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Preseason favorites to win AL and NL MVP

Preseason favorites for AL and NL MVP
1/Sean M. Haffey // Getty

Preseason favorites for AL and NL MVP

Major League Baseball sits alone as the only Big 4 professional American sport to crown two most valuable players: one in the National League, and one in the American League. Last season, a .346 average, 1.078 OPS, and 10.9 WAR were more than enough for Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox, who received all but two first-place votes to take home the AL hardware. Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers received all but one first-place vote with a .326 average and an MLB-leading 187 hits.

The 2018 voters clearly voiced which players they felt provided the most value in their respective leagues. In baseball, though, value can be a fickle and difficult thing to patently define. A starting pitcher takes the mound only once every five days (on average), but his contributions in those appearances can be absolutely crucial to a game’s outcome. There is a separate award for pitching (the Cy Young Award) and sometimes—like Clayton Kershaw in 2014 and Justin Verlander in 2011—a starting pitcher can win both the MVP and the Cy Young.

And then enters the concept of the designated hitter, which is only featured in an AL lineup. How valuable is someone who doesn’t contribute on defense? A “primary” DH has never won MVP in either league, despite a compelling case for J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox last season.

Largely ambiguous criteria leave MVP voters with inherent biases making decisions that are largely subjective. What will 2019 have in store? Might we have a repeat winner for the first time since Miguel Cabrera in 2012–13, or will someone new emerge like a Betts or Yelich who were both first-time winners? Are Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Bryce Harper of the Phillies, both recipients of unprecedented offseason contracts, the favorites in their respective leagues?

To determine which players in each league have the best odds of earning the highly coveted MVP award, Stacker looked at odds by Bovada and stats from Baseball Reference, with data last updated March 14, 2019. Players are ranked in order from lowest to highest by betting odds, with ties broken by 2018 batting averages. Read on to see how your pick fares.
 

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AL #25: Randal Grichuk
2/Julio Aguilar // Getty

AL #25: Randal Grichuk

- MVP odds: +6600
- Team: Toronto Blue Jays

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 424
--- Batting average: 0.245
--- On base percentage: 0.301
--- Runs: 60
--- Home runs: 25
--- RBIs: 61
--- Stolen bases: 3

AL #24: Joey Gallo
3/Denis Poroy // Getty

AL #24: Joey Gallo

- MVP odds: +6000
- Team: Texas Rangers

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 500
--- Batting average: 0.206
--- On base percentage: 0.312
--- Runs: 82
--- Home runs: 40
--- RBIs: 92
--- Stolen bases: 3

AL #23: Nelson Cruz
4/Elsa // Getty

AL #23: Nelson Cruz

- MVP odds: +6000
- Team: Minnesota Twins

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 519
--- Batting average: 0.256
--- On base percentage: 0.342
--- Runs: 70
--- RBIs: 97
--- Stolen bases: 1

AL #22: Gleyber Torres
5/Elsa // Getty

AL #22: Gleyber Torres

- MVP odds: +6000
- Team: New York Yankees

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 431
--- Batting average: 0.271
--- On base percentage: 0.340
--- Runs: 54
--- Home runs: 24
--- RBIs: 77
--- Stolen bases: 6

AL #21: Xander Bogaerts
6/Kevork Djansezian // Getty

AL #21: Xander Bogaerts

- MVP odds: +5500
- Team: Boston Red Sox

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 513
--- Batting average: 0.288
--- On base percentage: 0.360
--- Runs: 72
--- Home runs: 23
--- RBIs: 103
--- Stolen bases: 8

AL #20: Gary Sanchez
7/Elsa // Getty

AL #20: Gary Sanchez

- MVP odds: +5000
- Team: New York Yankees

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 323
--- Batting average: 0.186
--- On base percentage: 0.291
--- Runs: 51
--- Home runs: 18
--- RBIs: 53
--- Stolen bases: 1

AL #19: Matt Olson
8/Masterpress // Getty

AL #19: Matt Olson

- MVP odds: +5000
- Team: Oakland Athletics

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 580
--- Batting average: 0.247
--- On base percentage: 0.335
--- Runs: 85
--- Home runs: 29
--- RBIs: 84
--- Stolen bases: 2

AL #18: Nomar Mazara
9/Ezra Shaw // Getty

AL #18: Nomar Mazara

- MVP odds: +5000
- Team: Texas Rangers

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 489
--- Batting average: 0.258
--- On base percentage: 0.317
--- Runs: 61
--- Home runs: 20
--- RBIs: 77
--- Stolen bases: 1

