Fernando Tatis Jr. showed up to Padres spring training with a broken left wrist from a motorcycle accident, specifically a scaphoid bone that is notorious for healing incorrectly. While the injury is to his nondominant wrist, it has the potential to sap power from his game for the long-term.
With an already high K%, it’s likely we’ve seen Tatis’ peak. While he could still be a very good player, playing at an elite level is a different story. Tatis’ MVP odds have already dropped from 3-1 to 14-1, and if I was booking the NL MVP race, I’d drop him to 30-1 or 40-1. It’s almost impossible for a player to win MVP after missing 2-3 months of the season.
Tatis’ misfortune will create opportunities for others in the MVP and Rookie of the Year races. Manny Machado is a legitimate MVP contender again in San Diego. Coming off a year in which Machado had 157 hits, 28 home runs, 106 RBIs and a .278/.347/.489 slash line, the Padres slugger would be a major player for the award with slightly better numbers on an NL West champion. While Machado is entering his 10th season, he’s only 28, which is a prime age to win an MVP. I bet $1,000 on Machado at DraftKings this week at + 3500, and I’ve seen him as high as + 4000 and + 4500.
Another player who wasn’t initially on my radar is Padres shortstop C.J. Abrams. A first-round pick in 2019, Abrams is a non-roster invitee to Padres spring training. He’s ranked the No. 9 overall prospect by Baseball America and the top prospect in the Padres system.
Abrams finished 2021 at AA San Antonio, where he slashed .296/.363/.420 in 162 at-bats before a leg injury ended his season. He’s not a threat to replace Tatis’ power in the Padres lineup, but he’s a solid hitter and might play his way onto the opening-day roster. In case he does, I bet $250 on Abrams to win the NL Rookie of the Year at 50-1 at a book offshore. I requested odds on Abrams at Westgate and expect them to put him up at some point this week. DraftKings has him up at 25-1, which is less exciting. If your only option is 25-1, I’d pass for now, but if you can shop around there are some better prices out there.