Shohei Fever: At least one sports book has Ohtani as the AL MVP favorite now
A bit of a bettor overreaction? Who cares!?
The biggest and most fun story in baseball right now is Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani. It's only been roughly a week and a half, but due to his exploits on the mound and in the batter's box, it's fair to say he'd win the AL MVP for the first 11 days of the season. In fact, MLB named him the American League player of the week on Monday.
The 23-year-old Ohtani is hitting .389/.421/.889 for the Angels with three homers and seven RBI in 19 plate appearances. In two starts as a pitcher, he is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA, 0.46 WHIP and 18 strikeouts against just two walks in 13 innings. He's already to 0.8 WAR (0.4 as a hitter, 0.4 as a pitcher). It's just been an amazing beginning to his big-league career. I don't think we could have imagined anything better, realistically.
Of course, placing him as the odds-on MVP favorite might be a bit of an overreaction, but that's how it shows with BetDSI online sportsbook. Here is a list of the current betting lines for AL MVP:
Shohei Ohtani +150
Mike Trout +200
Jose Altuve +500
Didi Gregorius +1000
Carlos Correa +1500
Aaron Judge +1800
Francisco Lindor +1900
Giancarlo Stanton +2000
Josh Donaldson +2000
Mookie Betts +2000
Manny Machado +2000
J.D. Martinez +2500
Robinson Cano +3000
Jose Ramirez +3000
Gary Sanchez +3000
George Springer +4000
Field (Any Other Player) +250
By way of reminder, odds aren't predictions but instead a reflection of the betting public, so there's been lots of drooling over Ohtani. With good reason, but it's a long season. I'll stick with Trout while Correa's line looks good. So do those of Ramirez and Sanchez.
If Ohtani has a full season of being very good with the bat and on the mound, he's a good bet. What seems pretty fun to discuss is how much better he could far in MVP voting than Cy Young, because only pitching once a week means he's likely to fall in the ballpark of 150-160 innings and that likely won't cut it for Cy. Have him pitch to a 2.75 ERA while hitting 20-plus homers with a good average and on-base percentage, though, and that's an MVP-caliber player.
It's so fun to discuss and he's already playing well on both sides. That's what makes the best story in baseball.
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