With just under a month to go in the regular season, the playoff push is tight and going to be very entertaining to watch. But as standings can change drastically in September, so can the favorites for baseball’s awards. Let’s take a look at the current favorites for Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and MVP based on current betting odds via VegasInsider.
Rookie of the Year
AL – Randy Arozarena (-130)
A popular pick before the season, Randy Arozarena has turned in a solid season. He has followed up his other-wordly 2020 postseason performance with a campaign that has him hitting .276 with 19 homeruns and an .824 OPS in 122 games thus far. Some might view this season as a bit of a let down coming off his 2020 postseason that saw him hit .377 with 10 homeruns and an OPS of 1.273 in only 20 games. Even if you extrapolate just the homeruns over the course of the regular season, that’d be 81 homeruns. Needless to say, it was unfair to expect him to continue his godly numbers over the course of a full season, but that doesn’t mean his current season is a disappointment. I think he’s a safe bet for AL Rookie of the Year.
Contenders – Adolis Garcia (+350), Wander Franco (+450)
Garcia has shown some serious pop this year en route to a solid season of his own. He still trails Arozarena in Batting Average and OPS, but has him in homeruns and RBIs. Arozarena is also a better defender. Wander Franco has been sensational. In just 62 games, he has already put up a 3.0 WAR. I think the sample size of games will hurt any chance, but had he started the year at the major league level, this award would’ve been his.
Prediction – Arozarena wins
NL – Jonathan India (-900)
This one is a no-brainer. India has basically been the best rookie in the National League all season long. He’s played in 131 of 143 games for the Reds and is at a 3.5 WAR with 19 homeruns and a .842 OPS. India epitomizes the rookie of the year award as more often than not, someone comes out of nowhere to win it. -900 does surprise me considering India isn’t necessarily putting up MVP level numbers, but it does give a nod to just how consistent he’s been all season long.
Contenders – Trevor Rogers (+750)
Rogers has been solid himself this season, but I think the voters will prefer India’s consistency and larger sample size. Rogers has nothing to feel bad about as he has 7 wins and a 2.73 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP in 22 starts this year for the Marlins.
Prediction – India wins easily
AL – Gerrit Cole (-120)
It is still crazy to me that Gerrit Cole has never won a Cy Young. Well, this might finally be his year. Cole has the benefit of pitching in New York, as the Yankees are trying to secure one of the AL Wild Card spots. Voters will take this into account when casting their pick for the award. Cole himself has turned in yet another high level season with a current 2.78 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 158.2 innings. He did leave his last start early with hamstring tightness, but it does not seem serious. His previous start was pure dominance as he went 7 innings of 1 run ball, 4 hits, no walks and 15 strikeouts. If he does that one or two more times, we will finally get to refer to him as a Cy Young award winner. However, he does have some competition breathing down his neck…
Contenders – Robbie Ray (+135), Lance Lynn (+270)
Both Ray and Lynn are legitimate contenders. Ray had an uphill battle about a week or two ago with the Blue Jays being 5+ games out of a Wild Card spot, but after a sweep of the division rival Yankees, now they find themselves tied for the second wild card spot. Making the playoffs isn’t the end all, be all in terms of Cy Young votes, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Ray has a 6.5 WAR featuring a 2.69 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP in 170 innings. Lynn on the other hand has his case hindered by his workload. He only sits at 135.2 innings, but does support a 2.59 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. I think he only stands a chance if Cole/Ray struggle down the stretch.
Prediction – Cole’s track record and resume narrowly edge out Ray for the award.
