If Mike Trout is healthy and active for most of the season, he will be a heavy favorite to win the American League MVP. Yes, the Los Angeles Angels are once again a struggling team unlikely to see the postseason (but not mathematically eliminated yet). But in baseball, excellence is defined by so much more than just winning.
Otherwise, Mike Trout would not still be the favorite to win AL MVP this season (odds via PointsBet.com):
2020 American League MVP Odds:
- Mike Trout +300
- Brandon Lowe +450
- Aaron Judge, Jose Abreu +800
- Nelson Cruz, Luke Voit +1000
- Francisco Lindor, Anthony Rendon +1500
- Jose Ramirez, Yoan Moncada +1800
- Matt Chapman +2000
- Eloy Jimenez +3300
- George Springer, Gleyber Torres +4000
- Xander Bogaerts, Alex Bregman, Matt Olson, Marcus Semien, Gerrit Cole, Austin Meadows, Carlos Correa, Joey Gallo, Max Kepler, Ramon Laureano, Luis Robert +5000
- Shohei Ohtani +6000
- DJ LeMahieu, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. +6600
- Josh Donaldson, Yasmani Grandal +7000
- Yordan Alvarez, Jorge Polanco, Giancarlo Stanton +8000
- Jose Altuve, Rafael Devers, JD Martinez, Gary Sanchez, Bo Bichette, Tim Anderson +10000
- Miguel Sano, Blake Snell +12500
- Justin Verlander, Byron Buxton, Andrelton Simmons Andrew Benintendi, Michael Brantley, Edwin Encarnacion, Adalberto Mondesi, Eddie Rosario, Alex Verdugo +15000
- Khris Davis +20000
But it is fair to ask if he should be the favorite right now. His stellar reputation aside, he is not having a stellar season at the plate so far. Yes, his ten home runs are tied for third in the AL. But his .255 batting average is down around 89th. He’s top-five in RBI (25), but he’s 35th in OPS.
Is he having a good season? Yes, yes, he is. Is he having an MVP type season? No. So, if he is not going to win this year, then who?
Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe is a solid prospect with a .295/.393/.657 batting line, nine home runs, 25 RBI, and an OPS of 1.051. Aaron Judge looked like a great candidate early on when he hit a home run in five consecutive games and a total of seven over seven games. But he has spent some time on the DL, and his OPS is just .858 (13 guys have one over 1.0).
Nelson Cruz and Jose Abreu are both having strong seasons and appear to be strong candidates as well. But Luke Voit might be the guy to watch. After a slow start to the season, he is now hitting .311 with ten home runs, 20 RBI, and an OPS of 1.116.
So—who should you bet on?
Many would still say Mike Trout is the safest bet of the bunch, but there are too many guys that are red hot for a luke-warm Trout to win. My safe bet? Brandon Lowe. He is playing better than he ever has this year, which could mean he is due to hit a slump. But he has also performed better with each year he has been in the big leagues. So, he might last.
If you want a longshot, though, it has to be Luke Voit. He is hitting for power (No. 1 slugging percentage in AL– .730), and he’s getting on base (13th in OBP– .386). Should he continue to produce, he will be in the conversation and could very well win.