How much is one player worth to the betting line? As for Mike Trout, the best player in baseball, the answer is about to be revealed.
If Trout ranks No. 1 in the game, Bryce Harper is probably No. 2. It was an eventful Memorial Day for the top two players in the majors, with both headed for some time off.
Trout is out for six to eight weeks, opting for surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Angels, Trout has propped up an otherwise weak offense that surely will sag without him.
The Washington Nationals have a much stronger cast supporting Harper, who faces a lengthy suspension after a memorable base-brawl in San Francisco.
“How much is Trout worth? I think it’s 10 cents, maybe more,” VSiN oddsmaker Vinny Magliulo said.
The Angels were minus-135 favorites over Atlanta on Monday morning. (For those who might not fully understand baseball betting lines, that means $1.35 to win $1. A reduction of 10 cents would make the line minus-125.) Trout was injured Sunday while sliding headfirst into second base on a steal attempt, and he was not expected to play Monday. At the South Point sports book, the line on the Angels dipped as low as minus-106 before closing at minus-123.
The Braves cashed in a 6-3 victory. The Angels, who dropped to 26-28, will be lucky to be remotely close to .500 when Trout returns. His injury is bad news for anyone who bet the Angels over their season win total.
Trout has won two American League MVP awards, never finishing lower than second in the voting in his five full years in the majors. He will land on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
Trout leads the Angels in batting average (.337), home runs (16), RBIs (36) and on-base percentage (.461). He also has 10 steals — his affinity for stealing bases will prove costly — and patrols center field with a run-saving glove. The rest of the team was batting .226 going into Monday’s game.
There have been two great reasons to watch the Angels on a daily basis. One is Trout and his all-around excellence. The other is Andrelton Simmons, a wizard at shortstop.
“The Angels will have a tougher time without Trout than the Nationals will have without Harper,” Magliulo said. “Harper is going to have to sit, and there will be adjustments for those games.”
Harper’s suspension is likely to be in the neighborhood of seven games. He charged the mound on San Francisco Giants reliever Hunter Strickland to trigger an epic bench-clearing brawl late in the Nationals’ 3-0 win.
After Strickland hit Harper in the hip with a 98 mph fastball, punches to faces were thrown and wild hair was flying. Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzija sprinted from the dugout and crashed into teammate Michael Morse in a high-speed collision.
Harper, similar to Trout, is putting up MVP-caliber numbers. Harper is batting .331 with 15 homers, 41 RBIs and a .443 on-base percentage. The Nationals (31-19) are sitting on a big lead in the NL East, and their lineup is loaded. Washington can continue winning without Harper, who might be worth 5 cents to the line.
Are the Angels in bigger trouble without Trout? As Harper would say, that’s a clown question, bro.
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