It is two weeks into August, and two of the pennant races in the American League seem like they are a foregone conclusion. The New York Yankees and Houston Astros have commanding leads in their divisions, despite the fact that New York is struggling of late. However, they have built up such a lead at this point, that it looks improbable that anyone will catch them.
The AL Central looks like it is going to be an exciting battle down the stretch and all three wildcard spots are up for grabs, as there are seven teams competing to earn one of those playoff berths.
These are exciting races, but there are other exciting things going on for those who wish to place a futures bet on Major League Baseball action. That includes who will win the AL MVP.
At this point, it looks like New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is the presumptive favorite. The numbers are impressive and oddsmakers are clearly enamored with the performance of the Yankees superstar, especially considering his commanding lead in the homerun race. However, there are some other stars out there who could still grab the MVP title.
The question one must consider is what MVP voters are looking for. These are writers who have been watching American League action all season long and may have specific things they believe sets one person apart from another. Some are going to vote purely on stats, which benefits Judge. Others like stats, but they also like the overall performance of the team and the players contribution to the success of their club. Again, Judge should benefit from this as well.
You will find that there are writers who refuse to vote a candidate the MVP when his team is out of the race. They want an MVP who helped his team win, so a guy like Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers may find himself out of the top three or four should Boston not make the playoffs.
You will also find that voters will vote based upon how the player performed down the stretch. A guy could become an MVP candidate by leading a dramatic playoff push that since his team to the postseason.
There is a lot that goes into finding the MVP, and here are the five that are the most likely to win this award.
AL MVP Odds
AL MVP Picks & Predictions
Aaron Judge (-700), New York Yankees
The performance by Judge has been impressive throughout the season. Not only is he Leaning MLB in homeruns, but he is crushing the competition, hitting 46, 12 more than the next closest hitter in baseball. However, it is not just about power numbers. Judge has driven in 100 runs, scored 96 times, and has a .303 batting average.
He is getting on base (.401 OBP) and his 1.085 OPS leads all of baseball as well. The only thing hurting his chances of being MVP is the struggles the Yankees have endured in recent weeks. New York is 8-14 since the All-Star break. They are going to win the AL East, but a prolonged slump by the club could hurt his chances to be MVP.
Yordan Alvarez (+1000), Houston Astros
There is no denying that the numbers for Alvarez are clearly not as impressive. He is second in the American League in homeruns (31) and is hitting .297 with 74 runs and 74 RBI. His 1.025 OPS is second to Judge. In every way, statistically, Judge is better than Alvarez. However, there are some things going his way. Houston is 16-9 since the All-Star break, catapulting them to the top spot in the American League. That bolsters his chances for an MVP run.
However, one area where he has hurt himself is that Alvarez is only hitting .268 with five homers in 22 games since the All-Star break. Judge has been crushing the ball, hitting .392 with 13 homers in the first 21 games following the break.
José Ramirez (+6000), Cleveland Guardians
Ramirez is putting together a solid season. Two weeks into August he is hitting .282 with 22 homers, 63 runs, and 93 RBI. Those are very good numbers, but quite pedestrian in comparison to Judge.
He is going to need to get on a major tear to bolster his opportunity for an MVP award. However, he does have one thing going for him. Cleveland has gotten on a run of late, moving into the top spot in the AL Central. If he leads this team into the playoffs, he should garner some support.
Rafael Devers (+10,000), Boston Red Sox
Devers is another guy with very solid numbers. The Boston infielder is hitting .303 with 24 homers, 64 runs scored, and 60 RBI. His on-base percentage (.360) is not very impressive, but he is the reason why Boston is at least on the cusp of making the playoffs. His chances of being MVP can only be strengthened if his club should make the postseason. Failing to do so would absolutely doom his MVP hopes.
Shohei Ohtani (+450), Los Angeles Angels
Oddsmakers are far too enamored with the Japanese phenom. There is no denying that his numbers are impressive. In 111 games, Ohtani has 26 homers, 64 runs scored, and 67 RBI. However, a .252 batting average and a .845 OPS is average at best. That he would have the third-best odds of winning this award seems ridiculous.
Oddsmakers love Ohtani because he can pitch well and hit, but that actually comes back to haunt him. There are those who are going to vote solely based upon his performance on the mound, which is good but not outstanding, while others will vote based upon his performance as a hitter. The homerun numbers are great, but the others are not. The fact that his team is in fourth place in the AL West is not helping his chances either.
Who Will Win It?
This is Judge’s award to lose. His homerun numbers are eye-popping, and he could very well reach 60. The fact that he has Clubb 13 homers since the All-Star break really stands out, and shows that he will be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time. The Yankees will still in the AL East. They are going to finish with one of the top two records in the American League. Judge is clearly going to be the winner.