Smell that it is the air? Oh yeah, folks, it’s Spring Training season. That means there is no better time to lock in some AL MVP bets before it gets too late.
Some may want to place their bets as close to the season as possible. But those people are cowards.
I’m not a coward, and neither are you.
So come along for the ride as I show you three AL MVP bets you must make.
Three AL MVP Bets You Need To Lock In
Julio Rodriguez, +700
Sweet, Sweet J-Rod. The reigning AL Rookie of the Year, Julio Rodriguez exploded onto the scene last year, slashing a cool .284/.345/.509 with 28 home runs, 75 RBI, and 25 stolen bases in 132 games during 2022.
Some will peg him with the potential for a sophomore slump, but I beg to differ. After playing through a wrist injury all last season, Rodriguez should be healthy for 2023.
Rodriguez is already undoubtedly one of the five most explosive players in baseball. And now, with a lineup that boasts some more protection with the addition of Teoscar Hernández, he should see even more opportunities to do damage and put up ever more eye-popping numbers.
Year 2 Julio Rodriguez is gonna be something special 💥pic.twitter.com/dYCSOY2iWZ
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) February 2, 2023
Add in his electricity on the bases and in CF, and you see a once-in-a-generation talent.
Fan Graphs currently projects him for a 2023 slash line of .271/.338/.485, an xwOBA of .354, and a WAR of 5.7.
Those are MVP-caliber projections.
Another reason I like J-Rod? He is the unquestioned star of the young and up-and-coming Seattle Mariners. He is a player the MLB is hoping becomes one of the faces of the game.
With that comes more attention and exposure, something a player will need to win the MVP.
Jose Ramirez, +1500
J-Ram at +1500 for the AL MVP is far too juicy not to take. As it seems, nearly every year, Jose Ramirez puts up MVP-like numbers with ease. Just see last season, when he posted another year with an OPS north of .850, an xwOBA of .320, and a wRC+ of 139. All of this despite playing with a torn ligament in his thumb.
Ramirez’s numbers should also see an uptick in 2023 thanks to the new MLB rules regarding the shift. With it now gone, Ramirez, who had been snake bitten by the shift in the past, should see a boost in all offensive numbers.
José Ramírez fouled off 234 2-strike pitches during the 2022 regular season and if that sounds like a lot it's because it is. pic.twitter.com/ObYnbWCd4N
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) February 12, 2023
The Cleveland Guardians’ third baseman is no stranger to the award, as he’s been a top-five finisher four times in his career, including a runner-up finish in 2020, to go along with finishing third in MVP voting in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Yes, his playing in Cleveland for one of the cheapest organizations in baseball goes against my usual train of thinking.
However, I still have Cleveland as my winner of the Central and believe they have the potential to make noise overall in the AL. His play will speak for itself and demand the voters’ attention come the end of the season.
Mike Trout, +450
Yes, yes, this one is a little bland/safe. But come on, can you really blame me? Trout has battled the injury bug and will be fighting his teammate Shohei Ohtani for the award.
But let’s remember who Mike Trout is. He’s a god among men.
Last season, despite playing in only 119 games, he dropped 40 bombs, posted an OPS of .999, xwOBA of .395, and a wRC+ of 176.
Mike Trout is slugging .707 (106 total bases in 150 ABs) on low breaking pitches since the start of 2020, best in MLB.
2nd? Corey Dickerson at .530. pic.twitter.com/2GR2nG1NaE
— Inside Edge (@IE_MLB) February 14, 2023
Also, in 2022 Trout had a 19.7% barrel rate, showing that even when not at 100%, he still can rake and offer some of the most power and offensive prowess in baseball.
Fans Graphs projects that Trout should stay in form this season, projecting Trout to post a slash of .272/.384/.586 and a WAR of 6.0. If I am honest, I find this a little low.
Mike Trout is still that guy until I see otherwise. He’s worth throwing a couple of units on. I won’t forget it, and neither should you.
Main photo credits:
Thomas Shea-USA Today Sports
Julio Rodriguez, Teoscar Hernandez, Jose Ramirez, Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani