Making MLB predictions on end-of-the-season awards is a marathon, not a sprint. But the preseason wagers placed can be very profitable if you make the correct MLB picks. The 2023 American League AL MVP Award race provides a fight between teammates that could go down to the final game.
The MLB odds list four players with odds of +1000 or shorter to win the AL MVP Young in 2023, including front-runners and fellow Angels, Shohei Ohtani (+200) and Mike Trout (+550). Are either worth your time, or is there a better option on the board?
1. Shohei Ohtani +200
It took a record-breaking season from Aaron Judge to keep Ohtani from winning his second straight MVP Award. It was a tough call, and many wondered if Ohtani didn’t deserve the award, considering his contribution on the mound.
In truth, it’s hard even to compare him to any other player in the league. If the MVP is the most valuable player to a specific team, Ohtani fans have a legit gripe for him losing out to Judge.
He is hard to bet against in this spot, but the odds aren’t good enough for a season-long prop. It doesn’t help that he’s on a team that struggles to remain competitive even with two of the best players in MLB history. It may take the Angels qualifying for the playoffs to get Ohtani another MVP Award.
2. Mike Trout +550
Despite missing significant time in 2022, Trout somehow managed to hit 40 home runs while hitting .283 in 438 at-bats. But his chronic back injury continues to keep him from completely taking over the league, with missed time in four of his last five seasons.
At this point, Trout is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he will have to play more often if he hopes to win another MVP award. It would take an entire season of play and the Angels to make the playoffs for Trout to make good on these odds. Not to mention he has to outplay Ohtani.
3. Aaron Judge +600
It is tough to repeat as the MVP in any league, and Aaron Judges’ odds mirror that sentiment. It’s also hard to break home run records two seasons in a row, which was the most significant factor in Judge beating out Ohtani in 2022.
Do I, a die-hard Yankee fan, expect a similar performance in 2023 from Judge? No, I do not. I’ll just be happy if he doesn’t get injured. You don’t get more than one career year, and 2022 was his. It was also one of the best walk years in MLB history with a .311/.425/.686 line with 62 bombs and 131 RBIs.
He will have to do better to warrant back-to-back MVPs, and I don’t see that happening.
4. Best Bet: Julio Rodriguez +800
Julio Rodriguez is the kind of “do it all” player that MVP voters love. His 2022 AL Rookie of the Year award is proof of that. The 22-year-old Seattle Mariners outfielder came out of the gate hot with a .309 batting average in May while smacking seven home runs and 16 RBIs. He even swiped five bases. Rodriguez also won the Silver Slugger Award for the best-hitting AL outfielder and made the All-MLB Second Team.
Rodriguez is also a phenomenal defensive outfielder.
The nerd numbers on Julio Rodríguez’s catch just now…
Sprint speed: 30.2 ft/sec
Distance covered: 92 feet
Opportunity time: 4.6 seconds pic.twitter.com/5QmcKDw1Ym
— Daniel Kramer (@DKramer_) March 16, 2023
Rodriguez ended the season just as strong as he started, with an absurd .383/.456/.733 in September. Despite a historically good debut year, this tells me he has much more to offer.