AL #17: Jose Abreu
10/Jon Durr // Getty

AL #17: Jose Abreu

- MVP odds: +5000
- Team: Chicago White Sox

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 499
--- Batting average: 0.265
--- On base percentage: 0.325
--- Runs: 68
--- Home runs: 22
--- RBIs: 78
--- Stolen bases: 2

AL #16: Eddie Rosario
11/Dylan Buell // Getty

AL #16: Eddie Rosario

- MVP odds: +5000
- Team: Minnesota Twins

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 559
--- Batting average: 0.288
--- On base percentage: 0.323
--- Runs: 87
--- Home runs: 24
--- RBIs: 77
--- Stolen bases: 8

AL #15: Nick Castellanos
12/Hannah Foslien // Getty

AL #15: Nick Castellanos

- MVP odds: +5000
- Team: Detroit Tigers

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 620
--- Batting average: 0.298
--- On base percentage: 0.354
--- Runs: 88
--- Home runs: 23
--- RBIs: 89
--- Stolen bases: 2

AL #14: George Springer
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AL #14: George Springer

- MVP odds: +4500
- Team: Houston Astros

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 544
--- Batting average: 0.265
--- On base percentage: 0.346
--- Runs: 102
--- Home runs: 22
--- RBIs: 71
--- Stolen bases: 6

AL #13: Andrew Benintendi
14/Elsa // Getty

AL #13: Andrew Benintendi

- MVP odds: +4500
- Team: Boston Red Sox

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 579
--- Batting average: 0.290
--- On base percentage: 0.366
--- Runs: 103
--- Home runs: 16
--- RBIs: 87
--- Stolen bases: 21

AL #12: Khris Davis
15/KAZUHIRO NOGI // Getty

AL #12: Khris Davis

- MVP odds: +4000
- Team: Oakland Athletics

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 576
--- Batting average: 0.247
--- On base percentage: 0.326
--- Runs: 98
--- Home runs: 48
--- RBIs: 123
--- Stolen bases: 0

AL #11: Matt Chapman
16/Masterpress // Getty

AL #11: Matt Chapman

- MVP odds: +4000
- Team: Oakland Athletics

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 547
--- Batting average: 0.278
--- On base percentage: 0.356
--- Runs: 100
--- Home runs: 24
--- RBIs: 68
--- Stolen bases: 1

AL #10: J.D. Martinez
17/Jeff Gross // Getty

AL #10: J.D. Martinez

- MVP odds: +3000
- Team: Boston Red Sox

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 569
--- Batting average: 0.330
--- On base percentage: 0.402
--- Runs: 111
--- Home runs: 43
--- RBIs: 130
--- Stolen bases: 6

AL #9: Giancarlo Stanton
18/Mike Stobe // Getty

AL #9: Giancarlo Stanton

- MVP odds: +2500
- Team: New York Yankees

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 617
--- Batting average: 0.266
--- On base percentage: 0.343
--- Runs: 102
--- Home runs: 38
--- RBIs: 100
--- Stolen bases: 5

AL #8: Jose Altuve
19/Bob Levey // Getty

AL #8: Jose Altuve

- MVP odds: +2500
- Team: Houston Astros

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 534
--- Batting average: 0.316
--- On base percentage: 0.386
--- Runs: 84
--- Home runs: 13
--- RBIs: 61
--- Stolen bases: 17

AL #7: Francisco Lindor
20/Bob Levey // Getty

AL #7: Francisco Lindor

- MVP odds: +2000
- Team: Cleveland Indians

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 661
--- Batting average: 0.277
--- On base percentage: 0.352
--- Runs: 129
--- Home runs: 38
--- RBIs: 92
--- Stolen bases: 25

AL #6: Carlos Correa
21/Elsa // Getty

AL #6: Carlos Correa

- MVP odds: +1800
- Team: Houston Astros

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 402
--- Batting average: 0.239
--- On base percentage: 0.323
--- Runs: 60
--- Home runs: 15
--- RBIs: 65
--- Stolen bases: 3

AL #5: Jose Ramirez
22/Tim Warner // Getty

AL #5: Jose Ramirez

- MVP odds: +1500
- Team: Cleveland Indians

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 578
--- Batting average: 0.270
--- On base percentage: 0.387
--- Runs: 110
--- Home runs: 39
--- RBIs: 105
--- Stolen bases: 34

AL #4: Alex Bregman
23/Elsa // Getty

AL #4: Alex Bregman

- MVP odds: +1400
- Team: Houston Astros

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 594
--- Batting average: 0.286
--- On base percentage: 0.394
--- Runs: 105
--- Home runs: 31
--- RBIs: 103
--- Stolen bases: 10

