Mike Trout's AL MVP Odds Fade to +128; Is It Time to Bet on the Favorite?

Mike Trout with a mask on

Mike Trout’s AL MVP odds have faded a bit in recent months, but as the season inches closer he remains the prohibitive favorite. Photo via @JasonKander (Twitter).
  • As the 2020 MLB season inches closer, Mike Trout’s AL MVP odds have begun to fade
  • Trout is a three-time MVP, and has finished first or second in the voting in seven of the past eight seasons
  • Can bettors bank on Trout’s pedigree or are there too many questions in a shortened season?

Mike Trout is the most valuable player in baseball. Only the most ardent contrarians would dispute that claim.

The three-time MVP is second among active ballplayers in wins above replacement (WAR) and has finished first or second in MVP voting in seven of the past eight seasons.

That’s quite the resume, and it explains why Trout is an overwhelming favorite in the 2020 AL MVP odds.

Still, those odds have been fading since April. Once a +106 bet (April 30), Trout has since dipped to +119 (June 19) and now sits at +128. An optimist sees this as increased value; a pessimist wants to know the reasons why this is happening.

2020 AL MVP Odds

Player Teams Odds
Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels +128
Aaron Judge New York Yankees +1133
Francisco Lindor Cleveland Indians +1433
Alex Bregman Houston Astros +1500
Gleyber Torres New York Yankees +1500
Matt Chapman Oakland Athletics +1733
Shohei Ohtani Los Angeles Angels +1767
Anthony Rendon Los Angeles Angels +2033
Yoan Moncada Chicago White Sox +2200
Rafael Devers Boston Red Sox +2300
Josh Donaldson Minnesota Twins +2500
Jose Ramirez Cleveland Indians +2667
DJ LeMahieu New York Yankees +2750
Giancarlo Stanton New York Yankees +3000
Austin Meadows Tampa Bay Rays +3600
Marcus Semien Oakland Athletics +3600
Gerrit Cole New York Yankees +3667
Jose Altuve Houston Astros +3833
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Toronto Blue Jays +3867
Carlos Correa Houston Astros +4000

Odds as of July 8.

An MVP Machine

First, it’s only fair to give Trout his due. He has been in the MVP conversation — if not at the forefront — in all eight of his full MLB seasons.

Missed games (particularly in 2012, 2017 and 2018) might’ve cost him more hardware. It’s not far-fetched to think Trout could have five (or more) MVPs  to his name already.

As it stands, the reigning MVP has led the majors in league-adjusted OPS (i.e. OPS+) five consecutive years. The Angels haven’t made the postseason since 2014, but that hasn’t appeared to hurt him much on the ballot.

With a healthy Shohei Ohtani in tow and the addition of Anthony Rendon, the Angels have a decent chance to get back into the playoffs. If Trout does what he normally does, the addition of a postseason berth could buoy his case even more.

2020 Cy Young Odds Tracker

A Season of Uncertainty

One thing bettors know is that smaller sample sizes lend themselves to increased volatility. That’s exactly what we’re in for this season (assuming, of course, there is a season).

In a 60-game season, Trout will have far fewer games to separate himself from the pack. What if he misses a bit of time, as he often does? What if the birth of his first child — who is due in August — takes him away from the action?

Trout has been mulling his options, and said this last week, “Honestly, I still don’t feel that comfortable.”

There are no reports indicating that he’s leaning on the side of not playing, but the possibility exists. Given the question marks that are already present this season, that’s an awfully sizable risk to take.

Decision Time

Look, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Trout wins. But the risk is simply not worth it given the current odds, even with the recent fade. Monitor the odds to see if he continues to drop, but for now there are much better values elsewhere.

How about his teammate, Ohtani, for example? The two-way wunderkind could be uniquely impactful in this weird season. His small sample size of hitting and pitching numbers won’t look so out of place, given how small everyone’s samples will be.

At his current price of +1767, Ohtani could be quite the steal.

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