The dog days of summer are still ahead of us, so some of the gaudy offensive numbers are yet to be tabulated. However, with every Major League Baseball team having played more than 20 percent of its games, why not take a look at how the sportsbook has set the current American League Most Valuable Player odds?
The current batting averages and power-hitting splits aren’t being relied on as much as the projected numbers, with former MVPs very much at the front of the line. Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, who is still going strong, is the last player to win back-to-back AL Most Valuable Player awards in 2012 and 2013. Shohei Ohtani, the reigning MVP, is bidding to accomplish that feat as he continues to delight fans with his hitting and pitching.
The MLB odds list Ohtani (+225) as the favorite to be named the AL MVP once again.
Angels Leading the Way
One can only wonder how many MVP awards Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout would have if not for a string of injuries that limited him to fewer than 150 games in each of the last five seasons.
The three-time MVP is off to a strong start with a .310 average, nine home runs and 20 RBIs in his first 33 games. Trout is just ahead of Toronto’s Vlad Guerrero Jr. as he has the second-best MVP odds at +425. Trout has earned that place with a majors-leading OPS of 1.072.
The only player ahead of him is teammate Shohei Ohtani, the reigning American League Most Valuable Player.
Ohtani is only hitting .257 with eight homers and a team-leading 27 RBIs. Any mention of Ohtani’s MVP candidacy has to include his work as a pitcher. He is 3-2 with a 2.78 ERA to go with 46 strikeouts in 32.1 innings.
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) May 15, 2022
One of the complaints about Trout and Ohtani as MVP candidates has been the Angels’ struggles to make a title run.
The offense has been aided by the emergence of Taylor Ward (.385, 8 homers, 22 RBIs) and Brandon Marsh. They are helping Los Angeles push Houston for the lead in the AL West Division race.
It would be hard for anybody making MLB picks to go against either of these Los Angeles Angels stars.
The MVP chatter should only intensify when the Angels meet the Yankees in a three-game series starting on May 31.
Guerrero Again Very Much in Mix
Vlad Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays is coming off a season that would have earned him MVP honors more often than not.
The MVP runner-up a year ago, Guerrero is currently on a 13-game hitting streak. Although his average of .281 is 30 points off what he put up a season ago, he does have seven home runs.
Guerrero’s power numbers are down a bit. During the 2021 campaign, more than 40 percent of his hits went for extra bases. That number has dropped to 30 percent this year.
When Toronto is able to get everyone back into the lineup, the hits and power numbers figure to come for Guerrero.
Guerrero didn’t receive a first-place MVP vote in 2021 despite leading the American League with 123 runs, 48 home runs, a .401 on-base percentage, .601 slugging percentage and an OPS of 1.002.
Those who bet online will keep an eye on him in the coming weeks and months.
Power Hitters Climbing the Charts
Aaron Judge has shown the ability to send even the best pitches out of any MLB ballpark. Much like Trout, the issue with Judge has been staying healthy.
Judge has played in 33 of the first 35 games, leading the New York Yankees to the best record in the majors. His six home runs in May have pushed him into the lead with 12 homers. At his current pace, he would top his career-high mark of 52 set in 2017. It is hard to believe that Judge homered just once in his first 11 games.
Judge’s teammates, Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo, are also in double digits in home runs already so they are dark-horse candidates.
Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins has seen his MVP odds jump to +1200. His power surge has something to do with it.
Buxton has 10 hits in the month of May and six of them have gone for extra bases, including five home runs.
Buxton’s career high for home runs in a season is 19 set a season ago in 61 games. If he hadn’t missed 12 games this season, he might be approaching that number already.
Don’t forget about Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez (+1400), even if he has yet to get going in the month of May.
Ramirez had seven homers and 28 RBIs in 21 games in April, but he has just three extra-base hits and a .200 batting average in May. Ramirez had 17 homers after the All-Star game in 2021, so expect him to heat up again as the season moves forward.
Young Stars Ready to Join Party
Tampa Bay infielder Wander Franco (+2000) and Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert (+2500) received plenty of hype before they played in their first MLB game. Fans are starting to see what all the fuss is about.
Franco leads Tampa Bay with 21 runs scored. After recording 30 extra-base hits in 70 games during the 2021 season, he already has 14 in his first 34 games. Only five players in the American League have a better OPS number in May than Robert.
It might be hard to find a hitter in the American League on more of a roll than Robert.
His .418 batting average is best in the AL during the month of May