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Judge’s AL MVP Odds Closing in on Favorite Trout; Rookie Robert in Top-15

Aaron Judge at the plate.
New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is having an MVP-caliber season. Photo by Arturo Pardavila III (Wikimedia).
  • Aaron Judge was as long as  +1133 to win the American League MVP but has improved to +235 already
  • Mike Trout has won three of the last six American League MVP awards
  • With the Los Angeles Angels struggling, Trout’s chances of winning the award are greatly impacted

The 2020 MLB season is nearly a third of the way through and the race for the American League MVP is coming into focus. While Mike Trout was the preseason favorite to win the award, the odds have shifted considerably.

Trout is still up there, but Aaron Judge is hot on his trail. Who is the best bet to win 2020 AL MVP?

2020 AL MVP Odds

Player (Team)  Odds at DraftKings
 Mike Trout (Angels) +200
Aaron Judge (Yankees) +235
Francisco Lindor (Indians) +1300
Matt Chapman (Athletics) +1500
Jose Ramirez (Indians) +1800
Nelson Cruz (Twins) +2000
Anthony Rendon (Angels) +2200
Yoan Moncada (White Sox) +2200
Gleyber Torres (Yankees) +2200
Alex Bregman (Astros) +2500

Odds as of Aug. 11th, 2020.

Trout Still Favored After Hot Start

Trout has won the award in three of the last six seasons, so it’s no surprise that the 2020 AL MVP odds showed him as a heavy favorite going into the year. While he’s played fewer games than some of his competitors, he’s still off to a rousing start. He has a .333 batting average with seven home runs, 14 RBI, and a 1.124 OPS.

One issue for Trout is the increasingly-important WAR, where he’s currently ranked a disappointing 152nd at just 0.4. His offensive WAR is second in the AL. But his defensive WAR of -0.5 is dragging him down the overall leaderboard. He’ll need to clean that up if he’s to really have a shot at the award this year.

Judge on the Rise

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge has closed the gap on Trout and has quickly shot up the board. He was at +1133 on July 8th but is now as short as +235 at DraftKings. That’s because he’s been electric at the plate this season, leading the AL in both home runs (eight) and RBI (19).

Judge is doing just fine in terms of WAR – currently at 1.1 – which puts him in a tie for fifth in all of baseball. Seattle’s JP Crawford is the only position player in the American League with a better number than Judge. But all things considered, he’s not really in the running. With Judge having the best WAR among the legitimate contenders, he’s the front runner right now.

Angels, Yankees Trajectory Impact This Race

Although many people want to say that the MVP is given to the best player overall, it’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s given to the best player on a contending team and sometimes it’s given to the best player overall – if their production is that much better than everyone else.

In the past, the latter has been the case with Trout as the Los Angeles Angels have made the playoffs just once in his first eight full seasons (2014). They are unlikely to snap their postseason drought this year, sitting last in the American League West. Only one AL team – the 5-8 Toronto Blue Jays – has fewer  wins than the 6-11 Angels.

As for the Yankees, they’re in first place in the American League East with a record of 10-6. They are heavy favorites in the AL East odds, and World Series co-favorites alongside the LA Dodgers. If Judge continues his production and the team continues its ascent, Trout won’t win this award.

What’s the Best Bet?

It’s a short season so while it feels early, you have to think about this as being late summer in a normal season. We only have 60 regular season games to play and the teams are approaching the 20-game mark. At this point, Judge would be the bet as he’s the best player overall and the best player on the best team.

Trout is putting up similar numbers but with the Angels not looking like a team that will get to the playoffs, I have a tough time backing him.

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