Shohei Ohtani is Bo Jackson, or at the very least, he acts like him. On Monday night, he became the first player since Statcast started monitoring in 2015 to hit a baseball at 119 mph, joining Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Nelson Cruz as the only players to do so.
Ohtani was hitting.340/.380/.745 through 12 games, with three doubles, two triples, four home runs, and 12 RBIs. The only drawback was that he was unable to pitch his second scheduled start of the season due to a recurrent blister, and no information on his next start has been given. Meanwhile, Mike Trout was hitting.381/.509/7.62 with four home runs for the Angels, who were tied for third place in the AL with a 7-5 record entering Thursday. Tro has been around since 2012. Trout has won or finished second in the AL MVP voting seven times since 2012, and he has never finished lower than fifth. He still deserves to be a short favourite in the AL MVP race, but Ohtani is the difference between this year’s Angels and previous ones. He’s doing things in baseball that have never been done before, but he still has a long way to go to defeat his teammate.
I’d look for odds on the Twins’ Byron Buxton, who is 30/1 at DraftKings and FanDuel, 12/1 at the Westgate, and 50/1 at PointsBet if I were looking for a non-Angels MVP bet. I tried to place a $200 bet on Buxton at PointsBet, where he was listed at 50/1 when I logged in, but he was listed at 28/1 when I logged in. That was not a bet I made. Buxton has five home runs and a.469/.528/1.094 batting line after nine games. Those numbers will drop, but I believe he has a better chance than teammate Nelson Cruz to win the MVP.
Alex Bregman at 10/1 (DraftKings) is a bit of a stretch for me. I don’t think any Astro linked to the cheating scandal would be seriously considered for an award unless he has a genuinely spectacular season, such as a 40-40 season. In the end, I believe Bregman is a sure thing.
The chances at DraftKings are ridiculous. Fernando Tatis Jr. has been dropped to 60/1 at Westgate, while he is 30/1 at FanDuel and 20/1 at BetMGM, indicating that no one knows what to do with him. He’s expected to be activated this weekend in time to meet the Dodgers, according to early indications. However, it’s surprising to see how much his chances have sunk as a result of a single 10-day disabled list stint. He might come back and re-enter the discussion, but I don’t see Tatis as a serious MVP candidate, given that he’s not completely healthy and is unlikely to outperform Corey Seager, another shortstop on a better team in Tatis’ division.
The Dodgers are on track to win nearly 130 games, and I still believe they would win the MVP if they win close to 120 games.
Ronald Acuna Jr., on the other hand, is giving others a head start. Westgate has already slashed his odds to 3/1. FanDuel is currently offering 11/2, while PointsBet and BetMGM are both offering 6/1. Acuna was on a tear at the plate. Over 12 games, he has a slash line of 447/.500/1.000 with six home runs.
Seager had only hit one home run in 11 games as of Thursday, which isn’t much of a concern. In 54 plate appearances, he was batting .356/.463/.556 with nine walks, putting him among the NL leaders in hard-hit balls. If you haven’t already bet on Seager, he’s worth a look at 10/1 or better odds. He has a higher chance of winning MVP than teammate Mookie Betts at those odds. Plus, it’s Seager’s contract year, so he’s extra motivated.