Nationals’ Juan Soto favored to lead MLB in RBI in 2021
Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto is considered by many to be a legitimate threat to win his first career NL MVP Award in 2021, so it’s not surprising to see him as the +800 betting favorite to tally the most RBI in baseball this season.
But this is anything but a one-horse race – Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger (+1000) and Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna (+1200) are hot on Soto’s heels in this market. Let’s dive into the résumés for each of the top three betting choices for most RBI, and uncover the best available bet.
Most RBI 2021
Wed, September 1 2021, 3:59 AM
Soto led the majors in OPS (1.151) and intentional walks (12) in 47 games last season despite starting the campaign on the COVID-19 list. However – partially due to the fact that he batted in the two-hole most of the year – Soto recorded a modest 37 RBI, missing the Top 10 in 2020.
It doesn’t seem likely that Soto will move down the lineup after Washington added power batter Josh Bell via trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Nats also took a flyer on former Chicago Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber. If anything, Soto could move up to the leadoff role following the departure of outfielder Adam Eaton.
It will be interesting to see how Washington manager Dave Martinez handles Soto in 2021. It could go a long way in determining various future wagers, including the “most RBI” market.
Bellinger looked lost at the plate at times in 2020, especially early (.139 batting average in July). He dug himself out of that hole as the year progressed, though his numbers paled in comparison to those of his 2019 MVP campaign – including his 30 RBI figure.
So which Bellinger will we see in 2021? It might be the one from 2019 that tallied 115 RBI, batting fourth in the order for the majority of the season. The Dodgers managed to keep most of their World Series-winning roster intact, which will aid Bellinger’s cause.
It’s worth noting that Bellinger drove in 13 runs during the 2020 playoffs.
The Braves will miss having Ozuna as a DH instead of an outfielder, but they couldn’t let him walk away after he drove in an NL-leading 56 RBI in 2020.
With Marcell Ozuna returning to the Braves lineup, I feel bad for any 4-seam heavy fastball usage pitcher facing that lineup.— Joey Ricotta (@theriot326) February 10, 2021
Ozuna and Freeman combined for a 35 run value and ranked 1st and 2nd in run value against that pitch in 2020 (6th and 10th in 2019). pic.twitter.com/QW3fXjyW5k
Ozuna has as many as 124 RBI in a season, but that 2017 campaign in Miami was his lone year with 90 or more RBI. The Dominican native should get plenty of RBI chances once more with Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. beside him in the order, but Ozuna is a wild card in this market.