Mookie Betts looks to become the second player ever to win MVPs in both the AL and NL after being traded from Boston to the L.A. Dodgers.
More positive news that a 2020 baseball season will happen in some form. On Friday, Major League Baseball and the umpires’ union came to an agreement for the rest of this year regarding reduction in pay. These are all steps MLB has to take before officially announcing a plan. Today we take a look at the MLB odds to win National League MVP.
One betting tip is to never bet on a pitcher to win an MVP Award in either league. It very rarely happens as it is, but this year especially pitchers are going to be a bad wager. The season obviously will be shortened and jam-packed with doubleheaders and few days off. Rosters are going to be expanded, so it’s very likely that managers will be using 3-4 pitchers per game at least.
Thus, it’s unlikely any starting pitcher even wins 10 games both because of a limited number of starts and the fact they may not go the five innings necessary to get one.
Which brings us to another point to consider for 2020: No designated hitter. In whatever fashion MLB decides to go about staging a season, it’s a foregone conclusion that it will not be split by American and National League. It’s almost surely going to be by geography to limit travel as much as possible. Most expect MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to institute a league-wide DH rule for this season – that’s going to happen on a full-time basis eventually, so perhaps this is the tipping point.
Managers often decide when to yank a pitcher in the National League depending on if their spot in the batting order might be in that inning. AL managers make many more pitching changes because pitchers don’t bat. In addition, having the DH will help NL teams “hide” some of their every-day guys. Whereas they might get a game off in a typical NL matchup, a manager can simply stash a star at DH for a game “off” so he only has to worry about hitting and not playing the field.
Third Canadian For NL MVP?
Two Canadian players have won National League MVP: Colorado Rockies outfielder and Hall of Famer Larry Walker – although the 2020 Hall enshrinement ceremony, of which Walker was a part, has been pushed to 2021 due to the coronavirus – and Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto.
Votto is not among the Sports Interaction betting options for this year’s MVP as the Toronto native is on the downside of his career at age 36 (37 in September). He struggled last year, hitting .261 (worst in a full season) with 15 homers and 47 RBIs.
Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman is +2000 to win his first MVP Award. He was born in California but both his parents are from Ontario and Freeman holds dual citizenship. In 2017, Freeman played for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic to honor his late mother Rosemary, who died of skin cancer. Freeman was terrific for the NL East champion Braves in 2019, hitting .295 with 38 homers and 121 RBIs, the latter two being career bests. He finished eighth in the MVP voting and has a best finish of fourth in 2018.
MLB National League MVP Odds
Just one player in MLB history has won an MVP Award in both leagues: late Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. He won it in 1961 with the Reds and in 1966 with the Orioles when he claimed the AL Triple Crown.
Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts is a +400 second-favourite to join Robinson in that club. Betts won the 2018 AL MVP with the Red Sox but slipped slightly last year in hitting .295 with 29 homers and 80 RBIs. Betts is set for free agency after this season and is going to want around $400 million. The Red Sox are one of the wealthiest franchises in the sport but essentially dumped him and David Price on the Dodgers in trade this off-season to save money. They weren’t going to meet Betts’ demands following 2020.
Betts’ teammate, Cody Bellinger, is +850 and is the reigning NL MVP. It was the 14th all-time MVP Award for the Dodgers. Bellinger set career highs across the board in batting .305 with 34 doubles, 47 homers, 115 RBIs, 121 runs scored and 84 extra-base hits. His 26 homers at Dodger Stadium set a franchise record for homers at home.
Bellinger edged out Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich, who was the 2018 MVP and the +350 Sports Interaction favourite for 2020. Yelich might have repeated in 2019, but he fouled a ball off his kneecap and fractured it last Sept. 10, ending his season about three weeks early. Yelich had improved his average (.329 from .326) and home runs (44 from 36) from his 2018 MVP season. He signed a lucrative extension with Milwaukee this off-season.
Two rising superstar outfielders, Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. (+500) and Washington’s Juan Soto Acuna fell just three steals short of the very rare 40-homer/40-steal club last year. Soto was stellar in the 2019 post-season in leading the Nats to their first title.
NL MVP Prediction
Second-year Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. at +1000. He was spectacular as a rookie last year before an injury cut his season to 84 games. If the Padres don’t play in their home park this year, that helps him (and Manny Machado, who is +2500) because Petco Park in San Diego is extremely pitcher-friendly.