- Minnesota Twins DH Nelson Cruz is the new AL MVP favorite
- Cruz saw his odds shorten from +825 on Sep. 9 to +125 by Sep. 15
- Cleveland Indians pitcher Shane Bieber (+200) is the second betting choice
The oddsmakers have shifted the American League MVP race into Cruz control.
Nelson Cruz evidently moves pretty fast for a designated hitter. The Minnesota Twins slugger vaulted into the favorite’s role in the 2020 AL MVP odds.
Cruz had the fourth-best odds at +825 on Sep. 9. Six days later, he’s the +125 chalk.
2020 AL MVP Odds
|Player (Team)||Sep. 15 Odds||Sep. 9 Odds|
|Nelson Cruz (Twins)||+125||+825|
|Shane Bieber (Indians)||+200||+400|
|Jose Abreu (White Sox)||+550||+650|
|Mike Trout (Angels)||+700||+550|
|Tim Anderson (White Sox)||+900||+1650|
|Luke Voit (Yankees)||+2000||+1250|
Odds as of Sep. 15th.
Cleveland Indians pitcher Shane Bieber’s odds shortened to +200 from +400. Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu’s betting line improved from +650 to +550.
Launching Cruz Missiles
Cruz has crushed his way to the top of many of the AL’s key batting categories. He’s the league leader in slugging percentage (.652) and OPS (1.066). The Twins DH is also second in the AL in on-base percentage (.414).
Cruz’s 16 home runs give him a share of second in the league with Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. Luke Voit of the New York Yankees leads with 17 homers.
Nelson Cruz joins the top of the HR leaderboard. pic.twitter.com/il3qumzaWT
— MLB (@MLB) September 13, 2020
However, Cruz’s 32 RBI leave him in a distant tie for eighth among the junior circuit leaders. That’s surprising, considering that he drove in 15 runs through his first 11 games of the season, and even more surprising when you consider that he’s batting .379 with runners in scoring position.
Is DH an MVP Deal Breaker?
Frank Thomas, the last White Sox player to win the MVP when he captured back-to-back awards in 1993-94, believes that the fact that Cruz is a DH will work against him in the MVP balloting.
Thomas won his two MVP awards while playing first base. He never received MVP recognition later in his career despite putting up impressive numbers as a DH.
You have heard about it … but now you can look at it.
Live look at the Nelson Cruz pregame nap session on the road.
He has already worked out, done cage work and video work. Now he rests his body and mind before more cage work.
— Dustin Morse (@morsecode) September 8, 2020
The Big Hurt makes a valid point. No full-time DH has ever been named AL MVP. In 1979, Don Baylor of the Angels won the MVP while splitting time between left field and DH.
Baylor DHed for 65 games that season and played 97 games in the outfield. Cruz, 39, has played DH in every game for the past two seasons. His last action in the field came in 2018 with the Seattle Mariners.
Abreu Also Impressive
Helping the White Sox challenge for their first AL Central title since 2007, ChiSox first baseman Abreu also has his name all over the AL batting leaderboard.
He entered play Tuesday leading AL position players in WAR (2.4), hits (62), total bases (120), RBI (48), and extra-base hits (28). Abreu’s 15 homers have him in a tie for fourth spot.
— Bennett Karoll (@thebennettk) September 12, 2020
The ChiSox first sacker is one of three players in MLB history to launch his career with four-straight seasons hitting 25-plus home runs and 100-plus RBI. In Sunday’s 14-0 drubbing of the Detroit Tigers, Abreu went 4-for-4 with 7 RBI, five runs, and a pair of homers.
Bieber in Tough
Speaking of dominance, check the digits being posted by Cleveland right-hander Bieber. Among pitchers, he’s the current AL leader in WAR (2.9), ERA (1.53), wins (seven), winning percentage (.875), strikeouts (102), and strikeouts per nine innings (14.196).
6th strikeout of the night. 100th strikeout of the season.
— FOX Sports Cleveland (@FOXSportsCLE) September 12, 2020
He already has the AL Cy Young in the bag. However, he’s in tough to win MVP. Starting pitchers don’t get a lot of MVP love. Since 1987, Justin Verlander (Detroit, 2011) is the only starting pitcher to be named AL MVP.
Edge to Abreu
Playing in the field every day gives Abreu a leg up on Cruz if their offensive numbers continue to be similar.
Jose Abreu saved the best season of his career for the White Sox World Series run. I love that. pic.twitter.com/wQEOikAPGI
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) September 13, 2020
Cruz must keep slashing the baseball with his bat. It’s the only tool at his disposal.
Pick: Jose Abreu (+550)
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