It has been a very eventful first week for Major League Baseball and occasionally hard to keep up. The Marlins’ season has been “temporarily paused” as MLB is hoping the COVID-19 outbreak stops with Miami. Had the Yankees or the Dodgers lost half their team to the virus, we might be reacting differently. Let’s jump right into awards bets and hope the season still exists next week. If not, all these bets will be refunded, fortunately. All bets are risking 1x unit unless specified, and 1x = $500.
Our Shohei Ohtani MVP tickets are dead. He didn’t even make it out of the first inning of his first start, failing to record an out before being pulled. I'm going to add AL MVP bets on two new players this week.
Giancarlo Stanton 30/1 at PointsBet and Nelson Cruz 50/1 at DraftKings (60/1 PointsBet). I bet $200 Monday on Cruz at 50/1 before getting a look at PointsBet’s odds, where he is available at 60/1, so I added another $100. Cruz scored seven runs on seven hits in 13 at-bats in the first three games. Five of those were extra-base hits, including three home runs, and he had 10 RBIs. Cruz will have many opportunities to replicate these numbers with more games against the Pirates, Royals, Tigers and White Sox. Happy to take 50/1 here even if it’s betting on a player I don’t particularly care for.
I foolishly passed on Stanton at 50/1 last week, and after three games and two home runs, I'm buying Stanton MVP at 30/1 for a 1x unit bet. Two players launched hits over 110 mph last weekend: Luis Robert and Stanton. The Yankees were postponed for the second day in a row, but I’m still bullish on Stanton if he can remain healthy.
NL Cy Young
If Cy Young Award voting was based only on the first game of the season, Kyle Hendricks would be the NL winner by virtue of his three-hit, nine-strikeout shutout of the Brewers. Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole are also credited with complete games because they started a rain-shortened game in which both were still pitching when the game was called.
Kyle Hendricks is still available at 50/1 at DraftKings and 66/1 at PointsBet. I bet Hendricks at both numbers, $200 at 50/1 and a $100 at 66/1. Maybe there’s just a lot of news going on or maybe the people pricing these markets are doing it from somewhere in Europe, but if I were in charge I would have moved down Cruz and Hendricks significantly. Just looking at the DraftKings odds in which Stephen Strasburg is 15/1 without throwing a pitch and Clayton Kershaw is 30/1 after missing a start with an injured back, I’d rather have Hendricks at 50/1. Obviously it’s only one start, but Hendricks is slated to pitch again Wednesday against the Reds. Another good outing would drop his odds and make him a contender.
Rookie of the Year
No new bets this week because nobody has a market up with adjusted numbers. Here are some quick updates: Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis had a good start. He hit two home runs in his first four games, including one off Justin Verlander. But he also had eight strikeouts in 15 at-bats and a 51.6% swing-and-miss rate, highest in MLB for anyone with at least 25 swings.
Luis Robert of the White Sox is still the guy to beat in the AL.
Blue Jays pitcher Nate Pearson is scheduled to make his debut Wednesday against Scherzer and the Nationals. He’s one of my bets, and I’m looking forward to seeing him in action.
In the National League ROY race, Dustin May got a big jump when he got the opening-day start after Kershaw injured his back. May was the Dodgers’ first opening-day rookie starter since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981, and he threw a respectable 4.1 innings with seven hits, no walks and four strikeouts. May is scheduled to start against the Astros this week, which will go a long way in making or breaking his ROY case.
I added the Padres to win the NL West at + 750 for a full 1x unit bet. The line is available at FanDuel and DraftKings, and while I’m not totally sold on the Padres after four games and a 3-1 record, I am slightly worried about the Dodgers having lost three-fifths of their projected opening-day rotation. Kershaw and Alex Wood are hurt and David Price opted out, and the Dodgers just split a four-game home series against the San Francisco Giants, who are playing a Triple-A lineup. The Dodgers still have a formidable rotation with Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Ross Stripling and May carrying the load, but they are more vulnerable without being able to rely on their veterans. The Dodgers just started a trip to play the Astros and Diamondbacks, and they have the first and second favorites for NL MVP, but I would not be surprised to see this division number on the Padres come down a bit from + 750.
This week’s bets recap
$500 to win $15,000 on Giancarlo Stanton AL MVP
$200 to win $10,000 on Nelson Cruz AL MVP
$100 to win $6,000 on Nelson Cruz AL MVP
$200 to win $10,000 on Kyle Hendricks NL Cy Young
$100 to win 6,600 on Kyle Hendricks NL CY Young
$500 to win $3,750 on the San Diego Padres to win the NL West
This week I bet a total of $1,600. Combined with the $15,050 I’ve bet the last four weeks, I have a total of $16,650 in MLB futures.