With the 2019 baseball season just weeks away, now is a great time to handicap futures and season-long props. Let’s take a closer look at two competitive categories – MVP and Cy Young – and evaluate the options in both leagues.
American League MVP
Mike Trout (+150) is a sizable favourite and it’s not surprising. While the Los Angeles Angels are a mediocre team, Trout has been the best player in baseball for some time. While Mookie Betts (+550) is the reigning MVP, Trout has won two of the last five AL MVP awards.
Speaking of Betts, he is the second choice after posting a monster season with Boston where he led the American League with a .346 batting average. Aaron Judge (+800) of the rival New York Yankees is third in line as he’s grown into one of the best home-run hitters in the game. He clubbed 27 home runs in just 112 games, but if he approaches anywhere near the 52 he hit in 2017 and the Yankees make the playoffs, he’ll challenge for the award.
A parade of Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians are next in line as Alex Bregman (+1300), Jose Ramirez (+1500), Francisco Lindor (+2000), Carlos Correa (+2000) and Jose Altuve (+2500) round out the list of everyone inside of 30/1.
National League MVP
After signing with the Philadelphia Phillies, Bryce Harper (+600) is the favourite. The general thinking is that Harper, now with a new team, will be supremely motivated to play well after a lackluster 2018. He wasn’t the only $300-million dollar man this offseason as Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado (+700) also received a big payday. The Rockies making the playoffs has put Arenado on the national radar and if they compete for a spot again, Arenado will almost certainly be in the mix.
Two other big names that switched teams are among the favourites as Paul Goldschmidt (+1000), who was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, is third in line while Manny Machado (+1600), who signed with the San Diego Padres is fifth. The Cardinals look like they’re much closer to contending, though, which might make it tough for Machado to compete.
American League Cy Young
Corey Kluber (+375) is the early, but narrow, leader. Chris Sale (+450) is right behind him. Sale had the World Series title to cherish from his 2018 season, but some concerns about wear and tear for Sale suggest that Kluber might be the man to take the upper hand in that two-man battle this year. Remember, Sale is just shy of 1,500 career innings and had two stints on the disabled list last season.
Luis Severino (+800) and Blake Snell (+1200) are not far off, but Justin Verlander (+1400) might be offering excellent value. He had 16 wins last season, but had nine losses when he allowed three runs or less. Some better run support could propel him to 20 wins with the Astros.
National League Cy Young
Max Scherzer (+250) leads the way in the NL with Jacob deGrom (+400) and Aaron Nola (+700) rounding out the top three. The interesting aspect of this race is that deGrom – last year’s Cy Young winner – received very little run support from the New York Mets. The Mets are expected to be improved, so that could give his chances at a repeat a big boost.
Meanwhile, Nola, the young Philadelphia Phillie pitcher will be a hot commodity as the Phillies boosted their batting lineup in a big way with Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto. That could help Nola compile a lot of wins in 2019.