- 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
|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.
Name a player better than Mike Trout (via @TalkinBaseball_) pic.twitter.com/TVtzbLpLUc
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) July 6, 2020
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.
Mike Trout did this six years ago today pic.twitter.com/n9iqWoHJQB
— Brent Maguire (@bmags94) July 4, 2020
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.
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?
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) July 5, 2020
Trout has been mulling his options, and said this last week, “Honestly, I still don’t feel that comfortable.”
Mike Trout and his wife, Jessica Cox, are expecting their first child to be born in August.
He is concerned for his family’s safety with MLB’s return. https://t.co/btTX7YSK5p pic.twitter.com/ynZVcas9KV
— ESPN (@espn) July 3, 2020
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.
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.
Are you more excited to see Shohei Ohtani hit or pitch?#Angels pic.twitter.com/OiF03jLKQ7
— Jared Tims (@Jared_Tims) July 6, 2020
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.