Toronto Blue Jays Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is sent home by third base coach Luis Rivera on a ball hit by Jonathan Davis during the third inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr continues to see his AL MVP odds shorten
- Shohei Ohtani remains the comfortable favorite to win the award
- Read below for an update on the AL MVP race and betting advice
No more than an outsider when the season started, Vladimir Guerrero Jr has played his way into the middle of the American League MVP race. Guerrero’s average AL MVP odds have moved from +3000 a couple of months ago to +425, putting him as the second favorite for the award following Mike Trout’s injury.
Two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani remains atop the board by a good margin, however. Ohtani is making history on a weekly basis. Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, Trout, and Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez sit third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the odds.
AL MVP Odds
|Player||Odds at DraftKings|
|Shohei Ohtani (Angels)||+125|
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr (Blue Jays)||+400|
|Jose Abreu (White Sox)||+1500|
|Aaron Judge (Yankees)||+1500|
|Mike Trout (Angels)||+1500|
|Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox)||+1800|
|J.D. Martinez (Red Sox)||+2000|
|Jose Ramirez (Cleveland)||+2000|
|Byron Buxton (Twins)||+2000|
|Jose Altuve (Astros)||+2800|
|Tim Anderson (White Sox)||+2800|
|Yordan Alvarez (Astros)||+2800|
|Alex Bregman (Astros)||+3300|
|Rafael Devers (Red Sox)||+3300|
|Matt Chapman (Athletics)||+4000|
|Carlos Correa (Astros)||+4000|
|Yoan Moncada (White Sox)||+4000|
|Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees)||+4000|
|DJ LeMahieu (Yankees)||+4000|
|Bo Bichette (Blue Jays)||+4500|
|Anthony Rendon (Angels)||+4500|
Odds as of May 26.
Guerrero’s 203 wRC+ is miles clear of the next best qualified AL hitter. After underwhelming in his first couple of seasons in the Majors, the Blue Jays first baseman is having one of the all-time breakout seasons. There is nothing to suggest this is a fluke either.
Vlad Jr. ties it with HR No. ✌️ of the day‼️
(via @BlueJays) pic.twitter.com/z8ltiZx2lJ
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 24, 2021
It isn’t just raw power and bat-to-ball skills that are making Guerrero such a menace for pitchers. He’s sixth in the AL in walk rate, and only six hitters with a wRC+ over 110 are striking out less frequently. The advanced statistics are every bit as glowing, with Guerrero in the 98th percentile or better in average exit velocity, expected batting average and expected slugging.
Vlad Jr. now has an even 200 PA and 200 wRC+.
I haven’t checked, but I believe he’s also got 200 home runs.
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) May 24, 2021
Those underlying numbers suggest this performance is here to stay. Unfortunately, the other side of the ball remains a problem. Where Ohtani does it all, Guerrero is a sub-standard first baseman, ranking in the 19th percentile in outs above average.
2021 Cy Young Odds Tracker
If Ohtani keeps this up for the season, he’s a lock for MVP. Durability, though, is the greatest concern with the two-way superstar. A drastic drop in fastball velocity in a recent start was cause for concern, and while Joe Maddon talked down the issue, it raises a question mark about Ohtani’s health throughout a 162-game season as a two-way player.
At 117 MPH, Shohei Ohtani crushed the hardest-hit HR for the @Angels since at least 2015. pic.twitter.com/A0Y531R6tF
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) May 26, 2021
The trouble with Guerrero, or anyone else, trying to rival Ohtani is that Ohtani is would be an MVP contender as a hitter alone. He’s sixth in the AL in wRC+ and only Guerrero has more homers.
Then there’s the pitching. Ohtani doesn’t qualify at the moment due to the Angels’ cautious approach and the odd missed start, but he would sit fourth in the AL in ERA+. He would be rivalling the league leaders in strikeout rate.
Ohtani is a mythical legend in human form. What he’s doing is beyond incredible. Everyone in the big leagues is in awe of his talent. After games, I be running to my phone to check and see what Ohtani did on the night! Lol 😂
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) May 19, 2021
A 3.83 FIP suggests Ohtani has been a little lucky on the mound to date, but his hitting is legitimate, with an xWOBA in the 91st percentile. For good measure, he also sits in the top four in the league in sprint speed and already has six stolen bases.
Guerrero is a better hitter than Ohtani. Ohtani’s contributions on the mound still leave them tied at 2.8 bWAR apiece, however, and if Ohtani continues to pitch, it’s hard to see how Guerrero wins this award. Betting against Ohtani is a wager against his health rather than his production.
Players with 15+ home runs at the plate & 40+ strikeouts on the mound, single season:
2021 Shohei Ohtani: 15 HR, 45 K (currently)
2018 Shohei Ohtani: 22 HR, 63 K
That’s it. That’s the list.
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) May 26, 2021
The history being made by the former Rookie of the Year is impossible to overlook, and that will likely be the case for voters, too.
Trout is out of contention with such a lengthy injury. This is a two-horse race as it stands, but one that Ohtani deserves to be heavily favored in.
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.