MLB Betting: AL and NL MVP Props (Odds and Predictions)
by Matt Severance - 03/31/2009
I'm here to hopefully give you a little guidance for your betting dollar on the 2009 American League and National League MVPs, and I'll start with this: Don't you dare put down any money on a pitcher.
They have their own award, you may have heard (story on AL/NL Cy Youngs also coming soon on Doc's Sports). Whether a pitcher deserves to be named MVP is an argument for another day, but I'll give you a statistical reason to not touch a pitcher: One hasn't been named MVP of a league since Dennis Eckersley in 1992 with Oakland. A starting pitcher hasn't won in the AL since Roger Clemens in 1986, and no pitcher has won in the NL since Bob Gibson in 1968.
Francisco Rodriguez had a MLB-record 62 saves and a 2.24 ERA for the Angels last year, and if that isn't good enough to win an MVP award, the days of a pitcher doing so are probably over with few starters reaching 20 wins nowadays.
Criteria No. 2: Take a guy on a team you are confident will be a playoff contender. The Cards didn't make the playoffs last year but were on the fringes of the race, so Albert Pujols still fits as the 2008 winner. Really, the last player to win it on a bad team was Alex Rodriguez on the 2003 Rangers. This eliminates someone like Ichiro in 2009.
Criteria No. 3: Take a durable guy. A-Rod would fall into that category most years, but missing a month-and-a-half just about eliminates him this year. Pujols has some sort of torn ligament in his elbow that theoretically could blow out any day, but that's been the case for years, and he puts up nearly identical numbers each season. This eliminates someone like Alfonso Soriano and a breaking down Vladimir Guerrero.
Criteria No. 4: Don't take a guy to repeat. Other than Barry Bonds, who had a stranglehold on the NL MVP from 2001-04, no one in either league has repeated since Frank Thomas with the White Sox in 1993 and 1994. However, Pujols has won it in two of the past four years, and A-Rod has won it the past three odd-year seasons. This eliminates Pujols and Dustin Pedroia this year.
With all that said, here are three guys I like in each league (no particular order, with Bodog odds) and why:
David Wright, Mets (20/1): He's the face of the Mets, and if they reach the playoffs will be the darling of New York - as much as a Met can be in a Yankee town. I give him the edge over inconsistent Jose Reyes.
Chase Utley, Phillies (30/1): He was arguably the MVP leader in the clubhouse in the first half of last season before that hip injury started slowing him down. But he played through that and voters will remember it. And he's healthy now and ready for Opening Day for the champs.
Manny Ramirez, Dodgers (7/1): I wanted to outsmart myself and pick another Dodger like Matt Kemp or Russell Martin, but Manny simply WILL win this award if he stays healthy and the Dodgers reach the playoffs. That Ramirez hasn't won an MVP yet is stunning.
Derek Jeter, Yankees (40/1): There's probably no other overhyped player on the planet except for A-Rod. But if Jeter has a big year and keeps the Yanks near the AL East lead while A-Rod is injured, he'll get all the credit at the end.
Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox (40/1): No chance Pedroia wins it again, and, well, these are the Red Sox, so you have to include one of them as a likely MVP candidate since I've heard they get a big of coverage on ESPN, etc.
Evan Longoria, Rays (15/1): Yep, I think the AL MVP comes out of the AL East for the third straight year. If the Rays win this loaded division, one of their players will be rewarded.