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MLB Futures: Player Props (2020)

by March 5, 2020

With the MLB season just weeks away from the opening pitch, now is an excellent time to take a look at some player props. We will discuss our favorite bets for the AL and NL MVPs and Cy Young award winners. We will also take a swing at predicting 2020’s home run king. Let’s dig in. 

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Most Regular Season Home Runs
With Aaron Judge already dealing with injury issues, this prop comes down to Christian Yelich, Mike Trout, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Pete Alonso. In the end, the player who hits the most home runs is the player who stays the healthiest and has the most plate appearances. Lineup protection will also play a factor, as opposing pitchers can just opt to walk star bats when desired. 

Trout led all players with home runs per at-bat (HR/AB) in 2019 at 10.4. Nelson Cruz and Christian Yelich were tied for second at 11.1. Pete Alonso, who led the league in home runs last season, placed fourth at 11.4. Mike Trout (12.0 in 2018) and Nelson Cruz (14.0 in 2018) were the only two players in the top five in both 2018 and 2019. 

At DraftKings, Judge at +800, Alonso at +1200, Ronald Acuna Jr. at +1600, and Yelich at +1800 all make sense for those looking to lay action on more than one player due to the odds, but Trout has the metrics to suggest that he will lead the league in dingers with the extra protection he’ll have in 2020. 

Pick: Mike Trout (+1000)

American League Cy Young Award Winner
With Luis Severino lost for the season, Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander become the favorites to win this award. Cole currently sits at +275 while Verlander sits at +700. There is honestly no reason not to drop a unit on both players, as you will still make a profit regardless of which ace hits. Cole has better metrics over the past two seasons, and he has been rightly projected as the favorite, but Verlander may win the ERA and WHIP peripheral battle. Regardless of how you feel about the Astros, Cole and Verlander are the plays at BetAmerica. 

Pick: Gerrit Cole (+275) and Justin Verlander (+700)

American League MVP
This award should just be renamed the Mike Trout award. There is no player in the American League more crucial to his team’s success than Trout, and the odds reflect that at +125. There are, of course, scenarios where he does not win this award. For example, he could suffer a multi-week injury, or Anthony Rendon could outplay him this year. Aaron Judge will make a push for this award if he can make it through the season healthy, but he “s already dealing with some injury issues, so he’s a poor bet to play enough games to generate more votes than the best player in baseball. 

Shohei Ohtani is an interesting play if you are looking for a longshot. If he can muster a full season on the mound and at the plate, he will have a unique argument for the MVP Award. Trout remains the best bet here, though, and should be plugged in even if you plan to lay action on multiple players. With Judge at +1100, Ohtani at +2000, and Anthony Rendon at +2000, you could still spread your action and generate a profit (at four units or more on Trout) if any of the four names win the award. For those looking for a one-unit play, Trout remains the best bet at +125 at BetAmerica. 

Pick: Mike Trout (+125)

National League Cy Young Award Winner
The National League is filled with legitimate Cy Young candidates. Jacob deGrom is the favorite to win the award, as his peripheral stats and advanced metrics figure to once again be among the best in the league. The New York Mets came on strong at the end of last season, and they figure to give him enough run support for him to be among the National League’s leaders in wins. The improved supporting cast is all he needs to be one of the top-three finishers for the award. Walker Beuhler and Clayton Kershaw, at +1000 and +2500, respectively, are well worth consideration since they play for the team that should lead the majors in wins. The suggestion here is to lay two units on deGrom, one unit on Beuhler, and one unit on Kershaw. If you are more comfortable with laying only one unit, Jacob deGrom at +300 is the play at Caesars Casino & Sportsbook.

Pick: Jacob deGrom (+300)

National League MVP Award
There is no race more wide open than the National League MVP race, and the odds on the current favorite, Mookie Betts (+500), reflect that. Betts will face staunch competition from names like Ronald Acuna Jr. (+600) and Christian Yelich (+700). The best player on the best team in baseball argument could win Betts a lot of votes, so if you plan to lay action on more than one player for this prop, Betts needs to be a part of your strategy. If you are looking for a single player to lay your action on, however, Christian Yelich is the best value. He almost won the MVP award for the second year in a row in 2019, and that was despite playing 26 fewer games than eventual winner Cody Bellinger. Yelich is one of the best players in baseball, and he has the power, speed, and plate discipline to match. Punch him in at +700 at BetAmerica. 

Pick: Christian Yelich (+700)

Christian Yelich 38.5 home runs
The general rule when betting season-long single-player over/under props is to bet the under. They hit almost 60 percent of the time, largely due to injuries. However, there is always a high degree of risk, because if they play the majority of their team’s games, they will likely hit the over on the generally fairly set lines. 

Digging through the player props offered by 888Sports, the Christia Yelich prop stood out the most. Yelich hit 44 home runs in 2019, and he continues to show improved power year after year. He hit 44 dingers despite missing 32 games last season, and he should easily crack the 40-home run barrier if he can play in at least the 130 games he played in 2019. As mentioned above, Yelich is one of only two players to rank in the top five in HR/AB over the past two seasons, and only plate appearances can hold him back from hitting this surprisingly low number.

Pick: Christian Yelich over 38.5 home runs (+100)

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Raju, check out his archive, and follow him @FantasyContext.