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AL Batting Leader Austin Meadows Enters Top 5 in AL MVP Odds for First Time This Season

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Austin Meadows
Tampa Bay OF Austin Meadows leads the American League with a .357 batting average. Photo by @sportsdebatable (https://twitter.com/SportsDebatable)
  • Tampa Bay Rays OF Austin Meadows is leading the AL with a .357 batting average
  • He’s also in the top four in OBP and SLG
  • BetOnline lists Meadows at +1000 to win the AL MVP Award

Is Austin Meadows on the verge of making history? No Tampa Bay Rays player has ever been voted the American League MVP.

BetOnline gives him a chance, albeit not favored status to do so this season.

The sportsbook lists Meadows, who currently leads the AL with a .357 batting average, as its co-third betting choice in their AL MVP odds for 2019.

2019 American League MVP Odds

Player 2019 AL MVP Odds at BetOnline
Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels) +125
Joge Polanco (Minnesota Twins) +500
Austin Meadows (Tampa Bay Rays) +1000
George Springer (Houston Astros) +1000
Joey Gallo (Texas Rangers) +1000
Michael Brantley (Houston Astros) +1000
Alex Bregman (Houston Astros) +1200
Gary Sanchez (New York Yankees) +1600
JD Martinez (Boston Red Sox) +1600
Matt Chapman (Oakland Athletics) +1600
Xander Bogaerts (Boston Red Sox) +2000
Mookie Betts (Boston Red Sox) +2000

*Odds taken 06/03/19

Evan Longoria was sixth in AL MVP balloting in 2010 and 2013, the closest a Rays player has ever come to winning the award.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

You won’t find Meadows in the top 10 in  home runs or RBI but it must be remembered that he missed 15 games with a sprained right thumb.

He’s third in slugging percentage (.656) and fourth in on-base percentage (429). His WAR of 2.4 is ninth-best among AL position players.

The Rays’ outfielder has at least two hits in seven of his last eight games and is a combined 17-for-35 at the plate in that span.

What’s Not to Like About Meadows?

His OPS of 1.085 places Meadows third in the AL and among some heady company in Rays history. Carlos Pena set the franchise record for OPS of 1.037 in 2007.

You’ll also find Meadows among the AL leaders in at-bats per home run (10th, 13.1) and runs created (seventh, 46).

There’s No Do Overs in Baseball

Last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Meadows, and pitchers Tyler Glasnow and Shane Baz to the Rays for All-Star pitcher Chris Archer.

While Meadows is raking and drawing MVP talk, Glasnow (6-1, 1.86 ERA, 55 strikeouts in 48. 1 innings) has placed himself firmly in the AL Cy Young Award argument.

Meanwhile, Baz, 19, the 12th pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, is 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 25 innings for Bowling Green of the Midwest (A) League.

Could Meadows Be AL MVP?

The Rays don’t tend to get a lot of love from the baseball writers at awards voting time.

Mike Trout will always get votes because he’s Mike Trout. But the Angels are treading water and unlikely to be playoff contenders.

With all of the Houston contenders for MVP, its conceivable that they could split the vote. If the Yankees keep doing what they’re doing, Gary Sanchez will get votes because it’s the Yankees.

But if you’re looking for someone that might get overlooked, Minnesota’s Jorge Polanco makes sense. Polanco  leads the AL in offensive WAR, hits, and extra-base hits.

At +500, he offers a solid price.

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