Did Shohei Ohtani Lock Up The 2023 AL MVP In June?

Videos by OutKick

Los Angeles Angels’ slugger and ace Shohei Ohtani is doing things MLB has never seen before. As of June 28, Ohtani’s odds to win the 2023 AL MVP are touching -20000. I cannot recall seeing this big of a lock to win a league MVP this early in a season.

The only comps to Shohei’s 2023 start that I can think are Barry Bonds in 2001 and Peyton Manning in 2013. Through 81 games in 2021, Bonds had 39 home runs. And halfway through his 2nd season as a Denver Bronco, Manning passed for 29 touchdowns.

Bonds went on to hit an MLB record 73 HRs in 2001. Manning ended up passing for an NFL record 55 TDs in 2013. I’m sure Michael Jordan’s mid-season odds were sky-high in one of his five NBA MVP-winning seasons. But, I don’t have a way of verifying that.

Shohei Ohtani follows through on a solo home run in the 1st inning vs. the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.
Shohei Ohtani follows through on a solo home run in the 1st inning vs. the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

DraftKings Sportsbook has a market for “Ohtani to win this year’s AL MVP at -12000 vs. any other player” priced at +650. The next closest player in the 2023 AL MVP odds at DraftKings is Texas Rangers SS Corey Seager (+3000).

Currently, Ohtani leads MLB in home runs (28), RBI (64), slugging percentage (.654), OPS (1.039), and total bases (200). On the rubber, Ohtani is almost as dominant. He leads MLB in hits per nine innings (5.7) and the AL in strikeouts per nine (12.0).


When discussing his greatness with fellow OutKick staff, the biggest question was “How many games does Ohtani need to play to win 2023 AL MVP?” We can agree that Ohtani wins the MVP if he plays at least 120 games.

Even if he got hurt, Ohtani could win the MVP. He got pulled after six innings in his last outing because of a cracked fingernail and hit home run afterward as a DH.

Ohtani has a 6.1 combined WAR in both hitting and pitching as of June 28, per Baseball Reference. When he won his 1st AL MVP in 2021, Ohtani had a combined 8.9 WAR. The 2021 NL MVP, Philadelphia Phillies DH Bryce Harper, had just a 5.9 WAR.

Bonds had a 11.9 WAR in his record-setting season in 2001. Babe Ruth has the three-best seasons for WAR among position players at 14.1, 12.9, and 12.6. The 2023 Angels have played 81 games through June 28 so Ohtani is on pace to pass Bonds’ 2021 WAR.

As a lifelong New York Yankees fan I don’t say this lightly but Ohtani is the most talented baseball player ever. The only thing that could hold him back is a season-ending injury. But, if he plays through July, not even an injury stops Ohtani from winning the 2023 AL MVP.

Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.

Written by Geoff Clark

Geoff Clark serves as OutKick’s sports betting guru. As a writer and host of OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark, he dives deep into the sports betting landscape and welcomes an array of sports betting personalities on his show to handicap America’s biggest sporting events.

Previously, Clark was a writer/podcaster for USA TODAY's Sportsbook Wire website, handicapping all the major sports tentpoles with a major focus on the NFL, NBA and MLB.

Clark graduated from St. John University.

Leave a Reply