Two and a half months into the baseball season and the candidates for the National League and American League Most Valuable Player awards are beginning to separate themselves from the field.
Let’s take a closer look at this season’s MLB MVP race!
MLB MVP Race | A Closer Look
A panel of experts on the MLB’s website predicted their MVPs a day before the season started and settled on Juan Soto in the NL and Mike Trout in the AL; although these two are certainly in the running, there are more clear-cut favorites receiving precedence atop the oddsmakers lists.
The New York Mets’ ace leads the NL MVP rankings with +200 odds, according to BetMGM, thanks to his otherworldly pitching stats: deGrom is 6-2 with an astonishing .56 earned run average and a league-best 14.5 strikeout per nine innings. DeGrom’s .56 ERA would be an all-time record if he maintained it throughout the season, replacing Eugene Bremer’s .71 from
the 1937 season.
The fact that deGrom has been charged with two losses this season is unbelievable because he has been nothing short of spectacular. The Mets are 34-25 and in first place in the NL East, five games ahead of the second-place Philadelphia Phillies.
DeGrom is a must-see every time that he takes the mound, which he will Wednesday night against the Chicago Cubs. The New Yorker will get a chance to deal against the NL Central’s best, and add to his staggering numbers this season.
Fernando Tatis Jr.
He may be flawed defensively, but Tatis can send the ball over the wall even if given a half-chance and has wound up with +300 odds to win NL MVP as a result. He is second in Major League Baseball with 20 home runs in 51 games, 14 fewer than first-place Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and is top-10 in slugging percentage and runs batted in.
Tatis’ job on the San Diego Padres is simple: crush the ball. He is responsible for nearly 29% of the Padres’ home run total and is one of the most feared hitters in baseball.
With a shoulder injury now behind him, Tatis will have an important stretch in front of him to build his MVP case. He needs to keep the bat hot and lead San Diego out of third place in the NL West to have a chance at catching deGrom.
Ronald Acuna Jr.
Acuna’s fourth season in the major league has provided more highlight-reel plays than any other player in baseball this year. At +400 odds to win MVP, 23-year-old Acuna looks to be one of the faces of the league for the next decade.
The Atlanta Braves’ right fielder has posted a line of .285 BA, 18 home runs, and 41 RBIs. This combination of consistently powerful and intelligent hitting is rare in baseball and is a major part of the reason that Acuna is regarded so highly. He has also only committed one error this season and is a sound defensive player.
Acuna has also hit a grand slam and a walk-off home run this season, adding Hollywood moments to his statistical dominance— he rounds out the three favorites in a tier above the field, and can elevate his stock even more by dragging the Braves out third in the NL East (30-34 on the season).
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Switching to the American League, the son of the legend is dominating pitchers on a nightly basis with league-highs in home runs (22) and RBIs (56) and has the MLB’s second-highest batting average at .345.
The only word to describe Vlad Jr. is “dominant,” because he performs night in and night out for the Toronto Blue Jays. This is the best season that he has had in his three-year career, and he has the highest odds of any MVP favorite at +115.
The rest of the league has to be worried about what Guerrero Jr can become later in his career: he has grown since entering the league and is still only 22-years old with a lot of games in front of him. If Guerrero keeps dominating the hitting stats, the award is his.
Ohtani possesses a hypnotizing blend of pitching and batting skills that he uses with great effectiveness. The Angels’ ace is 2-1 on the mound with a 2.85 ERA and 68 strikeouts and has hit for 18 home runs and 46 RBIs this season.
The Japanese product is a +165 favorite to take home AL MVP, second to Guerrero and a significant margin ahead of third-place Xander Bogaerts. The Angles are 33-34 but have won eight of their past 11 and are climbing up from third in the AL West.
The 6-foot-4 wonder can help his MVP case simply by doing more of what he already has and doing it consistently. There is no other player with the range of skill that Ohtani does, and he will be fighting for the award until the end.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.