With a little over a month left in the Major League Baseball regular season, it is time to check in on some MVP and Cy Young odds to see if there is any value to glean from the situations. The Cy Young award is very up for grabs, and the MVP is a runaway barring some crazy happenings.
American League MVP
Mike Trout is the clear MVP favorite right now, as he is listed at -670 to win the award. If this were the middle of July, I would likely be more apt to jump on some underdogs and hope for a big push for someone else or just a Trout injury that could derail his path. As of right now, I think that Trout could stop playing right now and still be a massive favorite to win the award.
Statistically, Trout has an 8.0 WAR, a number that is 1.5 above Cody Bellinger, who is second on this list. If we look at just the American League, Xander Bogaerts and Alex Bregman are both at least 2.5 WAR behind Trout.
Trout is striking out about 15 percent less than the league average. He has a WRC+ of 186, again a statistic that is DRASTICALLY better than every other American League player. There is almost no advanced statistic in baseball that would suggest there is a better player than Trout in the American League.
Who Else Is There?
The question here is, do you want to lay -670 or is there anyone else that could possibly win the award. Let’s face it, Trout has put up the best numbers in the league for most of his career, but that does not mean that he has won the MVP award every season. We have to find narratives to fit the MVP role, and that narrative should come from an elite team.
If you insist on betting on someone besides Trout, I would look at DJ LeMahieu and Alex Bregman as the best offensive players on the best teams. If we dive into the numbers between these two, this is what we find.
Bregman is striking out only 12 percent of the time, which is one of the best marks in all of baseball. He is batting .277 with a .405 OBP, 29 home runs, a 154 WRC+, and 79 RBI.
LeMahieu is striking out 13 percent of the time, but walking much less than Bregman or Trout. LeMahieu is batting .338 with a .387 OCP, 19 home runs, a 140 WRC+ and 81 RBI.
If you told me to pick an MVP from these stat lines, Bregman gets the nod from me, but I think that DJ is the better value, if you can call him that. DJ is +1000 to win MVP.
The story with LeMahieu is the best of the three, and I think that is the only way you overtake Trout down the stretch. He is very much in the race to win a batting title, as he is the current leader.
The biggest thing here is that LeMahieu has been the most valuable player on one of the best teams in the league after being a free-agent signing for depth purposes.
Bregman has Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole as elite players that could make his case a lot harder to prove that he was the leader of the team. That being said, let’s talk about the Cy Young race.
American League Cy Young
Verlander is the slight favorite over teammate Cole at +140 to +165. The other pitchers in the running are Charlie Morton (+625), Shane Bieber (+1300), Jose Berrios (+1300), and Lance Lynn (+2100)
I think that Cole should run away with this award if the voters know what they are looking at. Cole is the best in the AL at getting strikeouts and has the lowest xFIP in the AL as well. When it comes to WAR, Cole has Verlander beat 4.7 to 4.1.
Verlander has a slightly better ERA and slightly better walk numbers, but the home run issues for Verlander should be his downfall in this race. I love Cole at +165 right now.
The other name that I want to mention at +2100 is Lynn. Lynn has a WAR of 5.6, which is 0.9 better than second-place Charlie Morton. Lynn plays in a tough ballpark, which does not help his ERA or other counting stats, but I do think that Lynn receives some first-place votes due to his excellent WAR this season.