Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Just like those who vote for the Cy Young Award in the American and National League, it’s going to be much more difficult than usual to pick an MVP in each league this year simply because there will be less of a sample size with the season obviously going to be shortened significantly due to the coronavirus delay. Opening Day was originally scheduled for Thursday, March 26 but likely won’t be before June 1 and that’s being incredibly optimistic.
Pretty much every year Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the AL MVP favorite, and it’s no different in 2020 as he is priced at even money. Last year, Trout won it a third time – he’s still only 28 – by hitting .291 with a career-high 45 home runs to go with 104 RBI while leading the AL in slugging (.645) and on-base percentage (.438).
Trout simply has no peer and could go down as the best player ever. Via Baseball Reference, Trout’s career wins above replacement number of 72.8 is already the 86th best in history and ahead of two members of the 2020 Hall of Fame class in Larry Walker (72.7) and Derek Jeter (71.3). Trout’s first full season in the majors was in 2012 and he has either won the MVP or been second every year but 2017 when he was fourth because he was limited to 117 games due to injury.
There’s a huge drop-off after Trout to a couple of New York Yankees in Aaron Judge (+950) and Gleyber Torres (+1200). Fellow Angel Shohei Ohtani is interesting at +1800 because he will return to the mound this season while still playing at designated hitter four times a week or so. Ohtani couldn’t pitch last year off Tommy John surgery but did hit.
Trout’s chances of winning another MVP got better this offseason when the Boston Red Sox traded the 2018 AL MVP, outfielder Mookie Betts, to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Betts is the +350 favorite in the Senior Circuit, just ahead of the Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. (+550), the Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich (+700), the Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto (+800) Dodgers teammate Cody Bellinger (+1000) and second-year San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (+1000).
Bellinger won the 2019 NL MVP with Yelich, the 2018 winner, coming in second. Betts will try to join late Hall of Famer Frank Robinson as the only players in MLB history to win an MVP in both leagues.