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Mookie Betts Opens as NL MVP Favorite; Reigning MVP Bellinger Fourth at +800 Odds

Mookie Betts celebrating at home plate
Following his trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mookie Betts immediately became an NL MVP favorite. Is he a good buy? Photo by Keith Allison {flickr).
  • Mookie Betts was acquired by the LA Dodgers on Tuesday night
  • He immediately became the favorite to win the 2020 NL MVP award
  • Betts’ odds are well ahead of new teammate and reigning MVP Cody Bellinger

If having the reigning NL MVP wasn’t enough, the Dodgers acquired a potential MVP in Mookie Betts on Tuesday.

The landmark trade didn’t exactly shift the balance of power in the NL, as LA was always going to be a contender. But it certainly made them way more formidable.

Now, with a lineup that features Betts and 2019 MVP Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers look unstoppable. The only question surrounding them may be which of their Killers Bs take home the hardware in 2020.

2020 NL MVP Odds

Player 2019 NL MVP Vote Share Odds
Mookie Betts (LAD) N/A +500
Ronald Acuna Jr (ATL) 37% +600
Christian Yelich (MIL) 75% +700
Cody Bellinger (LAD) 86% +800
Bryce Harper (PHI) N/A +1200
Fernando Tatis Jr (SD) N/A +1200
Juan Soto (WAS) 11% +1200
Nolan Arenado (COL) 29% +1200
Ketel Marte (ARI) 47% +1600
Javier Baez (CHC) N/A +2000
Trevor Story (COL) 6% +2000
Eugenio Suarez (CIN) 1% +2500
Freddie Freeman (ATL) 21% +2500
Kris Bryant (CHC) N/A +2500
Manny Machado (SD) N/A +2500

Odds taken Feb 6th.

Bellinger was so good last year, he never dropped past -115 after the beginning of July in the NL MVP odds. Betts was in and out of the running in the AL, but he had his own runaway winner to contend with in Mike Trout.

It’s not surprising to see Betts fall within the favorites after his move to the NL. It is a bit surprising to see him pacing the field, considering he was traded to a team with the reigning MVP.

Mookie Betts Brings Decorated Resume to LA

Some may think it’s a bit hyperbolic to throw him at the top of the NL MVP odds, but Mookie Betts deserves to be there.

After finishing 19th in AL MVP voting in his sophomore season, he’s finished in the top ten each of the past four.

Mookie Betts’ Past Four Seasons

Season AVG HR RBI Runs OBP SLG% AL MVP Placement
2016 .318 31 113 122 .363 .534 2nd
2017 .264 24 102 101 .344 .459 6th
2018 .346 32 80 129 .438 .640 1st
2019 .295 29 80 135 .391 .524 8th

That stretch catapulted Betts into icon status in Boston, placing him among the game’s stars.

He led the Majors in runs scored each of the past two years, and led the league in average and slugging percentage when he was named AL MVP in 2018.

His inter-league stats don’t indicate a fall-off is coming as he moves to the West Coast. He has a career slash of .317/.374/.547 when facing National League teams. It’s actually better than his career line of .301/.374/.519.

The Dodgers have a wealth of riches up and down their lineup, and can essentially hit Betts anywhere.

Mookie Betts Faces the Cody Bellinger Question

With two supremely talented superstars hitting in the same order, we’re going to find out whether voters can be decisive enough to pick.

It’s not unheard for two players from the same team to get MVP love. In 2018, Betts won the award while JD Martinez finished fourth. It would happen three more times in the decade (twice in 2011), where a teammate of the league MVP would finish in the top five of voting.

But there are also instances where it’s hurt. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon finished fourth and fifth in 2017 voting. Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter finished third and fourth in 2013. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez also caused voters headaches while they were in their primes with the Tigers.

Both will likely thrive in 2020, but their success could hurt each other and split the vote.

Field Will Have Something to Say About Mookie Betts’ MVP Candidacy

Here’s the thing. If it wasn’t for an injury prematurely ending his season, we’re probably talking about back-to-back MVP Christian Yelich in this space.

He actually followed up his 2018 season with an even better year last year. In 17 fewer games. Getting him at +700 is an absolute steal right now.

Third-year players Ronald Acuna Jr and Juan Soto are prime candidates too. Forced to choose, the longer odds on Soto are way more attractive.

Betts is undoubtedly a threat. But with a loaded field behind him, it’s best to wait it out for a better price.

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