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Sizing up NL postseason awards

By Jason Weingarten  (VSiN.com) 

weingarten
Fernando Tatis Jr. came off the injured list Sunday, immediately hit two home runs and everybody lost their minds. By Sunday night, DraftKings, BetMGM and FanDuel had moved Tatis to -300 to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award. I thought Tatis -185 after his first home run was fair, and I understand the overreaction, but I think the line is too high. 
That’s not to say I don’t think Tatis is an elite player. He’ll likely win an MVP at some point. I just don’t think it will be this year on a third-place team when he has missed 20+  games and has 20+  errors at shortstop. As of Tuesday the Padres were only 1.5 games ahead of the Reds for the second wild card. The Padres’ odds to make the playoffs are Yes -132/No + 106 at FanDuel this week. I just don’t see how Tatis should be -300. If I were booking this market, I’d lower the number and write more bets on Tatis. 
DraftKings
Fernando Tatis Jr. -300
Bryce Harper + 475
Max Muncy + 900
Freddie Freeman + 1700
Trea Turner + 1700
Joey Votto + 5000
Juan Soto + 7000
Brandon Crawford + 7000
Austin Riley Not Listed
 
FanDuel 
Fernando Tatis Jr. -300
Bryce Harper + 480
Max Muncy + 950
Freddie Freeman + 1800
Trea Turner + 2200
Joey Votto + 3500
Brandon Crawford + 10000
Juan Soto + 12000
Austin Riley Not Listed
 
BetMGM
Fernando Tatis Jr. -300
Bryce Harper + 500
Max Muncy + 750
Freddie Freeman + 1800
Trea Turner + 2000
Joey Votto + 4000
Brandon Crawford + 8000
Austin Riley + 8000
Juan Soto + 10000
 
I dropped Manny Machado, Nick Castellanos and Mookie Betts from consideration this week. Machado is an MVP-level talent, but he won’t get serious consideration this year with Tatis back. Same things I always say about the Padres apply, such as they are in third place and Machado isn’t the best player on his own team. Castellanos is another MVP-caliber player, but Joey Votto will get MVP votes if any Reds player is considered. Betts is back on the injured list with a hip injury. A healthy Betts will be high on the 2022 MVP list, but we can toss him for now. Trea Turner is also in this weird limbo. He’s still a contender, but I find it hard to see him winning over Dodgers teammate Max Muncy.  
 
Austin Riley              66 runs, 124 hits, 22 doubles, 25 HR, 72 RBIs, 122 K/47 BB, 0 SB, .292/.370/.526
Freddie Freeman     86 runs, 129 hits, 14 doubles, 26 HR, 68 RBIs, 84 K/69 BB, 7 SB, .294/.393/.503
Joey Votto                 49 runs, 93 hits, 15 doubles, 26 HR, 76 RBIs, 91 K/47 BB, 1 SB, .284/.377/.575
Bryce Harper             68 runs, 100 hits, 26 doubles, 21 HR, 49 RBIs, 91 K/64 BB, 12 SB, .297/.414/.567
Juan Soto                   75 runs, 108 hits, 14 doubles, 19 HR, 63 RBIs, 72 K/88 BB, 6 SB, .302/.437/.506
Max Muncy               72 runs, 96 hits, 20 doubles, 26 HR, 70 RBIs, 77 K/68 BB, 2 SB, .274/.406/.558
Fernando Tatis Jr.     82 runs, 97 hits, 22 doubles, 33 HR, 74 RBIs, 102 K/43 BB, 23 SB, .299/.377/.673 
 
Over Last 30 Days
Austin Riley         23 runs, 37 hits, 7 doubles, 10 HR, 27 RBIs, 30 K/11 BB, 0 SB, .339/.403/.679
Freddie Freeman 24 runs, 33 hits, 0 doubles, 5 HR, 14 RBIs, 12 K/14 BB, 2 SB, .324/.410/.471
Joey Votto     22 runs, 37 hits, 5 doubles, 15 HR, 36 RBIs, 29 K/16 BB, 0 SB, .363/.446/.853
Bryce Harper      19 runs, 28 hits, 10 doubles, 6 HR, 15 RBIs, 21 K/28 BB, 4 SB, .337/.504/.699
Juan Soto          18 runs, 27 hits, 5 doubles, 6 HR, 17 RBIs, 17 K/29 BB, 1 SB, .351/.523/.649
Max Muncy    15 runs, 22 hits, 5 doubles, 5 HR, 13 RBIs, 19 K/9 BB, 1 SB, .259/.364/.494
Fernando Tatis Jr.  10 runs, 14 hits, 4 doubles, 5 HR, 10 RBIs, 14 K/5 BB, 1 SB, .326/.396/.767
 
The Braves have jumped up to first place in the NL East. A lot of that has to do with the incompetence of the Mets and Phillies, but it has more to do with the continued elite level of play the Braves are getting from Freeman, Riley and Dansby Swanson in the absence of Ronald Acuna Jr. 
 
