The MLB season has reached its unofficial halfway mark, which is a good time to review the futures markets and find value bets. Here are the wisest wagers for MVP of both the American League and National League.
A quick glance at the stats reveals that Mike Trout (-550) is a deserving favorite to add a third MVP award to his mantle. The Angels outfielder leads the AL in home runs (28), RBIs (67) and OPS (1.098) at the All-Star break. However, the price on him is wholly unappealing. Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu offers good value as the current second choice.
LeMahieu should easily eclipse his season-high home run total (15), as he’s already hit 12 with 74 games to go. The LSU product is the AL leader in batting average (.336) and trails only the Royals’ Whit Merrifield in hits (117-113). Despite regularly batting at the top of the New York order, LeMahieu has 63 RBIs on the year. Now that Aaron Judge’s bat is back in the lineup, LeMahieu could see better pitches from the opposition in fear of the Bombers’ sensational slugger.
The NL MVP battle is essentially a two-horse race between Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich. The latter offers several reasons why he is the better bet.
Bellinger is the favorite at an unappetizing -160. He tore the cover off the ball in April, batting .416 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI. Though Bellinger couldn’t possibly maintain that pace, his regression has been substantial. In May he hit .319 with six homers and 15 RBI and in June his average slipped even further to .272 while accumulating a similar seven four-baggers and 15 RBI. Bellinger has begun July a modest 5-for-23 (.217).
Yelich’s consistent campaign has put him in position to be the first repeat NL MVP winner since Albert Pujols in 2009. He’s already hit 31 homers in 2019 after mashing 36 all of last season and is on pace to tally 125 RBI, 15 more than last year. Assuming the back injury that forced him to withdraw from the Home Run Derby doesn’t worsen, Yelich is the one to beat for MVP once more.
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