Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Union are mired in a lockout that will delay the start of the season. In spite of the labor stalemate, DraftKings Sportsbook is offering 2022 MLB home run champion odds. While the MLB campaign may be truncated, we’re still anticipating a tightly contested home run race among the game’s top power hitters.
Before highlighting individuals, we want to provide some numerical perspective from the 26 home run champions since 2010 — excluding 2020. (Note: Multiple seasons have produced ties atop the home run leaderboard.)
Of the 26 home run leaders over that span, five hit 50-plus while five paced the league without eclipsing 40. Sluggers with 50-plus-homer power in their profile — or on their resume — will certainly catch the attention of oddsmakers. That’s a list that includes “Bronx Bombers” Aaron Judge (+1300) and Giancarlo Stanton (+1600). While neither one is in our crosshairs for this particular piece, bettors shouldn’t disregard their previous power exploits.
At the same time, we don’t want to completely discard quality candidates who appear to possess more modest power potential.
2022 MLB Home Run Champion Betting Odds
Home Run Leader Favorites
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (+750) owns the shortest odds on the table and for good reason. Vlad Jr. was tied atop the American League home run board in 2021, and figures to challenge for the Triple Crown on multiple occasions. For a player with prodigious power, Guerrero has a miniscule degree of swing-and-miss to his game. Even scarier is that he’ll play the entire season at 23 years old, so he hasn’t neared his peak.
Guerrero isn’t without stout competition atop DraftKings’ 2022 MLB home run champion oddsboard. Fernando Tatis Jr. (+900) launched 42 round-trippers last year despite only playing 130 games. That’s a staggering home run rate that overshadows injury and contact (career 26.7 percent strikeout rate) concerns. This isn’t to deny Tatis’ otherworldly talent, but bettors should consider these factors if taking aim at the favorites.
Home Run King Contenders
Pete Alonso (+1200) has proven to be durable thus far in his career, and he trimmed his strikeout rate to a respectable 19.9 percent in 2021. He paced the league as a rookie with 53 bombs, so bettors looking for a little more value can turn to the New York Mets’ slugger.
Not dissimilar to Alonso, Matt Olson (+1300) closed holes in his swing, trimming his K-rate to 16.8 percent. If he maintains those strides, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Olson build on his 39 homers from last season. His home run total and tidy whiff rate both marked career bests, and Olson is squarely in his prime.
Neither Yordan Alvarez (+1800), a hulking figure from the left side, nor Bryce Harper (+2000), a two-time MVP and former home run champ can be ignored. Alvarez fares well against lefties in addition to righties. This is a key factor that prevents him from losing at-bats against southpaws. Meanwhile, Harper remains at his peak at 29, and is a quality all-around hitter.
We appreciate the appeal of chasing long odds in search of a modest — or not so modest — windfall. This leads us to Jorge Soler (+3000) and Cody Bellinger (+9000).
Soler leaves plenty to be desired in terms of the non-power elements of his game. However, he has a home run title under his belt (48 in 2019). And after a frigid start to 2021, Soler caught fire following a midsummer trade to the eventual World Series champion Atlanta Braves. He hit .269 with 14 homers upon his arrival, suggesting he can be more than an all-or-nothing slugger.
Did Soler’s pending free agency play a role in his 2021 turnaround? Perhaps. Bettors certainly can’t neglect it as a factor, but those are the questions that are associated with longshots.
Bellinger (+9000) is a deep sleeper for another reason — injury. Specifically, he has a dislocated shoulder that required surgery following the 2020 season. Baseball fans may remember the now-infamous post-homer celebratory elbow bash that left Bellinger dangling his arm gingerly as he returned to the dugout.
Bellinger wasn’t right in 2021, posting abysmal numbers across 95 games. However, he’s far from the first player to slowly recover following a shoulder operation. With another full offseason to rebuild his strength, a return to his 2019 level of play isn’t out of the question. He connected on 47 homers — good for fourth most in baseball — en route to the National League MVP award. Bellinger is still on the cusp of his prime, and he’s the type of player who can reintroduce himself as one of the game’s superstars.