- Plenty of run producers during the first half of MLB season
- Alonso bringing them home
- MVP front-runner Goldschmidt a great bet
- Ramirez the player to watch in the American League
- Early season favorite is well back
- Injuries slowing big hitters
- Long balls don't always result in high RBI totals
- Biggest surprises, disappointments
MLB Not Suffering From Lack of Run Production
There hasn’t been a player with at least 150 runs batted in during a season since Alex Rodriguez drove in 156 runs for the New York Yankees in 2007. In the National League, you have to go back to 2001 when Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs had 160 RBIs for that to happen. With the MLB season approaching the midway point, and the possibility that a couple of players have a shot at 150; this is a pretty good time to take a look at where the MLB runs batted in odds stood just a month ago.
When the season started, very few MLB midseason predictions would have the RBI race shaking out like it is at the current time.
Alonso Bringing Them Home
Only the most ardent of New York Mets fans would remember that Howard Johnson is the only player in franchise history to lead the National League in RBIs during the regular season.
Aided by six games with at least five RBIs, Pete Alonso is in a position to change that. After driving in at least one run in five of his last six games, Alonso leads Major League Baseball with 69 RBIs. If he continues driving in runners at that pace, he would finish the season with 151.
The MLB runs batted in odds had Alonso tied with Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals at +1400 which was the best mark among National League hitters. Alonso had almost as many RBIs in the month of May as Soto has all season long.
MVP Front-Runner Goldschmidt a Great Bet
Those who predicted this amount of production for St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, could be rewarded in a major way in several months.
There were 12 National League batters with better MLB runs batted in odds than Goldschmidt, who is second only to Alonso with 64 RBIs. Much like Alonso, Goldschmidt went to work in the month of May with 33 RBIs.
Among qualified batters, nobody has a better batting average (.347), on-base percentage (.429), and slugging percentage (.642) than Goldschmidt.
Goldschmidt is hitting .396 with runners in scoring position. That is a hard pace to continue on. If he does, he certainly could be challenging Alonso for the RBI crown.
American League: Watch Ramirez
With the National League adding a universal designated hitter, that obviously helps the big-time run producers in the NL put up impressive RBI totals. The American League, which has utilized the DH for years, has had the advantage when it comes to driving in runs as the MLB leader in three of the last four seasons has come from the AL.
Now that the playing field has been leveled, the two players with the most RBIs, both play in the National League.
The AL leader is Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Guardians with 63 RBIs. Cleveland will become the last of the MLB teams to reach the 70-game mark so Ramirez is actually on pace to have more RBIs than Goldschmidt.
Ramirez had +2000 odds to lead the way in RBIs and there were six players in the AL ahead of him so he is proving to be a good bet when it comes to the MLB runs batted in odds.
Early Season Favorite is Back
Guerrero is starting to heat up with 21 RBIs in the month of June after a tough stretch in May when it comes to driving in runs.
Part of the issue with Guerrero’s RBI totals is out of his control as George Springer is hitting just .259 with an on-base percentage of .333 while Bo Bichette has a .256 average and .299 on-base percentage. It can be hard to drive in runs when people aren’t on base.
Guerrero was a popular pick coming into the season among those who bet on MLB. It could be troubling to those in Guerrero’s corner that his best three months for RBIs in 2021 were April, May, and June.
Injuries Slowing Big Hitters
Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies was at +1800 and that might have been a decent bet until Harper recently injured his thumb while being hit by a pitch. Harper could be out for a while. Manny Machado (+1600) is another top-run producer who has missed some time.
Long Balls Don’t Always Result in High RBI Totals
While hitting home runs can certainly result in higher RBI numbers, that isn’t always the case.
Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees leads the majors with 28 home runs. Unfortunately for him, 21 of those have come with the bases empty.
Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros and three-time MVP Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels are tied for second with 22 home runs. Alvarez has 13 solo home runs while Trout has 12 homers with nobody on base.
Alvarez (+1200), Judge (+1500), and Trout (+1500) were among the AL players with the best odds to lead the way in RBIs. It could still happen. Judge is just six RBIs behind Ramirez for the AL lead and Alvares is only nine back.
Biggest Surprises, Disappointments
Good luck finding the name of New York Mets infielder Francisco Lindor on the list of top projected run producers. As it stands, he is currently fifth with 56 RBIs. C.J. Cron of the Colorado Rockies is at 54 and he is another MLB player not counted on to be among the top-run producers in baseball.
On the other end of the spectrum, Cleveland’s Franmil Reyes (+2000) had the same odds as Ramirez; Reyes has just 14 RBIs in 40 games. Toronto’s Teoscar Hernandez was also listed at +2000 but he is eighth on the Blue Jays with 28 RBIs.