by Stuart Kirsch
NL MVP Odds: Bellinger, Yelich, Acuna, or Betts?
Were it not for a first-place vote or two last year–due to Yelich’s games lost to injury or Bellinger playing on a 106-win team–Cody Bellinger could have lost the MVP to Christian Yelich, making Yelich a two-time defending MVP coming into the season. Anthony Rendon finished a close third in the balloting, but departed for the other league and the opposite coast. Yet all remains in stasis as Mookie Betts, 2018 AL MVP–likewise from the other league and opposite coast–tosses his new Dodger blue cap into the MVP ring.
Yelich, the 2019 WAR, Batting, Slugging, On-Base, and OPS leader, all while missing 30 games with a broken kneecap, is the betting co-favorite to win the 2020 NL MVP with odds of +600. Playing a shortened season when healthy, the sweet-swinging star outfielder of the Brewers can continue his elite-level play with power, speed, and hitting to take home the trophy.
22-year old Braves’ outfielder Ronald Acuna, Jr. is the other co-favorite, with +600 odds to bring the 2020 NL MVP award to Hotlanta. Acuna won the Rookie of the Year award in 2018 with steady play in 2/3 of a season, and exploded last year with 41 homers and 37 steals on the division-winning Atlanta club. Just missing a 40/40 season, Acuna may be even more aggressive on the basepaths this season.
NL MVP Odds the Hardware Will Return to Chavez Ravine?
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been the regular season team of the decade, winning the NL West each of the last seven years with more than 90 victories. Snakebitten in the postseason, they have lost to the eventual World Series champion in four straight years, including twice in the Fall Classic. If Cody Bellinger can replicate his torrid 2019 start, he can run away with the MVP in a 60-game season. The 24-year-old outfielder hit .366 with 30 homers, 71 RBIs, 70 Runs, and a bold 1.124 OPS in 88 games in the first half last year. Bellinger’s MVP odds are at +800.
Taking some of the luster away from Bellinger, however, is his new partner in the LA outfield, Mookie Betts. The 2018 AL MVP and four-time All Star brings his four gold gloves and three silver sluggers to a Dodger clubhouse crowded with stars. Betts’ odds for the 2020 NL MVP are +700. Both Bellinger and Betts will benefit from the added DH role in the NL this year.
Don’t Sleep on Soto
One of the brightest spots of the Nationals’ unexpected 2019 world championship was a breakthrough sophomore season from Juan Soto. The 22-year old slugged 34 homers with matching 110 runs and RBIs on a team loaded with veterans. He finished in the top ten of MVP voting and has +900 odds for the 2020 NL MVP. Mets’ 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run champion Pete Alonso has odds at +2500, while Padres’ rookie sensation Fernando Tatis, Jr. comes in at +1300.
Former MVP Bryce Harper had a down year in after signing for big bucks in Philadelphia, and his MVP odds are at +1300. A perennial gold glover and silver slugger, Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado hopes to make his case at +1700. Up and coming star for the Cincinnati Reds, Eugenio Suarez, has been climbing the ladder of success, with MVP odds at +2500.