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Lindor’s AL MVP Odds Now in Top 3; Indians SS Passes Torres, Bregman

Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor has seen his MVP odds shorten significantly, putting him third behind Mike Trout and Aaron Judge. Photo by @BenAxelrod (Twitter).
  • American League MVP odds have shifted following confirmation of MLB’s 60-game regular season plan
  • Francisco Lindor has jumped to third-favorite to win the award, behind Mike Trout and Aaron Judge
  • Get the odds and betting discussion below

The American League MVP award went to Mike Trout in 2019. Unsurprisingly, the future Hall of Famer is the runaway favorite in the 2020 AL MVP odds. Trout is followed by New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge in the betting. A trio of infielders come next, led by Francisco Lindor.

MLB confirmed a 60-game regular season, starting in late July. Public discussions between the owners and MLBPA were unpleasant at times and the two parties couldn’t come to an agreement.

The shortened campaign opens up all sorts of possibilities. Hot streaks can turn a non-contender into a playoff team, and the same goes for the MVP race. One purple patch and a player can throw themselves into the midst of the MVP debate.

American League MVP Odds

Player Current Odds Odds On April 30
Mike Trout (Angels) +119 +106
Aaron Judge (Yankees) +1100 +1075
Francisco Lindor (Indians) +1475 +1565
Gleyber Torres (Yankees) +1525 +1526
Alex Bregman (Astros) +1575 +1540
Shohei Ohtani (Angels) +1825 +2004
Matt Chapman (Athletics) +1875 +2031
Yoan Moncada (White Sox) +2225 +3975
Anthony Rendon (Angels) +2275 +2409
Rafael Devers (Red Sox) +2425 +3334

Odds taken June 27.

Surging Francisco

Lindor is one of baseball’s entertainers. He’s an elite glove at short and a switch-hitter who provides contact and power. At the center of trade rumors during the off-season, Lindor remains on the Indians for now and has moved ahead of Gleyber Torres and Alex Bregman in the AL MVP betting.

Back at the end of April, Lindor was out at +1565 to claim MVP, a shade longer than both Torres and Bregman. As the season nears, he’s slipped past the Yankee and Astro stars. Now priced at +1475, only Trout and Judge are at shorter prices than Lindor. Torres’ MVP price is almost the same as it was, while the controversial Bregman has seen his odds lengthen slightly to +1575.

The added uncertainty of a shorter season, the potential for small sample size surprises, works against the favorites. Trout is still well clear of the rest, and Judge is comfortably second, but both offer greater returns than they did a few months ago.

Two-Way Sho

Few players could benefit from the shortened season as much as Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani. Had the season started as normal, it was unclear when Ohtani would first take the mound. It is now expected he will be ready to go from Opening Day in a six-man rotation.

He posted a 123 wRC+ in 2019, a better mark than Nicholas Castellanos and Tommy Pham and only just behind Bryce Harper. In his 10 pitching starts in 2018, he was among the best arms in the game, good for a 127 ERA+.

It remains to be seen if Ohtani is the same pitcher after surgery. At his best, though, he’s an All-Star on both sides of the ball. Ohtani’s upside cannot be overstated, and with fewer innings to pitch, the risk of injury should be lower.

Every game takes on much greater meaning in 2020. A great start on the mound will be invaluable – if the Angels get Ohtani pitching like he was in 2018 and he can be one of the top-20 most productive hitters in the league, he has a great opportunity to win AL MVP.

One Player’s Impact

An excellent article from Devan Fink highlights how much of an impact one player can have in 2020. Unlike normal seasons, a red-hot 60-game streak could change the fortune of a team.

Trout is obviously capable of racking up five or six WAR over 60 games, but so are many others. Judge could hit 20 homers. Rendon or Moncada could hit .400. Baseball is a game of streaks, hot and cold, which usually balance themselves out over 162 games. This year is obviously different, and it could open up the MVP race more than ever before. Many more players have a serious MVP chance than usual.

The two-way force of Ohtani, being able to impact games from the mound and the plate, makes his price very tempting. A case can be made for a lot of players – it could be the streakier hitters who provide the best value.

Pick: Shohei Ohtani (+1825)

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