NL – Walker Buehler (+140)
This is probably the best race to watch down the stretch. Buehler is the favorite here, but he’s not exactly a heavy favorite. There are three legitimate arguments for this award, but the first is Buehler. Everyone has been calling for the Buehler breakout for the past couple years, and we finally got it. So far, he’s pitched 179 innings and has a 2.31 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. It’s safe to say the torch has been passed from Clayton Kershaw to Walker Buehler for the Dodgers, but now it’s a matter of if Buehler collects the same hardware Kershaw did in his prime. Normally this type of season would make him a near lock, but not when you have competition from other NL Contenders, not to mention on your own team…
Contenders – Corbin Burnes (+250), Max Scherzer (+250)
Two very fascinating cases here with Burnes and Scherzer. The expectations were higher for Buehler, and he’s definitely met them, but Burnes has had a rapid ascension to a top tier Starting Pitcher and has definitely exceeded expectations. His most recent start he was pulled after 8 innings of no-hit baseball (Josh Hader completed the no-hitter for the Brewers). Burnes has a 2.38 ERA with a 0.96 ERA. He only has 144 innings to Buehler’s 179, and 9 wins to Buehler’s 13, but he absolutely deserves consideration. If Buehler has another start like he did against the Giants, then Burnes could easily become the favorite. Scherzer is another story. As we know, he was traded mid-season, but he remained in the National League. His combined stats for both teams, he has 13 wins with a 2.28 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. Since joining the Dodgers, he’s gone 5-0 in 7 starts with a 1.05 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP and firmly cemented himself as one of the best trade deadline acquisitions of all time, especially if he helps the Dodgers win another World Series. Scherzer has an uphill battle in pursuit of another Cy Young, as only one player in MLB history has won the Cy Young after being traded midseason, but nobody would argue if Scherzer became the second.
Prediction – I would love to see Max win, but I don’t see him syphoning enough votes from his new teammate Walker Buehler. I think Buehler gets the award.
AL – Shohei Ohtani (-5000)
I’m just going to use this opportunity to take my victory lap as I picked Shohei Ohtani to win MVP prior to the season even starting. What he’s been able to do has been nothing short of once in a lifetime, and that is not an exaggeration. I think the -5000 MVP odds support that claim. Ohtani leads the league in homeruns and has a 3.36 ERA in 115 innings as well. What he’s been able to do has never been done before and may not ever be done again, even by him. It’s a shame that the Angels will waste two generational talents, but at least Ohtani is getting the recognition he deserves.
Runner-Up – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (+1400)
In any other year, we’d be talking about how Vlad Jr. was a lock for MVP. Ohtani’s phenomenon have really over-shadowed Vlad’s performance, but he deserves his props too. He is hitting .318 with 42 homeruns and 100 RBIs with an OPS of 1.011. Ohtani’s season will go down as one of the best MVP seasons of all time, but Vlad Jr.’s season will go down as one of the greatest non-MVP seasons of all time.
Prediction – Please see our preseason awards predictions where I picked Ohtani, and then congratulate me for being right.
NL – Fernando Tatis Jr. (-280)
Tatis is coming into his own as the face of baseball. The flash, the swagger, the insane contract and the great season to top it off have Tatis primed to make the Padres look smart for giving a record breaking contract to a player with less than a season’s worth of games played in his career at that point. Tatis has been banged up several times this year which could definitely play a factor if he hits the IL again before the season is up, but even with only 108 games played, he has 37 homeruns and an OPS of .994. Upon returning from his most recent IL stint, the Padres moved him from Shortstop to Right Field, which might be one of the best decisions in organizational history if it finally keeps his shoulder healthy. If he can propel the Padres to a playoff spot, the award will be his.
Contenders – Bryce Harper (+500)
A late surge has Harper vying for his second MVP award. He currently leads the league in OPS with 1.020 and OPS+ with 176. The Phillies mediocrity may hold him back, but Harper has definitely made this a conversation. One of the most polarizing players in the game, you can’t help but tip your cap to what Harper has been able to do with the Phillies team and organization collapsing around him. I think the Phillies really need to go on a September run with Harper leading the charge, which may inevitably be too tall a task.
Prediction – Playing Right Field saves Tatis’ season and MVP hopes as he earns his first MVP award.