It’s not too often a Major League Baseball MVP, whether it be the National League or American League, comes out of nowhere to earn the honor.
The defending MVPs, though — the NL’s Freddie Freeman and the AL’s Jose Abreu — have proven it can happen. Freeman, specially, was 18-to-1 to win the award before the 2020 pandemic-shortened campaign started.
Could a similar case present itself this season? First, let’s take a look at the NL MVP odds from DraftKings Sportsbook:
Mookie Betts +750
Juan Soto +750
Ronald Acuna Jr. +800
Cody Bellinger +800
Fernando Tatis Jr. +850
Nolan Arenado +1200
Freddie Freeman +1200
Francisco Lindor +1200
Christian Yelich +1200
Bryce Harper +1500
Corey Seager +1500
Manny Machado +2200
Trevor Story +2500
So, who are some players who present value and real potential with those NL MVP odds?
Francisco Lindor +1200
Lindor is weighing in at 12-to-1 with two players — Freeman (2020) and Yelich (2018) — who have each won MVPs in the last three years. Those names obviously still hold some weight behind the betting favorites of Betts and Soto.
Lindor, 27, benefits from something trivial: The fact he’s in the first year with the Mets after a January blockbuster trade.
Essentially, if Lindor and the Mets claim the NL East crown this year and maybe even make a run at the pennant, it would be impossible to overlook Lindor. After all, we’re talking about a New York team that has finished third or fourth in the division each of the last four seasons. The Mets finished fourth in 2020 (26-34), third in 2019 (86-76) and fourth during both the 2018 (77-85) and 2017 (70-92) campaigns.
If the Mets can emerge out of a competitive division featuring the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and even the Philadelphia Phillies, he could be viewed as the piece that got them of the top. That certainly would entice some MVP votes, right?
It currently seems like Lindor could be entering a contract year, too. He reportedly is seeking $385 million deal from the Mets, whose latest offer reportedly is for 10 years and $325 million. Lindor’s self-imposed deadline to come to a contract agreement is Thursday, before the regular season starts.
In addition to that, though, is the sheer talent of Lindor. The four-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger arguably is the best shortstop in the game. He’s been the most valuable shortstop by FanGraphs’ version of Wins Above Replacement since starting his first full season in 2016.
The two-time Gold Glover is an elite defender while playing one of the most important positions on the field. He was tied for second last season in Outs Above Average (OAA) behind only San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr., according to Statcast. He was second the year before behind Javier Baez, too.
Lindor has compiled a .365 average and 1.046 OPS during 16 spring training games for the Mets.