The shortened MLB season has not only given more teams a chance of making the playoffs and springing a surprise, but it’s thrown almost all of the stat-driven markets wide open. Over 60 games, all you need is a player to get hot, and you can ride that streak to a fancy priced return.
What we’re looking for is two things. Firstly, opportunity. There are literally dozens of players in each category that could win. It’s a big guessing game, therefore the second thing we need is an incorrect price. Two players with similar skills and opportunity priced at 10/1 and 66/1? That’s what this is about. We’re hunting value, and hopefully will get a runner or two with a live chance entering the final couple of weeks of the season.
The top boys (Trout, Stanton, Alonso) are projected around the 16 dinger mark, and are priced at about 10/1. I like Nelson Cruz, who had an incredible second half in 2019, at 28/1. I think that Cruz’ price is inflated due to his age , and he looks excellent value for a tilt at this prize. Our 2nd selection is Manny Machado at 45/1, projected at 14 homers it doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to see him get involved. Third up is Francisco Lindor at 80/1, 8 times the price of the favorites to bridge a projected 3 home run gap? Deal me in.
Mookie Betts tops this market at 13/2, but we’ll be looking further down the list for our wagers. 40+ will put you in the mix, but there are maybe 50 guys who could win this with a hot streak and some help from a team getting it together. Pick 1 Trevor Story has the Coors Field advantage and is 30/1. A huge value play is Anthony Rizzo at 100/1. He’s batting 2nd in a streaky Cubs line-up, and gets on base at a good clip. Javier Baez (of whom more later) could bat Rizzo in to glory at a three figure price.
Another wide-open event with 11/1 Nolan Arenado the favorite. Again, we’re looking at a winning total in the mid 40’s. Cleveland Indians clean-up man Jose Ramirez is my first selection at 40/1. The top of the Indians line-up looks lively, with Lindor and Mercado looking to steal their way into scoring position for J-Ram to put us in the frame. Second up is Jorge Soler at a pants-twitching 100/1. He’s another looking to knock in the base stealers, and although he won’t get as much help from the Royals as some others, a little streak gives him a squeak.
50+ players are projected to be within the winning total of 65. The favorites at 11/1 are Jose Altuve, Nolan Arenado and Whit Merrifield, but it’s off into the fancy prices for us. The aforementioned Javier Baez is right in the mix at 50/1, and if he can flex his muscles our Anthony Rizzo pick from earlier assumes a pulse and vigor like a cannon. George Springer hit .272 last year and, leading off the Astros, he can up that to get competitive at 100/1.
Now I love this category! You don’t have to be on a good team to win it, in fact it might pay to be on a bad team that need to manufacture runs. The winning total is projected at just 16. It’s a lottery, a big game of bingo, and what’s not to like about that? Throw in the fact that we have a selection of shorties heading the market, Mondesi at even money and the terrible Mallex Smith at 3/1, and its all set-up for a big payday on the upset. My favorite pick in this whole piece is Bo Bichette at 66/1. The Blue Jays look like a fun team, vibrant and exciting. He swiped 10 bags after his call-up last season and Toronto might just let him run this year. I couldn’t split my next 2 selections so I’ll put them both up. Luis Robert 66/1 and Tim Anderson 80/1 will go off one and two for the White Sox, and I like them to try in tandem to get something going for Chicago.