2012 National League Home Run Champ Vegas Odds and Predictions – Favorites, Dark Horses and Sleepers to Win the 2012 Home Run Championship: While the Steroid Era seriously devalued the home run, knocking a ball over the fence remains one of the most celebrated accomplishments in professional sports. Recent changes to Major League Baseball’s drug policy have kept the home run totals in check in recent years, and a 30 home run season is starting to mean something once again, as is the home run title. In the pitching heavy National League, the home run title is particularly intriguing because there are very few pure power hitters. However, there are plenty of strong all-around players with a lot of power, and the battle for the 2012 NL home run title is about as wide open as they come.
The Favorites – 2012 NL Home Run Champ Odds, Expert Picks and Predictions
After leading the National League with 39 home runs last season, there is reason to believe Matt Kemp could repeat as a champ in 2012. He has increased his home run total in every year of his career, averaging 31 per season from 2009-2011. Not to mention the fact that Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols – the two players that finished behind Kemp in the home run chase – both went to the Americna League in the offseason. Kemp is one of the top all-around talents in baseball, and he is just entering the prime of his career. His power has blossomed the last few seasons, and after last year’s near Triple Crown performance, he is the frontrunner to lead the NL in home runs once again.
He changed his name in the offseason, but Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton was born to hit home runs. Stanton hit 22 round trippers in just 100 games as a rookie, and his first full season in the majors he hit 34 homers. The 2012 season will be his second as an everyday player, and given Stanton’s immense power, the added experience should only boost his total. Not to mention that a reloaded lineup should get him some more quality pitches to hit. Stanton should approach 40 home runs this year, which will put him right in the mix to lead the National League.
The Dark Horses – 2012 NL Home Run Champ Odds, Expert Picks and Predictions
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment Ryan Braun will have all year happened in the offseason, when he had his 50-game suspension overturned. Now that he will be in the lineup Opening Day, the defending NL MVP is a serious threat to add a home run title to his trophy case. He has hit 32 or more home runs in four of his five seasons, and he has hit 38 or more double in four of his five seasons, as well. With Prince Fielder now playing in Detroit, Braun will be leaned on even more to drive in runs for Milwaukee. His average and stolen base total could decline, but his home run total should trend upward with his new role. Assuming Braun is recovered mentally from his offseason ordeal, he should continue to put up Triple Crown-caliber numbers.
Former No. 1 overall pick Justin Upton has always shown glimpses of his immense talent, but last season, he finally put it all together. Upton played a career-high 159 games and responded with a career-high 31 home runs and 39 doubles. The 2012 season will be just his fourth full season in the majors, and he is just starting to reach his ceiling. Arizona’s young lineup matured as a whole last year, and as his teammates continue to develop, Upton should find himself in a better position to succeed at the plate. Upton has more than enough talent to win an MVP or two in his future, and if he builds on last season’s breakout campaign, he could reach 40 homers in 2012.
The Sleepers – 2012 NL Home Run Champ Odds, Expert Picks and Predictions
Although second base isn’t usually thought of as a power-hitting position, it is tough to argue with Dan Uggla’s numbers. After hitting 27 home runs as a rookie, Uggla has surpassed the 30 home run plateau in six straight seasons. Last year, he hit a career-high 36 homers in his first season with Atlanta. With Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder now in the American League, Matt Kemp is the only returning NL player that hit more home runs than Uggla in 2011. He is a near lock to hit 30-plus long balls again this year, and if a few more sneak over the fence, Uggla could sneak up and win the home run title.
A quick look at Jay Bruce’s career numbers reveals a trend that is tough to ignore. In his four major league seasons, his home run totals have gone 21 in 2008, 22 in 2009, 25 in 2010 and a career-high 32 last season. While hit batting average has fluctuated, Bruce’s power has steadily developed. He will be overshadowed in Cincinnati by former MVP Joey Votto, but Bruce has a chance to emerge as one of the premier power hitters in the National League. If recent history holds true, he will top his 32 homers from a year ago. Whenever a player is hitting 35-plus homer runs in a year, especially in the NL, they could end up leading the league.
Odds to win the 2012 MLB Home Run Championship
Jose Bautista +650
Albert Pujols +900
Giancarlo Stanton +900
Prince Fielder +1000
Miguel Cabrera +1200
Mark Teixeira +1500
Adrian Gonzalez +1800
Mark Reynolds +1800
Matt Kemp +1800
Ryan Braun +2000
Curtis Granderson +2200
Evan Longeria +2500
Troy Tulowitzki +2500
Adam Dunn +3000
Alex Rodriguez +3000
Jay Bruce +3000
Nelson Cruz +3000
Dan Uggla +3500
Joey Votto +3500
Josh Hamilton +3500
Justin Upton +3500
Mike Morse +3500
Adam Lind +4000
Mike Napoli +4000
Adrian Beltre +5000
Carlos Pena +5000
Paul Konerko +5000
Robinson Cano +5000
David Ortiz +10000
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