With the All-Star Game behind us and the trade deadline looming, we’ve officially entered the second half of the Major League Baseball season. Basically, it’s moving day and teams are not only vying to make the playoffs but homefield and avoiding that one-game playoff are on their minds too. And to go deep in the playoffs, teams are going to need that one player to lean on to power them through. That’s what makes an MVP, coming up big when your team needs it the most.
This year the American League has four great candidates for MVP and it will be a tight race down the stretch for the award. These aren’t the types of ballplayers who compete for individual awards either, so you can bet the teams’ success will also contribute to the outcome. Let’s look at how each player stacks up against the rest and, more importantly to us, how the odds will play out on an AL MVP futures bet.
Mike Trout -150
Of course, Mr. Everything is at the top of the list. Mike Trout is having another Mike Trout year so where else would he be. However, his time on top may be limited as just two weeks ago his odds to win sat at -350. He’s having a great July yet the Angels remain a team hovering around .500 and aren’t showing themselves to be much more than that. They’re an insurmountable 16 games behind the Astros for the division and a full ten games behind the Mariners for the Wild Card with plenty of teams between them. While making the playoffs is not a prerequisite for winning the MVP, it helps. Numbers for an MVP missing the playoffs are going to have to be through the roof and while Trout’s number are ridiculous, they are not that much stronger than the other candidates. If Trout is the Future play you are looking to make as you think he is just that good (and you do have a good point there), we suggest waiting another month before laying the bet as his odds will only get smaller and your payout will only get larger.
J.D. Martinez +275
A surprising number of +275 because this guy is having a monster year. Third in the Majors in Batting Average. Third in the Majors in Runs Scored. Second in the Majors in Home Runs. First in the Majors in RBI’s. Wow. Having him in the middle of their order is the big difference between last year’s Red Sox and this year’s Red Sox. This year’s team leads the majors in wins, by the way, with a 69-31 record at the 100 game mark. At +275, Just Dingers Martinez seems like the obvious choice for an AL MVP future. But there’s one problem and his name is Mookie Betts. Betts is having another great year of his own and this will only take votes away from Martinez and vice versa. J.D. will not only have to continue the success he’s had so far this year, he’ll have to improve on it.
Mookie Betts +300
Not surprisingly, Mookie Betts comes in just behind Martinez on the list of favorites. Again, he’s having such a year that the +300 seems like a no-brainer. First is the Majors in Slugging. First in the Majors in Batting Average. Top 3 in dingers, runs, and stolen bases. However, just as for Martinez, his teammate is going to rob him of votes. There are some differences voters will have to examine. Which helps the other more, Mookie leading off or Martinez batting cleanup? One factor in his corner is that he plays Gold Glove defense out in right field. It will be close for sure and, luckily for the Red Sox, they get over two more months to find out.
Jose Ramirez +800
Meanwhile, Cleveland’s third baseman, Jose Ramirez is having another MVP-calibur year himself. His numbers are just behind the other three but he definitely deserves to be in the conversation. The most interesting aspect of Ramirez isn’t the +800 number beside his name, but that he may be in perfect position to win MVP by default. Unlike Trout, Ramirez’s team should/will win their division going away. Again, team success is a big part of the award. Plus, he doesn’t have a teammate mucking up the works a la Martinez and Betts. On the outside looking in never looked so good. Especially at +800.