MLB

MLB Futures Betting: Who Will Lead Baseball in RBI in 2024?

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath

With the 2024 MLB season just around the corner, now is a great time to take a peek at some of this year's MLB Futures via the MLB odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. Teams are just kicking off their Spring Training regimens, meaning savvy bettors with strong knowledge of the league could use this opportunity to get ahead of the field.

One of the more interesting markets to follow throughout the season in the RBI leader race. Unlike other categories such as home runs and stolen bases -- which are almost solely isolated to each individual player's skills -- RBI are far more heavily influenced by a player's environment. The same batter would likely rack up far fewer RBI on, say, the Oakland Athletics than they might accrue on the Texas Rangers, for example.

So, which players have the best odds to lead the MLB in RBI in 2024? Let's dive into the market and find out who are some of the top bets.

Regular Season RBI Leader Odds

Player
Team
162 Game Avg
Odds
Yordan AlvarezHouston Astros128+900
Aaron JudgeNew York Yankees111+950
Matt OlsonAtlanta Braves111+1000
Shohei OhtaniLos Angeles Dodgers101+1000
Juan SotoNew York Yankees100+1200
Pete AlonsoNew York Mets118+1200
Austin RileyAtlanta Braves97+1300
View Full Table

If you've followed baseball in any recent seasons, you're probably familiar with several of the names near the top of the odds here -- it's kind of a who's who of sluggers on some of the top teams in the game. You'll probably also notice that a few teams have multiple representatives -- that makes sense given an RBI leader needs teammates who can get on base hitting in front of him.

In addition to each player's team and their individual odds, I also included the number of RBI per 162 games they've averaged throughout their careers. There's a pretty linear relationship between a player's career RBI-per-162 average and their odds to lead the league in RBI, but with one notable exception, which we'll cover later.

Generally speaking, players have needed around 123 RBI in a season to stand a chance of leading the MLB in RBI. Dating back to 2018 (excluding 2020), the most RBI we've seen in a season has been 139 while the lowest mark we've seen lead the league in that time has been 121.

If you're betting on someone in this market for 2024, you'll want to make sure they're capable of reaching those lofty thresholds -- only three players exceeded 110 RBI last season. With that in mind, let's take a look at some players who make sense for this market this season.

Yordan Alvarez, Astros (+900)

Considering Yordan Alvarez's career 162-game pace for RBI is 128, it shouldn't be surprising that he's the early frontrunner to lead the league in runs batted in for this year. The Houston Astros' slugger has been one of the most productive hitters in baseball since entering the league and has the benefit of playing for one of the most competitive rosters in the game in each of his first five seasons.

The biggest thing standing in Alvarez's way -- an issue that a few of the frontrunners in this market also have -- is whether or not he can stay healthy for a full season. RBI is a counting stat, so players need to suit up for close to a full season to have a legit chance of wearing the crown. As good as he has been when healthy, Alvarez has played in just 144, 135, and 114 games in his last three seasons.

We're not looking for the "RBI per game" leader, so Alvarez will likely need to set a career-high in games played this year to lead the league in RBI.

Aaron Judge, Yankees (+950)

New York Yankees star and AL Home Run record holder Aaron Judge is in pretty much the same boat as Alvarez -- if he plays around 150 to 160 games, he has a fantastic shot of leading the league in RBI. But again, that's a pretty big if.

Judge missed a significant amount of time in the 2023 season while dealing with a serious toe injury, and the slugger's recent comments described the issue as something he may have to manage for the remainder of his career. He's been a full participant in Spring Training so far, so it remains to be seen just how much maintenance the injury will require throughout the year, but it's certainly something to take into account.

Judge should also benefit from the arrival of new teammate Juan Soto (+1200) to the lineup. The former Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres superstar could be the best hitter Judge has played alongside, and Soto has led the league in walks drawn in each of the last three seasons. If Judge is eyeing an RBI title for 2024, Soto could become his best friend along the way if Soto hits in front of Judge.

Soto's own +1200 odds to lead the league in RBI make him one of the top contenders, as well, but assuming he's hitting either first or second in the Yankees' order this year, he'll likely have fewer opportunities to knock in runs than Judge does, so I like Judge's +950 odds better than Soto's +1200 for the time being.

Matt Olson, Braves (+1000)

After Matt Olson led the league in RBI (139) a season ago, it's a little surprising seeing the Atlanta Braves' stud sporting just the third-best odds to repeat that feat in 2024. The Braves' lineup -- which led the league in scoring a year ago -- hasn't changed much this offseason and should once again be an elite force.

The biggest challenge Olson might face in repeating the RBI title could come from his own teammates. Batting behind stars like Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, and Austin Riley can be lucrative for RBI production, but only if those players don't end up hitting each other in before Olson takes the plate.

But all in all, Olson should be right in the mix to pace the MLB in runs batted in once again.

Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers (+1000)

Coming off Tommy John surgery, Shohei Ohtani will not be pitching during the 2024 season. He will, however, be hitting throughout the campaign in the middle of one of the most productive lineups in baseball. Like Judge and Alvarez, if Ohtani plays a full year, he has a good chance of competing to lead the league in RBI.

While Judge's numbers could get a bump with Soto joining his team, Ohtani's numbers could spike as he joins the Dodgers after spending his first six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. Despite Ohtani's massive talent -- not to mention some prime years of Mike Trout's career -- the Angels never ranked better than 15th in runs per game in any of Ohtani's seasons with the team (excluding the 2020 COVID season).

The two-way star's plate appearances could feature a lot more runners on base than he's seen in the past, making Ohtani a strong candidate to lead the league in RBI this season.

Pete Alonso, Mets (+1200)

Earlier in the article, I mentioned the mostly linear relationship between a player's 162-game RBI pace and their odds of leading the league in that category, noting that there was one exception near the top of this year's crop. That exception? New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso.

Alonso' +1200 odds tie Soto's odds for the fifth-shortest on the board right now, but his career 162-game RBI pace (118) trails only Alvarez's 128 mark. Given Alonso's much stronger track record of health, we could make the case that the "Polar Bear" should be the actual frontrunner to lead the league in RBI in 2024.

Even after suffering a wrist sprain and bone bruise on a hit-by-pitch last year, Alonso missed only a handful of games -- but took a few weeks to return to his typical form. Despite that, he still finished his 2023 campaign with a whopping 46 homers and 118 RBI (second in the majors).

Of everyone we've touched on so far, Alonso at these +1200 odds is my favorite bet.

Two Longshots to Consider

If you're a fan of looking for longshots, here are a pair to consider before the start of the season: one familiar face and one up-and-comer.

The Baltimore Orioles are set to have one of the most explosive offenses in the league this season after the young roster's breakout 2023 campaign, one that saw them score the seventh-most runs in the league. As their budding core continues to develop this season, veteran slugger Anthony Santander (+12000) could reap the rewards.

Santander's +12000 odds make him a true longshot, but he's a power hitter who will likely be batting cleanup for a high-powered offense. He already notched 95 RBI a season ago and could be in for a very productive 2024 at the plate.

My favorite up-and-comer candidate to lead the league in RBI this season is Boston Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas (+12000), who logged a highly productive rookie season in 2023. He's a left-handed batter who doesn't need to be hidden against lefty pitchers -- he recorded a .817 OPS against them as a rookie -- meaning he should get plenty of chances at the plate this season.

If Trevor Story can bounce back, the front half of Boston's lineup could set up Casas for a lot of RBI chances.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.