Someone from New York is going to win the home run crown. But it might not be Aaron Judge anymore; the original choice for our MLB player futures has just gone on the injured list with a strained right hip.
It’s only supposed to be a short absence for Judge, but it’s enough to make us change tack and recommend Pete Alonso instead – especially with that extra-juicy +1100 payout on the MLB odds board at BetRivers.
We’ve got two more candidates for your baseball picks as well, one for Runs Leader and one for Saves Leader, so let’s get down to business.
- Regular Season Home Run Leader: Pete Alonso (+1100)
- Regular Season Runs Leader: Marcus Semien (+4500)
- Regular Season Saves Leader: Jordan Romano (+1000)
Will Pete Alonso Hit the Most Home Runs?
That’s what the statheads at FanGraphs say. Their ZiPS (Updated) projections at press time have Alonso finishing the year with 44 homers, one more than Judge. They’re the only players expected to reach the 40-dinger plateau this year.
Unfortunately for New York Yankees fans, Judge is off to a slow-ish start with just six home runs in his first 26 games, and now he’s on the 10-day DL, retroactive to April 28. These are precious games missed in what’s turning into a very tight race.
Alonso, meanwhile, is already at 10 dingers for the New York Mets heading into Monday’s action. He’s a better candidate than Judge to remain healthy for the duration at age 28 and playing first base; Judge is three years older, he spends most of his time in the outfield, and there are more things that can go wrong with his 6-foot-7 frame – that’s four inches taller than Alonso.
The actual home-run leader, for now, is Max Muncy of the Los Angeles Dodgers with 11, but FanGraphs only projects Muncy for 36 homers on the season. He is a tempting +20000 outsider at BetRivers if you think Muncy can keep mashing; Dodger Stadium has a park factor of 120 for home runs according to Baseball Savant.
MLB Pick: Pete Alonso Regular Season Home Run Leader (+1100) at BetRivers
How Many Runs Will Marcus Semien Score?
Quite a few by the looks of it. Semien has already crossed the plate 25 times in 32 games for the Texas Rangers, and the ZiPS (Update) projections have him at 113 for the season, five more than Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr (+1000) and L.A.’s Freddie Freeman (+1800).
Semien’s apparent betting value here is quite staggering. He’s been quietly forgotten on the Rangers, an AL West team with a regional fanbase that hasn’t had a winning season since 2016. However, Texas currently leads the division at 17-11, and Semien is one of the big reasons why – plus he led the majors in plate appearances in 2021 and 2022.
It just so happens that Semien also leads the run race at press time. In second place with 24 runs is his teammate Adolis Garcia (+10000), with Acuna one of several hitters tied at 23 runs. Consider grabbing both Semien and Garcia if you want to add some rare long-shot betting value to your MLB picks.
MLB Pick: Marcus Semien Regular Season Runs Leader (+4500) at BetRivers
How Many Saves Will Jordan Romano Get?
Now we have to get a bit more creative with our handicapping. Saves aren’t part of the ZiPS projections – or any of the major projections for that matter – they’re just too difficult to pin down, especially now that pitching roles (starter, set-up guy, closer) are getting fuzzier with each passing day.
Romano does have some old-school value, though. He plays for the Toronto Blue Jays, who tend to get ignored by the betting public south of the border. That anonymity is relative, mind you; Romano is still an All-Star whose work is frequently on display at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.
At press time, Romano is tied for second in saves with nine, one short of San Diego Padres closer Josh Hader (+800) for the lead. Hader also carries some betting value playing for the Padres, despite their recent ascent to World Series contenders, but his potential payout isn’t as high as Romano’s.
The Padres (15-14, minus-1.53 betting units) might not give Hader the save opportunities he needs to win this category, either. FanGraphs projects San Diego to win 73 more games this year, one fewer than Toronto (18-10, plus-3.58 units).
Then again, the lower scores at Petco Park should lead to fewer non-save blowouts for the Padres than there will be for the Jays at Rogers Centre. It’s a close call without any save projections to work with, so temper your bet size accordingly, and we’ll see what the MLB odds hold come October.
MLB Pick: Jordan Romano Regular Season Saves Leader (+1000) at Caesars Sportsbook