Happy Opening Day, baseball fans! On Thursday, the first day of the regular season is on the schedule and people can’t wait to see how their favorite teams will perform. In the American League, we don’t have to tell you that there are high expectations for the New York Yankees. And ahead of Game 1 getting underway, Yankees star Aaron Judge is favored to hit the most home runs in 2023. Does the slugger have what it takes to repeat what he did in 2022?
Last season, Judge had one of the best campaigns for a hitter we’ve seen in a while. Thanks to his fantastic ability at the plate, he set the new AL home run record by blasting 62 dingers. That performance led to him winning the AL MVP. A lot of fans thought that Angels star Shohei Ohtani would win MVP in ’22, but Judge and the Yankees had other ideas. Entering the new campaign, Judge has monster expectations.
|HR leader odds|
|Judge to win||+550||+550||+550||+550|
|Schwarber to win||+850||+850||+850||+850|
|Trout to win||+900||+900||+900||+900|
|Ohtani to win||+1100||+1100||+1100||+1100|
While no one is expecting him to hit 60+ homers this year, he’s going to have to live up to the hype of his massive new deal. During the offseason, Judge received plenty of interest in free agency, including from the San Francisco Giants. In the end, though, he decided to stay in the Bronx, inking a nine-year deal worth $360 million. Yeah, general manager Brian Cashman put a lot of money on the table.
According to the best-rated sportsbooks, which includes the reliable Bovada review, Judge has been set with +550 MLB betting odds to finish with the most HRs this year. There are other contenders ready to make a splash here, including Kyle Schwarber and Mike Trout. Judge is easily one of the best right-handed hitters in the bigs. However, we’re going elsewhere for our selection of who will be the HR king in ’23.
— Fireside Yankees (@FiresideYankees) February 24, 2023
Kyle Schwarber is our pick to finish with the most home runs this season
This may be a bit of a shock, but Kyle Schwarber is our pick to finish with the most home runs this season. When people think of the Philadelphia Phillies, they automatically bring up Bryce Harper. Hey, rightfully so, as Harper is also one of the best power hitters out there and he’s a threat to leave the yard whenever he’s at the dish. However, don’t forget that Schwarber led the National League in homers last season.
In 2022, Schwarber was a beast for the Phillies, hitting 46 homers and adding 94 RBI. The 46 home runs were second in the bigs only behind Judge. The Phillies are a team to watch in the NL this year, as they’re hoping to get to the World Series. A lot of hype is on the Braves and Dodgers in the National League, but Philly wants a chance to silence its haters. Schwarber will hope to do the same, as he’s entering the season fired up to do big things.
Kyle Schwarber has homered in the: World Series, AL Championship Series, NL Championship Series,
AL Division Series,
NL Division Series,
AL Wild Card Game,
NL Wild Card Game ,
World Baseball Classic,
World Baseball Classic Championship: pic.twitter.com/eeJyJaewAV
— BaseballHistoryNut (@nut_history) March 22, 2023
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Schwarber flirt with 50 home runs this season. What’s going to be important for him is to stay healthy. With Judge, he has what it takes to finish No. 1 in home runs as well, but we’re expecting a bit of a drop off from his last year. Judge was motivated to land his big deal this offseason. Now that he has it, can we really expect him to play with the same amount of gusto? It could be tough.
Per the oddsmakers, Schwarber is right behind Judge with -850 odds to hit the most home runs. Again, it’s not going to be easy for anyone to top Judge this year. However, we do believe that Schwarber has what it takes to dethrone him. Look for the lefty to make plenty of noise from start to finish this season. Again, he’s our pick to hit the most homers this year.
Schwarber and the Phillies are hoping to win the NL East
Belting the most homers in the bigs this year would be one thing, but Schwarber and the Phillies are hoping to win the NL East this year over the Braves and Mets. Right now, the Braves hold the top odds to win the division, with the Mets not too far behind them. No one is giving the Phillies much of a chance to top either of those teams, as they hold +450 odds to win the East. In terms of World Series Betting odds, Philly has been placed at +1500.
This tells us that not a lot of people think that Schwarber and Co. will be able to reach the Fall Classic. What has hurt the Phillies this offseason is that star player Rhys Hoskins suffered a torn ACL in spring training. This is a massive blow, as Hoskins is out for the entire campaign.
Not having him both at the plate and in the field is going to be tough for Philly to overcome. However, stars like Schwarber and Harper are ready to answer the call. Yes, several other teams are getting more love than the Phillies, but don’t be surprised if they come away with the division title. Schwarber has what it takes to power this team to a deep postseason run.