Home News MLB home run leader picks 2023: Aaron Judge, Pete Alonso

MLB home run leader picks 2023: Aaron Judge, Pete Alonso

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After an incredible hot streak, Shohei Ohtani stands alone atop the home run leaderboard with 24.

He’s one ahead of the Mets’ Pete Alonso and four ahead of the Yankees’ Aaron Judge.

Other names are in the mix, including Atlanta’s Matt Olson, Miami’s Jorge Soler, and Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber.

However, if you were to place your hard-earned money on only one of the New York superstars, which one should you pick?

Alonso’s smacked 22 home runs so far this season. He recently smacked a homer in back-to-back games against the Blue Jays and Braves.

However, there’s a reason to believe Alonso’s been slightly lucky, at least from a home run perspective.

We know every ballpark is slightly different, so a long fly ball could be a home run at one ballpark and a flyout at another.

Shohei Ohtani is the MLB’s do it all star, leading baseball in home runs with 24.
Getty Images

Baseball Savant tracks these differences to record a stat called expected home runs, which accounts for ballpark and environmental variances to help more accurately compare home run totals across hitters.

Per Baseball Savant, Alonso has hit 3.4 more home runs (22) than expected home runs (18.6), the largest difference between any batter with at least 15 home runs this season.

In fact, it’s only 1.2 more expected home runs than Judge.

Judge has slightly overperformed, too, given he’s only recorded 17.5 expected home runs to his 19.

Ultimately, we can project home run regression for Alonso — he should hit fewer on a per-pitch basis going forward — which we can’t necessarily project as much for Judge.

So, from this perspective, Judge is clearly the better bet to lead the league in home runs this season.

However, Judge’s toe injury throws a wrench in our analysis.

MLB Home Run Leaders Odds
Shohei Ohtani (24) +260
Pete Alonso (22) +480
Matt Olson (20) +600
Kyle Schwarber (20) +600
Jorge Soler (20) +1800
*Aaron Judge (19) +1200
*Max Muncy (18) +6500
Ozzie Albies (17) 130/1
Mookie Betts (17) +3500
*On Injured List –– Odds provided by FanDuel Sportsbook

Judge recently received a second injection in his toe, which should help speed up the recovery — and it is believed that Judge can be back in about a month.

Judge isn’t going to get the same amount of plate appearances as Alonso (or any hitter, for that matter). So, when it comes to a counting stat competition, how can we possibly place our money with a guy lacking opportunities?

While it seems counterintuitive, I think the injury actually creates opportunity… for us, the bettors.

Judge will miss time, but he is hitting home runs at an unbelievable rate compared to the rest of the league.

Since the beginning of last season, Judge has been hitting a home run on average every 9.2 plate appearance.

The next highest mark is Mike Trout, who is hitting a home run every 11 plate appearance.

During that same stretch, Judge has a 35 percent home run to fly ball rate (HR/FB), which is 7 percent higher than the next highest mark.

Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees is still the leagues premier power hitter despite injuries.
Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees is still the league’s premier power hitter despite injuries.
Getty Images

There is a reason Judge hit 16 more home runs than any other hitter in baseball last season.

He can hit more home runs in a shorter amount of time.

Judge’s odds will significantly lengthen the betting odds on him to be the home run leader, but his home run pace is much higher than any other hitter, so he still has a great chance of competing for the home run crown.

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If anything, now is the time to buy Judge in this market overall, not just against Alonso.

Because of the injury, Judge’s odds to be the home run leader currently sit at 12/1, likely the best number we’ll get all season for the most prolific home run hitter in baseball, and he won’t miss enough time to take him out of the race entirely.

Judge isn’t just a better bet than Alonso in this market, he’s the best bet of any hitter in baseball at this number.

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