in favor of singles.

Reason to believe: Muncy’s eight homers in June were his most of any month in the first half.

Philadelphia Phillies OF Bryce Harper (+10000)

Jul 7, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) at Citi Field. (Photo Credit: Wendell Cruz – USA TODAY Sports).

It’s all about value, as the former MVP has the second-worst odds and is tied with injured New York Yankees OF Giancarlo Stanton.

Limitations: The 15 home runs by which Harper trails Yelich may prove to be too big of a gap. His power numbers are all well below his career averages and he has been less disciplined at the plate.

Reason to believe: The 47-43 Phillies trail the Atlanta Braves by 6.5 games in the NL East. Harper has more support than he did in his MVP season with the Washington Nationals. Opponents can’t choose to stop throwing to him. He hit 16 home runs in the second half that year, after hitting 26 in the first half.

Follow Esten on Twitter @Esten McLaren.


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