AL #3: Aaron Judge
24/Tim Bradbury // Getty

AL #3: Aaron Judge

- MVP odds: +700
- Team: New York Yankees

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 413
--- Batting average: 0.278
--- On base percentage: 0.392
--- Runs: 77
--- Home runs: 27
--- RBIs: 67
--- Stolen bases: 6

AL #2: Mookie Betts
25/Harry How // Getty

AL #2: Mookie Betts

- MVP odds: +550
- Team: Boston Red Sox

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 520
--- Batting average: 0.346
--- On base percentage: 0.438
--- Runs: 129
--- Home runs: 32
--- RBIs: 80
--- Stolen bases: 30

AL #1: Mike Trout
26/Ezra Shaw // Getty

AL #1: Mike Trout

- MVP odds: +150
- Team: Los Angeles Angels

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 471
--- Batting average: 0.312
--- On base percentage: 0.460
--- Runs: 101
--- Home runs: 39
--- RBIs: 79
--- Stolen bases: 24

NL #25: Yasiel Puig
27/Rob Tringali // Getty

NL #25: Yasiel Puig

- MVP odds: +4000
- Team: Cincinnati Reds

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 405
--- Batting average: 0.267
--- On base percentage: 0.327
--- Runs: 60
--- Home runs: 23
--- RBIs: 63
--- Stolen bases: 15

NL #24: Jesus Aguilar
28/Stacy Revere // Getty

NL #24: Jesus Aguilar

- MVP odds: +4000
- Team: Milwaukee Brewers

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 492
--- Batting average: 0.274
--- On base percentage: 0.352
--- Runs: 80
--- Home runs: 35
--- RBIs: 108
--- Stolen bases: 0

NL #23: J.T. Realmuto
29/Mark Brown // Getty

NL #23: J.T. Realmuto

- MVP odds: +4000
- Team: Philadelphia Phillies

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 477
--- Batting average: 0.277
--- On base percentage: 0.340
--- Runs: 74
--- Home runs: 21
--- RBIs: 74
--- Stolen bases: 3

NL #22: Marcell Ozuna
30/Dilip Vishwanat // Getty

NL #22: Marcell Ozuna

- MVP odds: +4000
- Team: St. Louis Cardinals

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 582
--- Batting average: 0.280
--- On base percentage: 0.325
--- Runs: 69
--- Home runs: 23
--- RBIs: 88
--- Stolen bases: 3

NL #21: Charlie Blackmon
31/Dustin Bradford // Getty

NL #21: Charlie Blackmon

- MVP odds: +4000
- Team: Colorado Rockies

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 626
--- Batting average: 0.291
--- On base percentage: 0.358
--- Runs: 119
--- Home runs: 29
--- RBIs: 70
--- Stolen bases: 12

NL #20: Robinson Cano
32/Michael Reaves // Getty

NL #20: Robinson Cano

- MVP odds: +4000
- Team: New York Mets

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 310
--- Batting average: 0.303
--- On base percentage: 0.374
--- Runs: 44
--- Home runs: 10
--- RBIs: 50
--- Stolen bases: 0

NL #19: Joey Votto
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NL #19: Joey Votto

- MVP odds: +3000
- Team: Cincinnati Reds

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 503
--- Batting average: 0.284
--- On base percentage: 0.417
--- Runs: 67
--- Home runs: 12
--- RBIs: 67
--- Stolen bases: 2

NL #18: Juan Soto
34/Kiyoshi Ota // Getty

NL #18: Juan Soto

- MVP odds: +3000
- Team: Washington Nationals

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 414
--- Batting average: 0.292
--- On base percentage: 0.406
--- Runs: 77
--- Home runs: 22
--- RBIs: 70
--- Stolen bases: 5

NL #17: Justin Turner
35/Sean M. Haffey // Getty

NL #17: Justin Turner

- MVP odds: +3000
- Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 365
--- Batting average: 0.312
--- On base percentage: 0.406
--- Runs: 62
--- Home runs: 14
--- RBIs: 52
--- Stolen bases: 2

NL #16: Cody Bellinger
36/Kevork Djansezian // Getty

NL #16: Cody Bellinger

- MVP odds: +2500
- Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 557
--- Batting average: 0.260
--- On base percentage: 0.343
--- Runs: 84
--- Home runs: 25
--- RBIs: 76
--- Stolen bases: 14

NL #15: Corey Seager
37/Thearon W. Henderson // Getty

NL #15: Corey Seager

- MVP odds: +2500
- Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 101
--- Batting average: 0.267
--- On base percentage: 0.348
--- Runs: 13
--- Home runs: 2
--- RBIs: 13
--- Stolen bases: 0

NL #14: Anthony Rizzo
38/Jonathan Daniel // Getty

NL #14: Anthony Rizzo

- MVP odds: +2500
- Team: Chicago Cubs

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 566
--- Batting average: 0.283
--- On base percentage: 0.376
--- Runs: 74
--- Home runs: 25
--- RBIs: 101
--- Stolen bases: 6

