Are The AL And NL MVPs Already Wrapped Up?

by Travis Pulver
August 26th 2019, 10:16am

With right around 30 or so games to go for every team in baseball, we will soon find out who will win each division and who is going to have a shot to compete for a spot in the World Series.

While the case will have been made for the eventual winners of the league’s individual awards, we will have to wait to see who wins what.

Fans will have to wait until the award winners are announced making it official to celebrate. But then some would say the races are so one-sided for the AL and NL MVPs that it is already clear who the winner of each should be.

That is certainly true for the American League where there is a wide margin between the odds of the favorite and his closest competitor (via DraftKings):

AL MVP Winner

  • Mike Trout -1000
  • Alex Bregman, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers   +1400
  • DJ LeMahieu +2200
  • Mookie Betts  +2500
  • George Springer, Michael Brantley     +2800
  • Matt Chapman, Francisco Lindor, Yoan Moncada +4000
  • Max Kepler, Carlos Santana, Jorge Polanco     +6600
  • Jose Ramirez, Marcus Semien, Gleyber Torres  +8000
  • Jose Altuve, J.D. Martinez, Tommy Pham        +10000

At this point in the season, it would take an epic final month for Bregman, Bogaerts, Devers, or Mathieu. There are just too many things that Trout is either the best at or one of the best. He leads the AL in home runs (42), he’s tied for second in RBI’s (98), and he ha the highest OPS and slugging percentage in the AL.

There isn’t a player in the game of baseball, not just the AL, that is as valuable as Mike Trout is. When you take into consideration all of the things that he does so well there is no way the AL MVP can go to anyone but him. The NL MVP, on the other hand, is a much different story.  

Maybe not a ‘much different’ story; just a different one. While Mike Trout is running away with it in the AL, the NL has a tight two-man race at the top, a decent longshot, and then everyone else.

NL MVP Winner

Cody Bellinger’s odds give him a 64.54 percent chance of winning; good, but definitely not so good to say he has the award locked down. Yellich, the defending NL MVP, has a 42.55 percent chance according to his odds; good, but to win he needs to step up his game in the final month or Bellinger needs an injury.

In some leagues, with Yellich having won it last year, voters would lean towards someone new. But the baseball writers, historically, haven’t been too concerned about that. Although it has been a while since someone has won it in back to back years (Albert Pujols, 2008-09), it has happened. Barry Bonds won four in a row (2001-04)!

But if the season ended today, the award would have to go to Bellinger—but by a narrow vote. Like Trout, there are too many things that he does too well. He leads the NL in home runs (42), and he’s tied for third in RBIs (100). However, while he also has a fantastic OPS (1.072) and slugging percentage (.662), Yellich has better marks in both (OPS—1.104; slugging percentage-- .683).  

Yellich is also right behind Bellinger in home runs (41) and RBIs (89).

However, since the All-Star break, one other player has done what he could to make sure the conversation isn’t all about Bellinger and Yellich—Ronald Acuna Jr. While his odds (+1600) make him a longshot with just a 5.88 percent chance to win, he can’t be ignored.

The Atlanta Braves youngster has led the NL in home runs since the All-Star break with 15 (giving him 36 on the season; Yellich has hit 10 and Bellinger 12).  He’s been hitting .303, slugging .606, and has an OPS of .991. However, while he has been playing better than Bellinger, he has not been doing a better overall job than Yellich.  So, putting money on him may not be the best bet.

So—how should you bet? Honestly, this one could go either way depending on how their final month plays out. If one has a significantly better month than then the other, he will win it. If both flop and Acuna turns it up a notch, this could be the closest NL MVP vote in recent history.

As for how you should bet— Yellich is playing better and may be more likely to turn it up than Bellinger is. He is the better bet between the two. But just in case, put a little on Acuna, too (the nice payout will make up for the small wager and your losses on Yellich or Bellinger).