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Opening AL MVP Odds Give Trout a 50/50 Shot to Go Back-to-Back

Trout meets a fan
Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout is the strong favorite to win American League MVP. Photo by Keith Allison (Wikimedia Commons).
  • Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout is the overwhelming favorite to defend his American League MVP title
  • Yankees stars Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres sit as second favorites
  • Anthony Rendon is +3000 following move to American League with the Angels

Mike Trout is the heavy favorite to make it back-to-back American League MVPs and win his fourth overall in 2020.

The Los Angeles Angels center fielder is priced at +100, well ahead of his nearest competitors. New York Yankees duo Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge are available at +1200, just in front of Trout’s two-way teammate Shohei Ohtani.

The table below shows the 2020 AL MVP Odds. Can anyone stop Trout winning it again?

2020 American League MVP Odds

Team Odds
Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels) +100
Aaron Judge (New York Yankees) +1200
Gleyber Torres (New York Yankees) +1200
Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) +1400
Alex Bregman (Houston Astros) +1600
Francisco Lindor (Cleveland Indians) +1600
DJ LeMahieu (New York Yankees) +2500
Matt Chapman (Oakland Athletics) +2500
Anthony Rendon (Los Angeles Angels) +3000
Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees) +3000
Marcus Semien (Oakland Athletics) +3000
Rafael Devers (Boston Red Sox) +3000
JD Martinez (Boston Red Sox) +4000
Jorge Polanco (Minnesota Twins) +4000
Jose Altuve (Houston Astros) +4000
Matt Olson (Oakland Athletics) +4000
Yordan Alvarez (Houston Astros) +4000
Austin Meadows (Tampa Bay Rays) +5000
Vlad Guerrero Jr. (Toronto Blue Jays) +5000
Eloy Jimenez (Chicago White Sox) +5000
Gary Sanchez (New York Yankees) +5000
George Springer (Houston Astros) +5000
Jose Ramirez (Cleveland Indians) +5000
Xander Bogaerts (Boston Red Sox) +5000
Yoan Moncada (Chicago White Sox) +5000

Odds taken Feb. 6th.

Historic Trout

It takes an historic season (or injury) to stop Trout winning American League MVP.

Mookie Betts produced 10.9 bWAR to pip Trout to the award in 2018 and Trout played only 114 games when he finished fourth in 2017. Josh Donaldson was arguably fortuitous to beat Trout in 2015.

It took one of the game’s greatest hitters at his peak to stop Trout winning in 2012 and 2013, his first two seasons in the league.

Trout has led baseball in wRC+ in each of the last four seasons. He’s coming off the back of the best power year of his career. Fangraphs project Trout to put up almost nine WAR in 2020, which remarkably would be the sixth-best season of his career by that metric.

The standards set by Trout are so high, if he’s healthy, it is very hard to see anyone beating him to the award.

It has happened on numerous occasions previously, though, and there’s enough elite talent in the American League for one player to produce an all-time great season.

New York Pairing

Two such players are Judge and Torres. Heading into his age-23 season, Torres is already a two-time All-Star. Judge finished second in MVP voting as a rookie.

Judge is one of the few players in baseball who walks as much as Trout. His power is generational and he’s an excellent defensive outfielder in right. Torres combines good contact skills with handy power – he had a .256 ISO in 2019 – and may well continue to improve after adding 51 points to his OPS in 2019.

Fangraphs project Torres to produce 3.7 WAR. They project Judge at 5.2 WAR. That seems a fair representation of Judge’s skill set and upside. Judge could have a 60-homer year that really pushes Trout, and is the best option of the two at +1200.

Longshots to Consider

Austin Meadows is a name to keep an eye out for. After a so-so start to his Major League career, Meadows delivered on his promise in 2019. Formerly ranked as the sixth best prospect in the game by Baseball America, the talent has always been there. Meadows put up a four-WAR, 142 wRC+ year with the Rays.

It was no fluke. Meadows ranked in the 88th percentile in expected weighted on-base. He’s a subpar defender, and Fangraphs’ projections expect regression this season, but he shouldn’t be overlooked as an MVP longshot.

We saw his line-drive percentage increase significantly in 2019, resulting in fewer grounders. After a .922 OPS last season, an MVP push isn’t out of the question. The +5000 price looks like good value.

There’s plenty of upside in the longer odds options. Former top prospects like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada are all intriguing options – Moncada took a huge leap last season.

Trout is the runaway favorite for a reason, though. The Angels star is the best player in baseball by a distance. It’s a bit of a surprise he’s not at an even shorter price, particularly after Mookie Betts departed for the National League.

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