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Over/Under on Mike Trout home runs in 2021 set at 41.5

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

March 24th, 2021

Perennial AL MVP candidate Mike Trout is one of many star MLB players with prop wagers available to bet on this preseason. His home run total has been set at a daunting 41.5, among the highest marks of his peers.

Will it be Over bettors or Under bettors who cash here? Let’s start finding out.

The case for the Over

Trout suffered a down year of sorts in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, seeing his batting average slip to .281 (his lowest since 2014) and his OPS drop to .993 OPS (his lowest since 2016). This goes a long way in explaining why he was just fifth in the MVP voting last year, his lowest finish ever (excluding his 40-game debut year of 2011, when he received no votes).

But the eight-time All-Star still managed to hit 17 home runs in 53 games – a pace of nearly 52 longballs in a full 162-game season.

Trout managed to eclipse 41.5 homers in 2019 – his most recent MVP season – when he tallied 45 round-trippers in only 134 games. He was also extremely close to the threshold in 2015, when he hit 41 homers over 159 games in 2015. Trout should still have plenty of power in his bat going into his age-30 campaign.

For what it’s worth, Trout feels better at the plate than he has in the last year or more, telling The Athletic, “I’ve kind of figured out some stuff in the last few days that really I’ve been struggling with the last year, especially last year, just fighting it.”

The case for the Under

Trout is not so much a pure home run-hitter as he is an on-base machine. He led the AL in OBP four years running prior to 2020, and in OPS+ for five straight seasons. The fact that Trout has exceeded 41.5 homers just once in his 10-year career should alarm potential Over bettors.

Also disconcerting is how Trout has failed to suit up for more than 140 games since 2016. Various minor injuries caused him to miss 98 games over the last three full MLB seasons. He missed seven games in 2020, some due to paternity leave.

Furthermore, a recent memo sent by the MLB to its member clubs indicates that the ball will be deadened slightly from the ones that have been in play the last few seasons. This could potentially hurt all home run-hitters, including Trout.

The verdict

Though the last two seasons suggest otherwise, Trout is not a pure home run-hitter, and 41.5 longballs is a very difficult number to surpass. Bettors should be bearish and back the Under.

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