New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is the prohibitive favorite to win this year’s American League MVP, but the race is far from decided with over three months remaining in the regular season.
Judge is the best player on baseball’s best team and American bookmakers are completely aware of the situation. In fact, Judge is such a favorite (-115) that you have to lay $115 to win $100, which is a huge shift from his preseason odds (+1500 or higher) when $100 won you at least $1500.
Those odds also imply a 53% chance that Judge wins the AL MVP.
I’m not saying Judge hasn’t been sensational — he leads the American League in home runs and runs scored and plays for a juggernaut. But there are other realistic candidates who would provide you with a much better return on your investment. Judge’s extremely short odds increase the odds on everybody else.
AL MVP odds via BetMGM:
Aaron Judge -110 ($110 wins $100)
Shohei Ohtani +350 ($100 wins $350)
Mike Trout +650
Jose Ramirez +900
Yordan Alvarez +1000
Rafael Devers +1200
Vlad Guerrero Jr. +4000 ($100 wins $4,000)
Let’s take Houston Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez for example. His on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS are all higher than Judge’s and he has just six fewer RBIs and three fewer homers despite having 45 less at-bats than the Bronx Bomber.
Alvarez is a dominant presence for a team that leads its division by double-digit games.
Los Angeles’ Mike Trout and Boston’s Rafael Devers are two other candidates who have a shot to win the award. Trout’s 4.1 wins above replacement (WAR) is the highest in the American League — voters tend to salivate over WAR — while I like Devers’ resume a lot more. “Raffy Big Stick” is hitting .333 with 17 homers and 45 RBIs, and he leads the AL in hits, doubles, extra-base hits, total bases and runs created.
Judge is the betting favorite for a variety of reasons and if he finishes with 60 homers on a 110-win Yankees club, he’s going to bring home the AL MVP. But acting like he’s the only horse in the race is silly.
I don’t hate a wager on Alvarez (+1000) or Devers (+1200) one bit.