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Preseason favorites to win AL and NL MVP

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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.
 

You may also like: Preseason favorites to win AL and NL Cy Young

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Elsa // Getty

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Andy Lyons // Getty

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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