San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr., right, forces out Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts (50) during the first inning in Game 2 of a baseball National League Division Series Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
- Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr’s MVP odds have surged from +2833 to +400 over the last month
- Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr is still the favorite to win the award at +268
- Is Tatis’ meteoric rise worth investing in now? Is Acuna a lock? Is someone else rising?
Just over two weeks ago, San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr tested positive for COVID-19 — which forced him to miss nine games. That absence came after Tatis had a stint on the IL earlier this season for a shoulder injury. But since his return May 19, Tatis has only gone 12-for-20 in six games and has seen his batting average jump 62 points. Over that same timeframe, Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr has gone 5-for-24 and saw his batting average drop 13 points. Both San Diego and Atlanta have won five of six games in that stretch and each team is at — or near — the top of its division.
But while Acuna’s MVP favorite status has held form over the last week (trending slightly shorter from +300 to +268), Tatis’ odds have skyrocketed from +1000 to +450.
Will Tatis overtake Acuna as the favorite? Is there another candidate that makes a similar move to the Padres’ young star? The NL MVP odds are beyond intriguing in 2021 and bound to get more interesting as we head into summer.
2021 NL MVP Odds
|Player (Team)||Odds at FanDuel|
|Ronald Acuna Jr (ATL)||+310|
|Fernando Tatis Jr (SD)||+450|
|Jacob deGrom (NYM)||+1000|
|Nolan Arenado (STL)||+1000|
|Bryce Harper (PHI)||+1500|
|Kris Bryant (CHC)||+1500|
|Trea Turner (WAS)||+1500|
|Mookie Betts (LAD)||+1800|
|Juan Soto (WAS)||+2000|
|Nick Castellanos (CIN)||+2000|
|Freddie Freeman (ATL)||+2500|
|Jessie Winker (CIN)||+3500|
|Justin Turner (LAD)||+3500|
|Manny Machado (SD)||+4500|
|Christian Yelich (MIL)||+5000|
|Cody Bellinger (LAD)||+5000|
|Corey Seager (LAD)||+5000|
|Pete Alonso (NYM)||+5000|
|JT Realmuto (PHI)||+5500|
|Francisco Lindor (NYM)||+6000|
|Marcell Ozuna (ATL)||+6000|
|Anthony Rizzo (CHC)||+6500|
|Max Muncy (LAD)||+6500|
|Paul Goldschmidt (STL)||+6500|
Odds as of May 26, 2021.
All the Hits
Monday’s 5-3 loss to the Brewers not only snapped the Pads’ nine-game win streak — it also snapped a six-game string of multi-hit games for Tatis (including a pair of two-hit outings prior to being sent to the injured list with COVID). San Diego got back on track Tuesday, beating Milwaukee 7-1 for the team’s 13th victory in its last 15 games, as the franchise continues to own MLB’s best record at 31-18.
atis was 0-for-2 — but still scored a run and picked up his 11th stolen base of the season (he ranks second in the National League in that category). While he may be coming back to earth a bit, the 22-year-old has been scorching of late.
.@tatis_jr CRUSHED this one. pic.twitter.com/0saclCpRyk
— MLB (@MLB) May 23, 2021
As long as the Pads remain in first place — or even in position for a postseason berth in the ultra-competitive NL West (while jockeying with the reigning World Series champion Dodgers and the surprising Giants) — Tatis will be considered a strong MVP contender.
MLB Swag Leaders:
1.Fernando Tatis #Padres
2. Ronald Acuna #Braves
3. Bo Bichette #BlueJays
4. Tim Anderson #WhiteSox
5. Javier Baez #Cubs
6. Bryce Harper #Phillies
7. Jazz Chisolm #Marlins
8. Juan Soto #Nats
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) May 21, 2021
When you add in his defense, flair for the dramatic and struggling (to this point) teammate Manny Machado, Tatis has to be considered a probable MVP favorite as the season progresses.
2021 Cy Young Odds Tracker
Fight Like a Brave
Acuna has been considered arguably the most talented player in the game — and that’s with the guy (Freddie Freeman) who took home NL MVP honors last season playing alongside him. But if the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year keeps up his long ball pace, it may be the 23-year-old’s turn to win the award.
The top-4 home run hitters so far this season are all born in different countries and all born outside the United States. Guerrero Jr. (Canada), Acuña Jr. (Venezuela), García (Cuba) and Ohtani (Japan). pic.twitter.com/PsyDAm3SV2
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 26, 2021
Acuna simply does things on the field few, if any, are capable of. Check out this highlight reel from his first month of action.
The Braves are currently 24-24, one game behind the Mets in the NL East standings. If it comes down to a relative push between Acuna and Tatis statistically and from a team standings-perspective, there will likely be a sentiment among voters to reward Tatis. But if Atlanta can get going — and stay going — Acuna is the worthy MVP favorite.
If Jacob deGrom (0.80 ERA) somehow maintains his 2021 dominance, the Mets ace (currently +1000 on FanDuel) might benefit from no clear-cut position player standing out. Dodgers center fielder Mookie Betts (+1800 on FanDuel) will certainly have an opportunity to lead L.A. with the defending champs being racked by injuries this season to other candidates like Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager.
Most extra-base hits in each player’s last 162 games
99 Jose Ramirez
95 Rafael Devers
94 Nick Castellanos
86 Mookie Betts, Mike Trout
83 Fernando Tatis, Ketel Martle
82 Mike Yastrzemski, Mitch Haniger
81 Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Alex “Bang Bang” Bregman
— High Heat Stats (@HighHeatStats) May 20, 2021
Acuna and Tatis are deserving of their current status as top-two favorites. But with so many games left, the NL MVP race is very much wide open.
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.