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I mentioned in my AL MVP article that predicting these can be a huge challenge. It almost is better to wait until after the first month or something similar. In the American League, there are so many people thinking that Ohtani will win the award that there are a lot of longshots. In the NL, I think there is some clear value on players for the MVP. Let’s take a look at what I like.
My favorite player for MVP is Trea Turner at +800. Why do I like Turner? Let me answer that with a question of my own. Did you watch the World Baseball Classic? The best player in that tournament, probably on all teams, was Trea Turner. Not only his success in an exhibition but he’s been very good for years. He was second in the league in hits last year behind his former teammate Freddie Freeman. Turner put up his first 100 RBI season last year, had 101 runs, 194 hits, and still had 27 steals. The guy can do it all. If the Phillies, his new team, make a big jump and win the division, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he was the reason. At +800 I love this bet and think he is a great choice.
Before we get into the other players that I like, I’m going to talk a little about some players that I won’t be getting involved with. Paul Goldschmidt won last year, I don’t think I’d touch him this year. I just don’t think there is much value in betting the same guy in back-to-back years. (By the way, that is one reason I do think Ohtani could win again.) I also won’t be betting on Juan Soto (current favorite), Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, or Xander Bogaerts. Yes, they are all Padres. I think the Padres will have a great season, but one of them will need to have an out-of-this-world season to win the award, and I’m just not sure which will be the best of these four.
Now, onto a few other players, I actually like a bit for the season. Goldschmidt was the MVP last year, but his teammate Nolan Arenado has made noise for years and I think he is good enough to win the award himself. He might be worth a look. He had a nice year last year and will be even more settled in during his third year in St. Louis. I think the Cardinals win the division as well which brings added attention to him.
Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are both good annual choices, but I’d guess you’re going to get better value on them during the season. Bryce Harper is another good annual choice and at +3500 there is actually a lot of value there. I’m surprised he is so low – he has his teammates Turner and Kyle Schwarber ahead of him. I’d probably put a sprinkle on him. As a former MVP, we know he is capable. One last guy I like to put a sprinkle on is Dansby Swanson. Swanson +5000 is unlikely, but he is now the new leader of the Chicago Cubs. I actually think the Cubs could have a pretty successful season this year – maybe not a playoff team, but they could compete for a spot. If they make the playoffs, Swanson probably will be a big reason for that. Many players are slow to start in their first season with Chicago, but I feel like Swanson could be different.
I’m going to put roughly a half unit on Turner at +800. I’ll probably sprinkle Swanson and Arenado for MVP as well.
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