Mike Trout Injured: AL MVP Bets To Consider Right Now
Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images. Pictured: Tim Anderson
Injuries continue to pile up in Major League Baseball and unfortunately not even Mike Trout is immune.
The Los Angeles Angels announced their star and MVP favorite could miss 6-to-8 weeks due to a strained calf suffered on Monday night.
At the time of the injury, Trout was +250 at FanDuel to win the AL MVP, tied with teammate Shohei Ohtani at the top of the leaderboard.
Those odds moved since then, with Ohtani becoming the +125 favorite and Trout sliding down to +1000. The biggest beneficiary of the news was Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who saw his odds move from +1100 to +700 as the only player between the Angels teammates.
Three of our staff members have scoured the board for the AL MVP bets they’re making right now based on Trout’s injury diagnosis.
If you’re looking for a reasonable MVP future now that Mike Trout’s injury has opened the race up, the best you can do is Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Trout’s teammate, Shohei Ohtani, is now the favorite and for very good reasons, but his odds have lowered to the point where there’s very little value there, so go with Guerrero if you can still get him in the 7-1 to 12-1 range.
Guerrero was the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball not all that long ago and seems to have figured it out at the age of 22. The legit 80-grade power (20-80 scouting scale) we’ve all known he had is finally showing up in games, and he’s nearly doubled his average launch angle (4.6 to 9.0), which is leading to more balls leaving the park. He’s also walking more often that he strikes out.
Guerrero is my pick for MVP. I have a preseason 33/1 future on him to lead the majors in home runs and will be adding some MVP shares following Trout’s injury. If you’re looking for more of a longshot, the White Sox’s Tim Anderson at 40-1 might be worth a shot, too, if for no other reason than because the best player on the best team in the league is always going to have a shot.
During the preseason, I picked José Ramirez to win the AL MVP award — and I’m happy to double down on my selection now that Mike Trout will miss the next 6-to-8 weeks.
Including the second half of the 2019 season and all of 2020, Ramirez ranked second in MLB in wOBA (.426) and third in WAR (6.1). Preseason projections picked him to finish third in AL WAR.
WAR is critical in MVP voting. Twenty of the past 22 MVP winners finished in the top three in their respective league in WAR.
To date, Ramirez ranks eighth in AL WAR, but he has actually underperformed relative to expected metrics. Ramirez has posted a .234 BABIP — the lowest of any player in the top 20 for AL WAR — and his xwOBA (.414) is more than 30 points higher than his actual mark (.383 wOBA).
Per xwOBA, Ramirez has been the eighth-best hitter in baseball this season, behind Nick Castellanos and ahead of Max Muncy. That mark also places him as the fifth-best bat in the American League.
With good health and improved batted ball luck, Ramirez should remain near the top of the leaderboard for AL WAR for the duration of the season.
The question is how seriously voters will consider the combined hitting WAR (1.3) and pitching WAR (0.5) for a two-way star like Shohei Ohtani, particularly if his team misses the playoffs. Will he receive “bonus points” for performing well on both sides of the ball, beyond the cold WAR figure?
Nine of the past 42 MVP winners (since 2000) failed to make the postseason as voters have become increasingly more likely to select a non-playoff-bound MVP (four since 2015) — and neither Ohtani nor Ramirez are likely to make the postseason at this point.
But I see them as the two most viable candidates on the board. And given the price discrepancy, I would side with Ramirez (+2500) every time.
The Mike Trout injury is devastating and a shame as he approaches his 30s without a playoff appearance to his name.
This also narrows the AL MVP race down to one player: Shohei Ohtani. Leave it to the Angels to have the two best players in baseball and sit fourth in the AL West. At +125, he is the overwhelming and deserved MVP favorite. Short of him cratering at the plate and/or on the mound, he will remain the favorite and should win.
The rest of the names in contention are a mess. Trying to narrow the list down is like the Larry David ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ meh meme.
I will take a chance on Tim Anderson. The Chicago White Sox have the best record in baseball and have little competition in the AL Central. Three current Sox have MVP votes to their name, but only José Abreu has a win.
Anderson would have to crater to lose his current 40-1 value on FanDuel. He is Chicago’s vocal leader, and BABIP and Tony La Russa be damned, he makes a lot of contact and gets on base at a high clip.
Ohtani should get the Alex Rodriguez MVP treatment, but if the Sox take the Central and flirt with 95 wins, Anderson will make Ohtani ticket holders sweat.