Photo: AP Images
I like that bet. A lot.Obviously, you’re dealing with 30/1 odds, so it’s still a long shot. Please, call it a hunch, but I think there’s some significant value on that bet.
First, for reference, here are other players with similar odds to lead the league in home runs (via Sportsbook.com)
- Josh Hamilton (25/1)
- Nelson Cruz (25/1)
- Ryan Braun (25/1)
- Alex Rodriguez (30/1)
- Jay Bruce (30/1)
- Evan Longoria (30/1)
- Kendry Morales (40/1)
- Mike Stanton (40/1)
- Jason Heyward (40/1)
- Justin Morneau (40/1)
Unless you have an inkling for a specific player with an even longer shot – Robinson Cano at 50/1 anyone? anyone? – you don’t want to go much lower than this. Meanwhile, bet on a player with better than 20/1 odds and all value is lost. They payoff just isn’t enough to incur the risk that’s inevitably present over the course of a 162-game season.
Among these players, you want to maximise your chances by picking a player who plays his home games in a hitters park, so I’ll eliminate Morneau, Heyward, Stanton, and Morales from consideration. Meanwhile Hamilton and Cruz have been injury prone, Longoria mashed just 22 HRs last year, and A-Rod has trended downward, struggling to reach 30 HRs each of the last two campaigns.
But there’s a lot to like about Bruce. The former top-prospect has shown good power since being called up in May 2008. And though he had struggled with consistency, he hit his stride at the end of last season, hitting 15 bombs in August and September. Now that the scrutiny that faces a former top-prospect has mostly been lifted, the stars are aligned for Bruce to experience a breakout year in 2011.
Combine his budding power with playing in a good hitters park, and facing the paltry pitching of the Pirates, Astros, and Cubs 48 times next year, and we like his chances. At least enough to risk $100 for a $3,000 payday.
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