NL #13: Trevor Story
39/Justin Edmonds // Getty

NL #13: Trevor Story

- MVP odds: +2500
- Team: Colorado Rockies

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 598
--- Batting average: 0.291
--- On base percentage: 0.348
--- Runs: 88
--- Home runs: 37
--- RBIs: 108
--- Stolen bases: 27

NL #12: Anthony Rendon
40/Scott Taetsch // Getty

NL #12: Anthony Rendon

- MVP odds: +2500
- Team: Washington Nationals

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 529
--- Batting average: 0.308
--- On base percentage: 0.374
--- Runs: 88
--- Home runs: 24
--- RBIs: 92
--- Stolen bases: 2

NL #11: Rhys Hoskins
41/Kiyoshi Ota // Getty

NL #11: Rhys Hoskins

- MVP odds: +2000
- Team: Philadelphia Phillies

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 558
--- Batting average: 0.246
--- On base percentage: 0.354
--- Runs: 89
--- Home runs: 34
--- RBIs: 96
--- Stolen bases: 5

NL #10: Eugenio Suarez
42/Kiyoshi Ota // Getty

NL #10: Eugenio Suarez

- MVP odds: +2000
- Team: Cincinnati Reds

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 527
--- Batting average: 0.283
--- On base percentage: 0.366
--- Runs: 79
--- Home runs: 34
--- RBIs: 104
--- Stolen bases: 1

NL #9: Javier Baez
43/Andrew Weber // Getty

NL #9: Javier Baez

- MVP odds: +2000
- Team: Chicago Cubs

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 606
--- Batting average: 0.290
--- On base percentage: 0.326
--- Runs: 101
--- Home runs: 34
--- RBIs: 111
--- Stolen bases: 21

NL #8: Ronald Acuna Jr.
44/Michael Reaves // Getty

NL #8: Ronald Acuna Jr.

- MVP odds: +2000
- Team: Atlanta Braves

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 433
--- Batting average: 0.293
--- On base percentage: 0.366
--- Runs: 78
--- Home runs: 26
--- RBIs: 64
--- Stolen bases: 16

NL #7: Freddie Freeman
45/Daniel Shirey // Getty

NL #7: Freddie Freeman

- MVP odds: +2000
- Team: Atlanta Braves

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 618
--- Batting average: 0.309
--- On base percentage: 0.388
--- Runs: 94
--- Home runs: 23
--- RBIs: 98
--- Stolen bases: 10

NL #6: Manny Machado
46/Ralph Freso // Getty

NL #6: Manny Machado

- MVP odds: +1600
- Team: San Diego Padres

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 632
--- Batting average: 0.297
--- On base percentage: 0.367
--- Runs: 84
--- Home runs: 37
--- RBIs: 107
--- Stolen bases: 14

NL #5: Christian Yelich
47/Stacy Revere // Getty

NL #5: Christian Yelich

- MVP odds: +1600
- Team: Milwaukee Brewers

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 574
--- Batting average: 0.326
--- On base percentage: 0.402
--- Runs: 118
--- Home runs: 36
--- RBIs: 110
--- Stolen bases: 22

NL #4: Paul Goldschmidt
48/Rob Carr // Getty

NL #4: Paul Goldschmidt

- MVP odds: +1200
- Team: St. Louis Cardinals

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 593
--- Batting average: 0.290
--- On base percentage: 0.389
--- Runs: 95
--- Home runs: 33
--- RBIs: 83
--- Stolen bases: 7

NL #3: Kris Bryant
49/Christian Petersen // Getty

NL #3: Kris Bryant

- MVP odds: +1000
- Team: Chicago Cubs

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 389
--- Batting average: 0.272
--- On base percentage: 0.374
--- Runs: 59
--- Home runs: 13
--- RBIs: 52
--- Stolen bases: 2

NL #2: Nolan Arenado
50/Jennifer Stewart // Getty

NL #2: Nolan Arenado

- MVP odds: +800
- Team: Colorado Rockies

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 590
--- Batting average: 0.297
--- On base percentage: 0.374
--- Runs: 104
--- Home runs: 38
--- RBIs: 110
--- Stolen bases: 2

NL #1: Bryce Harper
51/Mike Ehrmann // Getty

NL #1: Bryce Harper

- MVP odds: +600
- Team: Philadelphia Phillies

- 2018 season stats:
--- At bats: 550
--- Batting average: 0.249
--- On base percentage: 0.393
--- Runs: 103
--- Home runs: 34
--- RBIs: 100
--- Stolen bases: 13

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