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DJ LeMahieu Now Second in AL MVP Odds at +250; Could He Really Beat Mike Trout?

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in MLB Baseball

Jul 3, 2019 · 8:16 AM PDT

DJ LeMahieu
DJ LeMahieu is now a top-2 contender to win the AL MVP. Photo By @MLBStats (Twitter)
  • DJ LeMahieu is now a top-2 contender to win the AL MVP
  • LeMahieu is having one of the best first halves of a season ever by a Yankee
  • Can LeMahieu actually challenge Mike Trout for the AL MVP?

Raise your hand if you picked a New York Yankee to win the AL MVP this season. Now raise your hand if that Yankee was DJ LeMahieu.

The 2016 NL batting champ is tearing the cover of the baseball in New York and has vaulted into contention for the AL’s most prestigious individual award.

2019 AL MVP Odds

Team 2019 AL MVP Odds
Mike Trout -150
DJ LeMahieu +250
Jorge Polanco +500
Rafael Devers +700
Alex Bregman +1200
Gary Sanchez +1200
Tim Anderson +2000

*Odds taken 07/02/19

His average AL MVP odds are +200 and the only player with a shorter price tag is two-time winner Mike Trout. Not bad for a guy who didn’t have a clear starting spot on the Yankees’ roster before the season started.

LeMahieu Is on Fire

LeMahieu leads the AL in average and hits, and is top-5 in runs, RBI, OBP, OPS and WAR. Since June 5, he has a slash line of .424/.467/.717, with 6 home runs and 27 RBI in just 22 games. That production amounts to a WAR of 2.0 during that stretch which is the best in baseball.

He’s on pace to become the first hitter ever to win both the NL and AL batting title, and his 3.6 WAR is a full win higher than anyone else on a Yankees team that has a 6.5 game lead in the AL East.

This Isn’t a Fluke

LeMahieu has always been a skilled hitter, but most people attributed his success to playing in a hitter-friendly park in Colorado.

He’s shed that label this season, putting up nearly identical numbers at home and on the road, while improving his success rate drastically against off-speed pitches.

He’s a top-10 hitter in baseball against sliders and curveballs this year, two pitches that have historically given him trouble. He’s always feasted on fastballs but now that he’s excelling versus those pitches as well he’s nearly impossible to pitch to.

But Can He Challenge Trout?

In short, probably not. LeMahieu is having an amazing year, but Trout’s a phenom who’s putting up insane numbers despite playing for a mediocre team. He has no protection around him in the Angels’ lineup, but still leads the AL in OBP, Slugging, OPS and WAR, while ranking top-5 in runs, home runs and RBI.

He’s a legit triple crown candidate, and although it hurts him that the Angels won’t be playoff bound, he proved in 2016 that making the postseason isn’t necessary to win the MVP award. His 2019 production is worth nearly two more wins that LeMahieu’s and that gap is likely to widen as the season continues.

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