Players are hitting home runs at a record setting pace in 2017. On average, 1.26 balls are leaving the park per game, which would shatter the record of 1.17 set in 2000. Leading the way is Aaron Judge. The Yankees rookie won the Home Run Derby and is tied with Giancarlo Stanton for the MLB lead in dingers (32). The oddsmakers at BetOnline list Judge and Stanton as the favorites to wear the home run crown. When the season is over, who will be the MLB home run leader?

Using research by Jim Albert at baseballwithr, we can predict how many home runs a player will hit at the end of the season. The simulation uses Bayesian analysis to estimate the number of future at bats and a player’s true home run rate. Using R, we can then create home run projections for the favorites based on 10,000 simulations.

Judge

Using this simulation, Judge is projected to have 223 more at bats this season. Judge’s most likely final home run count is 49. In approximately 67% of the 10,000 simulations, Judge hits between 44 and 53 home runs.

Stanton

The Marlins sluggers has been on a tear lately. Stanton has hit 6 home runs in his last eight games. The All-Star masher is the favorite to lead the league in homers. According to the simulations, Stanton’s most likely final home run count is 50, one more than Judge. His total is most likely to fall between 45 and 54 home runs.

It appears to be an even race between two of the league’s biggest hitters. We can quickly look at some of the other home run contenders but you’ll see that their projections fall short of Stanton and Judge.

 

According to the simulations, Judge and Stanton are the only hitters projected to flirt with 50 home runs this season. Stanton is the favorite as he should be but it’s a coin flip between the two sluggers.

Odds to lead MLB in home runs

PlayerTeamOdds
Giancarlo StantonMarlins170
Aaron JudgeYankees185
Cody BellingerDodgers800
Khris DavisAthletics800
Mike MoustakasRoyals1100
George SpringerAstros1400
Bryce HarperNationals1800
Joey VottoReds1800
Ryan ZimmermanNationals2000
Logan MorrisonRays2500
Justin SmoakBlue Jays2500
Nolan ArenadoRockies3300
Jay BruceMets3300
Eric ThamesBrewers4000
Miguel SanoTwins4000
Anthony RizzoCubs4000
Kris BryantCubs5000
Marcell OzunaMarlins5000
Edwin EncarnacionIndians6600
Paul GoldschmidtCardinals6600
Scott ScheblerReds6600
Mike TroutAngels8000
Joey GalloRangers8000
Jake LambDiamondbacks8000
Nelson CruzMariners10000
Manny MachadoOrioles10000
Adam DuvallReds10000
Yonder AlonsoAthletics10000
Justin BourMarlins10000
Charlie BlackmonRockies10000
Mark ReynoldsRockies15000
Corey DickersonRays50000
Michael ConfortoMets50000

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