2020 MLB American League MVP Odds: Mike Trout an Odds-On Favorite

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Pictured: Mike Trout. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Jan 27, 2020, 03:37 PM EST
  • Mike Trout is a -125 favorite to win the 2020 American League MVP Award.
  • Check out the full list of opening Vegas odds below.

American League MVP odds are out, which leads us to the annual question: Will Mike Trout win, will Mike Trout get hurt, or will Mike Trout get snubbed?

Okay, it is possible that he just straight up loses, but unless his performance takes a big step back this year, he will finish in the top two or three in the voting if he stays healthy. He won his third MVP last year after opening in the +200 region before the season.

This brings us to a second question: Which players are bringing enough value to the table to make fading Trout a smart choice?

Let’s take a look at the numbers, which Westgate Las Vegas Sportsbook released on Jan. 24.

2020 AL MVP Odds

At a crazy -125, Trout obviously leads the way. This is the first time I can recall seeing a preseason odds-on MVP favorite for any sport, but I suppose it is warranted. I personally wouldn’t put money up for ~10 months at these odds given the unpredictability of baseball, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for betting on him.

At some point, he has to get worse, but when will that be? The superstar center fielder will turn 29 in August, and while his base running and fielding metrics aren’t quite as good as they once were, his bat is still as potent as ever. Like I said, expect him to be among the three finalists unless he misses a substantial chunk of time.

The Yankees have the next two spots on the list, with Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres both checking in at +1200. Judge had a strong case to win the 2017 MVP, which looks even stronger in hindsight given recent news (the 2017 AL MVP went to Astros 2B Jose Altuve). Injuries have kept Judge sidelined for around one third of each of the past two seasons.

Torres, who just turned 23, is entering his third season and just mashed 38 home runs last year. Not a bad start for the youngster, but can he bump that fWAR up from 3.6 to ~8+? Even if you aren’t a WAR believer, you’re going to need to factor it into your betting decisions. The last MVP to not reach a 7.0 fWAR was Justin Verlander back in 2011, with most winners up closer to eight wins or more. A player like Torres would need improvements in the defense and base running departments, as it’s tough to be that valuable with just your bat.

Two more interesting names towards the top of the list are Shohei Ohtani and Mookie Betts.

Ohtani, of course, had some super hype surrounding him as he entered the league and it appears to be warranted. He’s been an above-average to well-above-average bat over the past two years and was quite dazzling on the mound in 2017. Can he stay healthy and be great at both this year?

Betts has been subject to trade rumors this offseason, with National League teams such as the Dodgers and Padres being at the forefront of them. Even if he’s not dealt this winter, there’s a chance he could be during the year. Betting on him to win the American League MVP is extra risky considering he may end up in the National League by year’s end. I do believe his odds are a bit longer than they should be due to those rumors, though — some potential value if you don’t think he’ll be dealt.

A couple of rookie stars from last year in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jimenez can be found at 50-1 a pop. They certainly have bright futures, but I’m not sure their games are complete enough yet for an MVP campaign.

Stay tuned for more baseball futures, value plays and more as we exit the football season and approach spring training.

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