Midsummer Classic at Dodger Stadium
It’s been 42 years since Dodger Stadium hosted the MLB All-Star Game. That game saw the National League extend their winning streak over the American League to nine games with a 4-2 triumph. When the teams take the field Tuesday, the AL will be trying to extend its current run against the NL to nine games.
The Most Valuable Player award in the Midsummer Classic often goes to a guy who gets one big hit or a pitcher who gets a few big outs or who works multiple innings. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the MLB lines for All-Star Game MVP and break down a few of the candidates.
Shohei Ohtani (+450)
The reigning American League MVP is the best player in baseball and he’ll be the first batter up in this one, giving him a chance to make a big splash in the eyes of the voters. The do-everything superstar also led off last year’s classic while serving as the AL’s starter on the mound.
Shohei Ohtani will not be pitching in this one, however. His Los Angeles Angels want to keep him in line for his next start, which restricts him to hitting duties. That evens the field just a bit and might be enough to cause those betting online to look elsewhere.
Aaron Judge (+550)
While Ohtani is the best all-around player in the game, Aaron Judge has had the biggest impact on his team through the season’s first three months. The New York Yankees right fielder leads the majors in home runs, runs and ranks third in RBIs while continuing to play solid defense in center and right field.
Judge homered in the 2018 All-Star Game. An early blast in this one could set him up for MVP honors. He’s already the odds-on favorite at the sportsbook to take home MVP for the entire season, so nothing is a stretch here.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (+800)
Last year’s MVP could join Mike Trout as the only players to ever repeat as All-Star Game MVP. His numbers have taken a bit of a dive after a phenomenal 2021 campaign, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is trending in the right direction. He’s batting .291 with 12 home runs since the start of June.
Guerrero gets the privilege of hitting behind Ohtani, Judge and Rafael Devers and in front of Giancarlo Stanton. He’ll probably face NL starter Clayton Kershaw at the tail end of the first inning with runners on, or to start the second frame after Kershaw’s been forced to get through the first-inning gauntlet.
Perhaps one of those scenarios leads to a grooved offering and another blast for Guerrero. His solo homer in the third inning last year was the key to his MVP nod in a 5-2 game.
Rafael Devers (+2200)
A bit further down the list on the MLB odds sheet sits Rafael Devers, but that might be a mistake. There may be no better hitter on either side, and few are as hot. The Boston Red Sox third baseman batted .343 with five home runs in a nine-game span through Saturday.
Devers ranks in the top five in the majors in hits, runs, doubles, batting average, slugging and OPS. He has been as consistent as the day is long, hitting at least .292 in every month, spiking to .381 in a torrid May. The two-time All-Star destroys righties (1.031 OPS) while smacking around lefties (.306 average) as well.
He smoked a double off Corbin Burnes on the first pitch he ever saw as an All-Star in 2021.
The 25-year-old will finish his career with plenty of statistical titles and awards. A 2022 All-Star Game MVP honor could be among those accolades.
Juan Soto (+1600)
Even further down the MLB picks list — for some odd reason — is Juan Soto. After claiming the Home Run Derby crown on Monday night with an impressive showing, the 23-year-old Washington Nationals star is riding high.
He was, perhaps, the hottest hitter entering the break. In his final 19 games before intermission, Soto batted .411 with six homers and 22 walks with only six strikeouts. He told reporters he was “uncomfortable” talking about trade rumors, but he is not uncomfortable at the plate.
Soto is 7-for-21 with two homers, five walks and four strikeouts against the AL pitchers he would possibly face in this one. He won’t be bothered by any of the matchups.
Clayton Kershaw (+3300)
Many books have only position players listed as MVP candidates, but if you can find one with Clayton Kershaw included, jump on it. Remember in 1999 when Pedro Martinez whiffed five of six batters in two brilliant innings in front of his hometown fans in Boston, setting the table for a 4-1 American League win and an MVP?
Martinez took home the MVP for his quick work and the same scenario could play out in this one, as the award often goes to a sentimental choice anyway. Rewarding one of the Dodgers greats for a couple of clean innings in his home park is an easy pick, especially if nobody else does anything all that special elsewhere.
American League vs National League Game Information
- Game: American League vs National League
- Location: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
- Day/Time: Tuesday July 19, 8 p.m. ET
- Television: MLB.tv