MLB Stock Watch: Notable Odds Changes for World Series, MVP & Cy Young as the Season Enters June
Getty Images. Pictured (from left to right): Baltimore’s John Means; Chicago’s Liam Hendriks; and, Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
A common answer to the old question of “when should I start caring about this season’s standings/statistics?” is around Memorial Day. We’re now past Memorial Day and into June, and stats are indeed starting to stabilize.
This isn’t the case for 100% of the players or teams, but in many cases, what we’ve seen through two months is what we’re going to get. That makes checking in on the future odds movement even more interesting, as this might be the last chance we get to find value before the books start to adjust to the same numbers we’re reacting to.
In two months, we’ve seen considerable movement on all fronts, but also some favorites holding serve. Just as we did at the end of May, we’re going to check in on the updated odds for World Series, MVP and Cy Young, and react to that movement, as well as noting where value can be found and where we either missed out or should wait and hope for a better number.
Let’s dig in.
All stats through end of play on Monday, May 31 unless noted otherwise.
Odds via DraftKings and as of June 1.
World Series Odds
|Team||June 1||April 28||April 1|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+350||+325||+350|
|Chicago White Sox||+650||+1400||+1000|
|San Diego Padres||+700||+900||+800|
|New York Yankees||+900||+750||+550|
|New York Mets||+950||+900||+1000|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1600||+2200||+2500|
|Boston Red Sox||+2200||+2000||+5000|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+2200||+3000||+2200|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+2500||+2500||+2200|
|San Francisco Giants||+3300||+8000||+8000|
|Kansas City Royals||+7000||+7500||+10000|
|Los Angeles Angels||+7000||+2500||+4000|
- The Chicago White Sox have replaced the New York Yankees as the second favorites and top team in the American League. Chicago doesn’t have the best record in the American League — it’s behind both Tampa Bay and Boston as of this writing — but has the biggest divisional lead in the league, the best run differential and is actually two wins worse than its Pythagorean record. The time to buy the White Sox was a month ago. There’s not much value now.
- The San Diego Padres’ rise wasn’t quite as stark, but they still sit ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the standings and have the best run differential in the majors at the time of this writing. I’d personally buy a San Diego future now if you haven’t already. It isn’t likely to get higher than it is at present.
- The Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays have both been steadily climbing up the odds board. I have had Astros stock since before the season and would still buy them at +1600. It’s hard to put much faith in that Tampa number, especially if you believe in the Red Sox and/or a Yankees rebound. There isn’t a lot of value in the Rays.
- Where is the respect for the San Francisco Giants? The NL West leaders at the beginning of June don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. They are true talent still worse than both the Padres and Dodgers, but their odds remaining higher than teams like the Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays is tough to fathom. Still, they’re up considerably from even a month ago and not likely to drop anytime soon.
- It’s true. The New York Yankees are down, but they’re not down as much as one might imagine considering their struggles. Such is life as a team as public as the Bronx Bombers, though. The truth is there’s a reason the Yankees were second favorites before the season, and while it’s true they’ve not looked great through the first two months, there’s still plenty of reason to believe they’ll be in the race at the end. The question is when do you buy the Yankees if you’re still a believer? I believe the time is now, as I don’t believe those odds will get more appealing than +900.
- The Atlanta Braves’ drop has been more stark, as the team struggles with injuries and inconsistencies, although they’re still in second place as every team in the National League East save for the New York Mets is currently below .500. If you’re a Braves believer like the Yankees, the question is when the drop stops and it’s time to buy. That time might be right now.
- The Minnesota Twins went from AL Central champs and one of a small handful of teams with World Series aspirations to +7000 to win the title. If you want to draw parallels between them and, say, the 2019 Washington Nationals, be my guest. It’s hard to imagine the Twins rebounding from what’s happened to them over the last two months. However, it’s also hard to imagine their odds getting more appealing.
- The Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Angels are all teams that didn’t really have serious helium to the World Series discussion, but all three have gone from the second or third tier of contenders to afterthoughts.
AL MVP Odds
|Player||June 1||April 28||April 1|
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||+300||+1600||+2500|
- We wrote about the AL MVP race in the wake of Mike Trout’s injury a few weeks ago, and it’s no surprise to see his teammate, Shohei Ohtani, take over the top spot as a pretty solid favorite. So long as Ohtani continues doing his thing both at the plate and on the mound, it’s hard to see anyone surpassing him. But given his volatility — for example, if an injury turns him into strictly a designated hitter — he’s not worth a buy at that number.
- The next biggest riser is Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is beginning to live up to the hype that made him the No. 1 prospect in the world just a few years ago. The biggest change in Guerrero’s game is that he’s finally hitting the ball in the air with some consistency. Everyone has long known about Guerrero’s power, but it’s hard to really tap into it when you hit the ball on the ground as often as Guerrero did a year ago. This year, his average launch angle has increased from 4.6 to 7.2 degrees. Quite the difference.
