AL/NL MVP odds update: Buxton, Lindor heating up in MLB's 1st month
Just under three weeks into this MLB season, we're already seeing some strong contenders in the MVP market for both leagues. While some early favorites have stumbled out of the gate, it's not too late to right the ship with 145-plus games to go.
Here are the odds to win MVP in each league at Barstool Sportsbook, along with some early stars and slow starters to keep an eye on:
|Shohei Ohtani||+265||Juan Soto||+400|
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr||+325||Ronald Acuna Jr.||+750|
|Mike Trout||+850||Bryce Harper||+1200|
|Luis Robert||+1100||Francisco Lindor||+1200|
|Byron Buxton||+1200||Trea Turner||+1400|
|Jose Ramirez||+1500||Nolan Arenado||+1500|
|Rafael Devers||+2000||Freddie Freeman||+1500|
|Wander Franco||+2000||Mookie Betts||+2000|
|Aaron Judge||+2200||Matt Olson||+2000|
|Yordan Alvarez||+3000||Manny Machado||+2500|
|Bo Bichette||+4000||Austin Riley||+2500|
|Jose Abreu||+4000||Fernando Tatis Jr.||+2800|
|Kyle Tucker||+4000||Pete Alonso||+3000|
|Tim Anderson||+5000||Ozzie Albies||+3500|
|Xander Bogaerts||+5000||Christian Yelich||+3500|
|Carlos Correa||+5000||Tyler O'Neill||+4000|
|Brandon Lowe||+5000||Nick Castellanos||+4500|
|Alex Bregman||+5500||Max Muncy||+5000|
|Corey Seager||+5500||Cody Bellinger||+6000|
|Jose Altuve||+6000||Paul Goldschmidt||+6000|
|Marcus Semien||+6000||Willy Adames||+6000|
|Salvador Perez||+6000||Marcell Ozuna||+6500|
|Trevor Story||+6000||Rhys Hoskins||+7500|
|George Springer||+6500||Starling Marte||+7500|
|Giancarlo Stanton||+6500||J.T. Realmuto||+7500|
|Eloy Jimenez||+7500||Kris Bryant||+8000|
|Mitch Haniger||+7500||Joey Votto||+8000|
|Anthony Rendon||+8000||Brandon Crawford||+8000|
|Randy Arozarena||+8500||Ian Happ||+8000|
|Javier Baez||+10000||Kyle Schwarber||+9000|
|J.D. Martinez||+10000||Charlie Blackmon||+10000|
|Austin Meadows||+10000||Joc Pederson||+10000|
|Michael Brantley||+15000||Brandon Belt||+10000|
|Josh Donaldson||+15000||Jazz Chisholm||+10000|
|Joey Gallo||+15000||Jake Cronenworth||+10000|
|Yasmani Grandal||+15000||Jonathan India||+10000|
|Yoan Moncada||+15000||Bryan Reynolds||+12000|
|Trey Mancini||+15000||Justin Turner||+12000|
|Matt Chapman||+20000||Frank Schwindel||+12000|
|Max Kepler||+20000||Josh Bell||+15000|
|Jeimer Candelario||+20000||Ketel Marte||+15000|
|DJ LeMahieu||+25000||Paul DeJong||+20000|
Byron Buxton (+1200)
Who's had a hotter start to the season than Buxton? A brief injury scare has done little to halt the Twins slugger's MVP case. His two-home run performance Sunday against the White Sox culminated in a three-run, 469-foot blast in the 10th inning - the longest walk-off home run in the Statcast era.
It was yet another "wow" moment for the ultra-talented Buxton, who boasts a 1.361 OPS and somehow leads the AL in fWAR (1.3) and home runs (six) despite playing the fewest games of anyone in the top 15 of either stat. He looked like an MVP front-runner before injuries cut his 2021 campaign short, and that's clearly a concern again. If it weren't, it's hard to imagine getting him even at this short price.
Francisco Lindor (+1200)
After a rocky first season in New York, Lindor looks like a different player in his second year with the Mets, batting .313 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in just 17 games. By comparison, he finished with 20 homers and 63 RBIs in all of 2021, when he hit .230 and played in just 125 games.
Oddsmakers have certainly taken notice, slashing Lindor's price to a tie for third place with reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper. While the four-time MVP finalist may see his power regress over the course of the season - he's currently posting a career-high home-run rate (5.3%) and career-low hard-hit rate (33.3%) - his approach at the plate should spell strong returns.
Nolan Arenado (+1500)
While the first two players on this list have grabbed most of the headlines, it's Arenado who leads the majors in fWAR (1.5) by a healthy margin and paces the NL in slugging percentage (.727) and total bases (40) through 14 games. Elite defense at the hot corner bolsters those numbers, as the perennial Gold Glove winner ranks third in the NL in FanGraphs' defense rating (2.5).
His stellar play in the field and at the plate is a key reason why the Cardinals (9-5) have started hot and lead the NL Central. Arenado has been a bit fortunate avoiding grounders through the first few weeks, but the power seems legit and could propel him to a dark-horse MVP run.
Mookie Betts (+2000)
While Dodgers teammates Trea Turner (+1400) and Freddie Freeman (+1500) continue to make their case as legitimate MVP candidates, Betts has done the opposite. The 2018 MVP winner is hitting just .196 entering Monday. He has a below-average OPS (.668) and a whopping four extra-base hits through 14 games.
It doesn't help that he's striking out nearly a quarter of his plate appearances, even as his walk rate (14.9%) hits a career high. He isn't hitting the ball hard when he does make contact, an issue that stems back to the hip injury that hindered him last season. Whatever the cause, this simply doesn't look like the year for Betts.
Kyle Tucker (+4000)
A trendy pick to win AL MVP this year - including by yours truly - Tucker has struggled to get anything going in 2022, evidenced by a paltry .127 batting average and a shocking .449 OPS in his first 15 games. This comes after the young Astros star boasted a .917 OPS with 30 homers just one season ago.
This feels like a classic case of bad luck in a small sample size. Tucker's expected batting average (.278) and expected slugging percentage (.585) not only far surpass his actual numbers, but also rank in the top 30 in the NL. That's saying a lot for a player whose basic metrics are among the worst in baseball. If Lady Luck starts to sing a different tune for Tucker, he'll be in the MVP mix before long.