The 2016 MLB season is in full swing and the big bats in the AL are largely living up to expectations. Manny Machado, Mike Trout, Josh Donaldson: all three are off to solid starts in terms of the long-ball.
Some surprise names are near the top of the leaderboard right now, including Marcus Semien and Mark Trumbo, but don’t overreact to their hot starts. Expect the time-tested sluggers to be near the top when 162 games are all said and done.
On that note, let’s look at the updated odds to lead the American League in home runs in 2016.
Odds to lead the AL in home runs in 2016
Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels): 4/1
Mike Trout will be the face of the MLB for years to come; he’s arguably the best hitter in the American League and, apart from injuries, the biggest threat to a home run crown is walks. He’s already got 23 on the year, and the lack of power elsewhere in the Angel lineup means he can be pitched around on a regular basis.
Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles): 5/1
Machado is only 23 years old and he’s already obliterating the MLB with his power. He’s a career .284 hitter with 79 home runs in (parts of) four seasons. He played a full slate for the first time last year, recording 35 dingers. The Orioles have a lot of other dangerous bats that should ensure him good looks at the plate. He should improve on his 35 HR total if he stays healthy.
Todd Frazier (Chicago White Sox): 9/1
Frazier is a masher; the 6’3, 220 pound third baseman cranked out 35 homers last year and 29 the year before that. He’s tied for the AL lead at the moment, with 12 in just 39 games, and the Chi-Sox lineup is looking surprisingly good throughout. Expect him to keep bombing.
Josh Donaldson (Toronto Blue Jays): 9/1
Josh Donaldson’s spike in 2015 has to rise some flags. He had 24 HRs in 2013 and 29 in 2014, then he jumped to 41 last year en route to the AL MVP. He’s near the top of the heap again to start this year and has both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion trailing him in the lineup. Like Machado, he’ll keep getting pitches to hit.
Robinson Cano (Seattle Mariners) 12/1:
Cano is tied for the league-lead with Frazier, but he’s 33-years-old and has never hit more than 33 HRs in a season. He’s always been a great contact hitter (.307 career average) but keeping up his torrid home run pace is a bit of a longshot.
Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers): 20/1
Davi Ortiz (Boston Red Sox): 20/1
Mike Napoli (Cleveland Indians): 25/1
(Photo Credit: Keith Allison (Flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/])