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Tatis, Guerrero gain MVP momentum

By Jason Weingarten  () 

USATSI_15976426

Let’s take a look around Major League Baseball to check for updates among the awards and futures markets.

NL MVP

DraftKings 

Ronald Acuna Jr. 300

Fernando Tatis Jr. 800

Mookie Betts 900

Juan Soto 900

Corey Seager 1200

Jacob deGrom 1200

Bryce Harper 1400

SuperBook

Fernando Tatis Jr. 400

Ronald Acuna Jr. 450

Mookie Betts 500

Jacob deGrom 1000

Juan Soto 1200

Bryce Harper 1200

Corey Seager 1600

Some noticeable movement has taken place in the National League Most Valuable Player market the last two weeks. Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. returned to health and hit five home runs in three games against the Dodgers. The SuperBook has dropped Tatis all the way to 400 and installed him as the current favorite over Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. Tatis‘ injured shoulder is a concern, and I worry he might wear down as the season goes on. But the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger played through a similar injury in 2019, and while it sapped his home run power late in the season, he still won the MVP. I wasn’t compelled to bet on Tatis the last few weeks at much higher numbers, and I’m still not interested, though I do think he deserves to be near the top of the odds board. I still think the Padres are the second-best team in the NL West, and Tatis is not a good bet to win the MVP on a wild-card team at lower than 10-1 odds, especially not at 4-1.

Jacob deGrom also has seen his MVP odds move a lot the last few weeks. The Mets right-hander’s dominant start has put him in the conversation to double up and win the Cy Young and MVP awards. I saw deGrom MVP odds as high as 30-1 preseason, and now he’s widely available between 10-1 and 12-1. I’m not compelled to bet that price because I already have a lot of money on him to win the Cy Young. I see no scenario in which deGrom would win the MVP but not the Cy Young, so I’m happy to just sit on my Cy Young futures. 

Juan Soto’s odds have dropped from preseason favorite or co-favorite to where he’s now available as high as 1200 at the SuperBook. The Nationals outfielder might be the best player in baseball besides Mike Trout, and 1200 is tempting even when you take into account the Nationals’ slow start and Soto’s early stint on the injured list. Don’t sleep on Bryce Harper at 1400 either. The Phillies to win the NL East and Harper as the MVP are definitely live, like they are every year. The NL East is crowded with stars like deGrom, Soto, Acuna, Francisco Lindor and Freddie Freeman, so it’s easy to forget Harper is still one of the top players in baseball. 

Most of my NL MVP money is on the Dodgers’ Corey Seager, and the only thing I’m doing this week is adding more to Seager at 1600. Seager had hit only four home runs and hasn’t been very exciting compared with Acuna or Tatis, but the home runs will come. It’s a contract year for Seager, and an MVP season will solidify his next contract at close to $400 million, so he has incentive to perform well. A brief look at the Statcast leaderboard shows the following NL players have more barrels than Seager: Harper, Acuna, Rhys Hoskins and Jesse Winker. That’s it. At 16-1, I will bet $1,000 more on Seager. 

AL MVP

DraftKings

Mike Trout 200

Shohei Ohtani 1100

Alex Bregman 1500

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 1600

Jose Ramirez 1600

Byron Buxton 1600

J.D. Martinez 2000

SuperBook

Mike Trout 200

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 300

Shohei Ohtani 450

Byron Buxton 600

Jose Ramirez 2000

Alex Bregman 3000

J.D. Martinez 4000

I have been saying all season that Alex Bregman is dead money, so it’s nice to see SuperBook take the lead and drop him to 30-1, where he’s still dead money. 

The biggest difference in numbers involves Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is still 16-1 at DraftKings vs. 300 at SuperBook. Guerrero had a three-homer game Tuesday night against the Nationals, and it’s not surprising to see the hype on him at SuperBook. For as long as I’ve been betting at SuperBook, it has had a major crush on Guerrero and has shaded him lower than other books. If you have access to DraftKings, 1600 is a good bet for a non-Trout player, and I did make a small bet on a player besides Trout or Shohei Ohtani this week, but it wasn’t Guerrero.

This week I bet $100 on J.D. Martinez of the resurgent Red Sox at 50-1. If you are looking for someone with longer odds than Trout or Ohtani, I’d consider Martinez, who was among the MLB leaders in hits, home runs and RBIs.

Much like Seager with the NL MVP, my money in the AL MVP race is focused mostly on Ohtani. He got his first win of the season Monday night while becoming the first player in almost 100 years to make a pitching start while also leading the majors in home runs. The last player to do that was Babe Ruth. 

Ohtani has seven home runs, which puts him one off the MLB lead now. He was also second in MLB in barrels. And Ohtani had the second-hardest exit velocity of the season at 119 mph, behind only Giancarlo Stanton’s 120.1. 

The AL MVP is still Mike Trout’s to lose, but it will present some interesting questions if Ohtani can keep these numbers up. I’m not sure we can bring Babe Ruth comparisons into this conversation and talk about things that haven’t been done in 100 years and then say Ohtani isn’t the MVP. 

NL Cy Young 

DraftKings

Jacob deGrom 100

Corbin Burnes 500

Trevor Bauer 1300

SuperBook

Jacob deGrom 100

Corbin Burnes 700

Trevor Bauer 1600

Jacob deGrom is way out in front in the race for the National League Cy Young Award, and that is unlikely to change barring an injury. The SuperBook is asking for more Burnes money at 700, but I wouldn’t recommend paying it. Even though Burnes has not walked a single batter, I’m not looking to lay a low price on him. If anything, Trevor Bauer at 1300 or 1600 has my attention. Bauer hasn’t had a bad start, and it’s hard to see why he’s 1600 other than because deGrom is getting all the attention. You can make cases for all the Dodgers’ starters — Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Bauer and even Dustin May. But because they have so many aces, I think voters will have a hard time picking one, and that hurts Bauer. Though 1600 is compelling, I already have money on Burnes at 2000, 3000 and 3500 and deGrom ranging from 400 to 500, so I’ll just stick with those. 

AL Cy Young 

DraftKings

Gerrit Cole 250

Shane Bieber 325

Tyler Glasnow 650

SuperBook

Gerrit Cole 175

Shane Bieber 225

Tyler Glasnow 275

This market has managed not to draw much of my attention or money. I don’t see any long shots who are serious contenders, and none of the prices on the front-runners excite me about locking up money, so I’ll just pass again.

Home Run Leader 

I made a new bet in this market this week with Gill Alexander. We bet Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia to hit the most home runs at 100-1 to win $100,000. It’s a very crowded leaderboard right now. Garcia, 28, was called up recently and will bat third or fourth every day as long as he keeps hitting. When considering long shots for home run leaders, I’m looking for guys on bad teams who will get lots of consistent at-bats, and Garcia fits that profile. He was AL Player of the Week last week after batting .333 with four home runs and nine RBIs. He’s going to strike out a lot, but he has no real obstacles in his way for consistent playing time. Garcia would also be an early AL Rookie of the Year contender after last week’s performance, but no book has put up ROY odds in about two weeks.

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