Riley is a long shot listed at 80-1 at BetMGM and not listed at FanDuel or DraftKings. His numbers say we should at least consider him, but for me he joins guys like Bryan Reynolds and Willy Adames in my consider-in-2022 pile. 
 
Freeman is the reigning NL MVP and should deserve some consideration. But is he better than Votto? Or Muncy?  
 
I think Votto probably has the most value on the board if you can bet the 50-1 number at DraftKings. Even 40-1 at BetMGM is all right, and 35-1 at FanDuel is still decent. MVPs are won with performances at the end of the season, not numbers from the beginning. That’s one reason I use the last 30 days to provide context for how players are performing. Votto has been the best hitter in baseball the last 30 days, and with the Reds only 1.5 games behind the Padres for the second NL wild card, I’d much rather take Votto at 50-1 this week than lay -300 with Tatis. 
 
Soto is on the list just so I can remind everyone he’s the best player in baseball besides Mike Trout. But Soto won’t win the MVP because you can’t get serious consideration when your team is trailing the Marlins in the standings. 
 
Will Harper win the MVP if the Phillies don’t make the playoffs? I don’t think so, and I think I’d put Votto ahead of him based on their last-30-days numbers, which is another reason I’d grab some of that 50-1 on Votto.
 
Muncy was in a bit of a slump until Sunday night, when he hit two home runs against the Mets and continued Monday with another homer against the Pirates. Tatis has missed the most games of any MVP candidate yet still leads the NL in home runs, and he has 23 stolen bases, so he will likely join the 30/30 club. Tatis also strikes out a lot, he has 20 errors and his team might miss the playoffs. I am slightly biased because I have bets on Muncy to win the MVP at 200-1, so I want to see the race limited to players on playoff teams. But the numbers are pretty clear to me: Tatis should be a short favorite, but he’s faltering, and hitting home runs against bad teams will carry him only so far down the stretch. I think the NL MVP race is still very much open, and it might not be decided until the final week. 
 
In summary, I’d look at the best available numbers on Votto. I see 50-1 at DraftKings. I think Muncy has a real chance, too, and + 950 at FanDuel is a good number if you haven’t already bet him. If the Dodgers come back and win the NL West, Muncy will have a real shot at passing Tatis, and I like Muncy’s odds at + 950 better than betting the Dodgers to win the NL West at + 100.
 
NL Rookie of the Year 
 
DraftKings
Jonathan India -525
Trevor Rogers + 390
 
FanDuel
Jonathan India -550
Trevor Rogers + 380
 
BetMGM 
Jonathan India -400
Trevor Rogers + 240
 
India has 10 home runs and a 1.021 OPS since the All-Star break, while Rogers has been away from the Marlins dealing with a family issue. Nobody else has made a serious run at the award. India will win it because his numbers have been excellent and he deserves it, but also by default. Rogers projects to be back in early September, but he’ll need some time to ramp up and start throwing again, and I don’t see him making a serious run as a pitcher on a bad Marlins team. India is leading off for the contending Reds. I’m lightly penciling in India as the NL ROY. 
 
NFL Futures
 
With the preseason under way, I will start writing more about NFL futures. This week I wanted to highlight a few bets I’ve made. 
 
Defensive Rookie of the Year
 
DraftKings 
 
Patrick Surtain + 1200
Jaycee Horn + 1400
Eric Stokes + 3500 
 
I bet each of these risking $500. Horn is starting already for the Panthers, and the Packers’ Stokes and the Broncos’ Surtain project to be their teams’ third cornerbacks at worst. With NFL teams playing more and more five- or six-DB formations, I’m not too worried about these guys seeing the field. Rookies tend to be targeted early, and these three will have opportunities to stand out and make plays. 
 
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Trey Lance + 700 
 
I bet $1,000 on Lance to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. I liked him a lot before the draft and had him as the second-best QB behind Trevor Lawrence. The only guys I’m interested in betting this early are quarterbacks, and I don’t think Lawrence at + 300 is very bettable. I don’t love Justin Fields at + 650 either. I like Lance at + 700 even if he is not the Week 1 starter for the 49ers. I don’t want to overreact too much from a single preseason game, but it will be hard to stop Lance from getting first-team reps if he keeps making highlight plays like he did last weekend. This number will be cut in half if he is announced as the Week 1 starter.
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