- Xander Bogaerts has been an All-Star before and he’s gotten MVP votes before. He finished as high as fifth in AL MVP voting back in 2019. This year, with the Red Sox being one of the biggest surprises of the first half, Bogaerts has been a catalyst and he’s getting the lion’s share of the credit. Bogaerts wouldn’t be my first choice among the second-tier candidates, but if Boston keeps it up, someone is going to be in contention for the award, and Bogaerts seems to be who that is.
- The three most notable stock risers just so happen to be the three players with the lowest odds right now, but that has a lot to do with the fact that some of the former favorites have fallen. That includes Mike Trout, a drop that is solely because of injury. While it’s entirely understandable why Trout dropped, I will say that if anyone can miss six weeks and still win the MVP, it’s Trout. I would consider a buy on his number of it gets to about +2000.
- Another preseason favorite was Alex Bregman, who has actually been very good for an also good Astros team this season. His drop is a bit surprising, but it’s simply that other players have been better, and more importantly from a narrative standpoint, some have been surprisingly better. Bregman’s number is worth watching, as he could be a buy if it continues to drop.
- Virtually everything that was just said about Bregman could be said about Jose Ramirez. The biggest difference is that if Cleveland continues to succeed, there’s nobody who can really get any credit for that team other than Ramirez, as he’s quite literally its only positive offensive contributor. Ramirez is probably a buy right now.
NL MVP Odds
|Player||June 1||April 28||April 1|
|Ronald Acuna Jr.||+280||+300||+800|
|Fernando Tatis Jr.||+300||+800||+850|
- At our last check-in, Ronald Acuna Jr. had separated himself from what was a crowded pack of contenders at the beginning of the season. Since returning from the injured list following a COVID-19 positive test, Fernando Tatis Jr. has gotten himself right back into it. And if you missed the number on Tatis when he was out, you’d better grab it before he closes that gap any more.
- The Chicago Cubs are somewhat surprisingly leading the NL Central race, with Kris Bryant has been the main reason why. With numbers that surpass those he put up in his MVP-winning season in 2016, Bryant has gone from a somewhat longshot to a live mid-tier option. And while there’s still a steep road to take over some of the more significant contenders, if the Cubs win the Central and Bryant keeps this up, there’s a path to his second win. I’d buy.
- Both Trea Turner and Nick Castellanos are putting up really good numbers for some pretty bad teams. They have both seen their odds lower considerably, but it’s tough to take either serious as contenders.
- Juan Soto is still seeing the ball as well as anyone in baseball, with a .392 OBP and more walks than strikeouts overall. He hasn’t had the type of success many envisioned this season, however, and has gone from a favorite to +1600. Given what he’s capable of and how much time there is left in the season, he’s an absolute buy for me, even if the Nats continue to flounder.
- There’s a whole host of stock droppers among the mid-tier here, and if you believe in a rebound over the next four months from any of them, now would be the time to buy in. They include: Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, Francisco Lindor and Freddie Freeman.
AL Cy Young Odds
|Player||June 1||April 28||April 1|
- Sorry … the sixth-lowest AL Cy Young odds belong to who?! Yes, that’s John Means, who wasn’t even listed at DraftKings as recently as a month ago. After a no-hitter and following just a sterling run of success, Means is on the board in a big way. I don’t want you to think this is comparing Means to prime Felix Hernandez or Jacob deGrom, but there’s at least precedent in those two in a pitcher winning the award despite little to no support from your teammates. Keep an eye on the next couple of months, but Means is at least on the radar.
- I would be jumping on Lucas Giolito at his number right now. While it’s true Giolito hasn’t been as good as his expectations through two months, he seems to be putting it together of late and also ran into a bit of bad luck in a few starts. Giolito is a step behind some of the favorites, but at +4000 is absolutely worth a buy.
NL Cy Young Odds
|Player||June 1||April 28||April 1|
- Both Jack Flaherty and Max Scherzer have seen their odds ping-pong around over the first two months. Both are up after a drop following the first month. I have preseason stock in Flaherty, so count me among the believers. I would buy in now before his odds get any lower.
- Kevin Gausman just continues to be unbelievably solid for the San Francisco Giants (*cue Orioles fans nodding solemnly*). There’s a long way to the top for the San Francisco ace, but an ERA in the ones will be tough to ignore if he continues to keep it up.
- The most notable name here is Trevor Bauer, who has been every bit what the Dodgers ordered over the offseason, but has nonetheless seen his odds fall from +700 to +1300 to their current +2000. Like with some others, a lot of this is sticker shock. Bauer is the defending champ and there are some surprising names who are now en vogue, like Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes or Brandon Woodruff. Bauer will be right there at the end, though, and now would be the time to jump in as his odds won’t get higher than they are at the moment.