Last year was a historic year for one home run hitter in particular, as Aaron Judge of the Yankees went yard a staggering 62 times, breaking Roger Maris’ single season American League record in the process. Three other MLB players managed to eclipse 40 homers, with none coming close to Judge. Kyle Schwarber of the Philadelphia Phillies hit 46 while Pete Alonso of the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout each hit 40.
Despite not having someone challenge Judge’s numbers, the Atlanta Braves had a good year as a team, putting together a 101-win season before losing to the Phillies in the NL Divisional series. They spread the wealth offensively, with five players hitting at least 20 home runs, led by Austin Riley’s 38 and Matt Olson’s 34.
With the 2023 MLB season getting underway, and unfortunately no Georgia sports betting to accompany it, BetGeorgia decided to look at Fangraphs' 2023 Steamer projections to develop hypothetical odds on which player will lead the league in home runs this year, and to see if any Braves could be in the mix.
2023 MLB Home Run Leader Odds
Riley, Olson Headline Braves' Lineup
Looking at the projections shows Judge is yet again expected to pace the league, although his historic 62 from last season is more likely to be an outlier than something he will repeat. The other three players to hit 40 or more last year are expected to do about the same and be in the top five, with Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also expected to join them in hunting down Judge.
While the Braves once again don’t have anyone projected at the absolute top of the list, their leading duo from last year look likely to at least be in the conversation, and at great value.
With 34 projected home runs each, Matt Olson and Austin Riley both check in with hypothetical +1800 odds according to BetGeorgia’s research. That projection ties them with a pair of Houston Astros in Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez.
Riley has passed 30 home runs in two consecutive seasons, with a 33 home run season in 2021 preceding his 38 last year. He is sitting on 97 career dingers and should hit the century mark early in the year. Riley should spend most of the year hitting third in the Braves batting order and has a great chance at setting career high numbers in that spot.
Olson had a solid first season for Atlanta with 103 RBI to go along with the 34 home runs he hit. He has two other 30+ home run seasons on his resume, as he hit 39 in 2021 and 36 in 2020, both as a member of the Oakland Athletics. For his career he has 176 and with a strong season will easily pass 200 for his career.
Passing Judge, Trout or any of the other top sluggers in the league will be a tough challenge for anyone this year, but both of these Atlanta stars have a chance to do so.
Riley (age 25) is still in the growing stage of his career, and that youth and potential makes him the biggest threat in this Braves lineup.
There are no legal Georgia sports betting apps, but BetGeorgia will keep tabs on the Braves all season along.
Keep in mind, we are also home to the Falcons playoff chances.