OK, are we done with the doom and gloom portion of the article here? Sweet. Let’s get onto some fun Player Prop bets. Most of these are only currently available on BetOnline.ag, not the apps you may be familiar with already (DraftKings, Fanduel, Bet MGM, etc.), but why not analyze them anyway?
Trevor Story Home Run Total – 34.5
Hey, we came close in our theoretical line the other week at 35.5! That should count for something, right?
First, let’s take a look at Story’s performance last year. He knocked 11 home runs outta the park in 2020 in 259 plate appearances. If we put this into a full season sample size (and for that we’ll use 656 PAs as that’s the exactly amount of PAs he had in both 2018 and 2019), that gives him about 27 homers on the season (28 if you wanna round the decimal up as it comes to 27.8). Given he hit 37 and 35 homers in the years prior, that’s a lot lower than we could have expected. So what contributed to it?
His approach at the plate wasn’t significantly different. His BB% and K% were both pretty similar to past seasons and his slash line, with the exception of slugging percentage, was fairly similar too. Where we do see some changes, though, are HR/FB% and Launch Angle.
As it pertains to HR/FB%, Story had put up a number of 19.9% in both 2018 and 2019. For those new to the stat, that means that basically 20% of all fly balls that Story hit resulted in a home run. In 2020, that number dropped to 13.4%. Where I believe the main change that’s influencing this can be found is in Launch Angle.
In 2018, Story’s average Launch Angle was 16.0 degrees. In 2019, it was 17.5 degrees. In the shortened 2020 season, it increased to 20.9 degrees. In simple terms, Story was getting under the ball more than usual in 2020. It resulted in the 2nd lowest wRC+ of his career, though a wRC+ of 117 shouldn’t be considered bad by anyone’s measures. It just simply means there was a noticeable change in results and that should be a cause of concern for anyone interested in taking the over here.
Additionally, we need to consider the fact that Trevor Story is more than likely to be traded this season, meaning he won’t get as many chances to break this with fewer games at Coors Field. That’s not to say Coors is the full underlying factor here. But while this number may be more realistic if he played with another team for a full season, I would expect that there’d be a slight adjustment period that he goes through before being able to adapt fully to his new environment.
Between that and the worry about him getting too far underneath the ball in 2020 (which is apparently causing him to hit fewer home runs), I recommend backing Under 34.5 Home Runs (-115)