- The odds of Los Angeles Angels pitcher/outfielder Shohei Ohtani winning the AL MVP have shortened significantly
- Barely a week into the MLB season, his average betting line went from +3300 to +1450
- In six games, he’s batting .300 with two home runs, while posting a 1.93 ERA and seven strikeouts through 4.2 innings pitched
There’s not much that Shohei Ohtani can’t do on a baseball diamond. He throws serious heat from the mound. At the plate, he launches balls into orbit.
Could Ohtani win the 2021 American League MVP Award? The chances of that happening are improving rapidly.
At the April 1st opening of the MLB season, Ohtani was at +3300 in the AL MVP odds. That betting line has since shortened to +1450.
FanDuel is listing Ohtani as short as +1400 to earn AL MVP honors.
2021 AL MVP Odds
|Mike Trout (Angels)||+220|
|Alex Bregman (Astros)||+1200|
|Aaron Judge (Yankees)||+1200|
|Shohei Ohtani (Angels)||+1400|
|Jose Ramirez (Cleveland)||+1t00|
|Anthony Rendon (Angels)||+1800|
|DJ LeMahieu (Yankees)||+2200|
|Matt Chapman (Athletics)||+2500|
|Jose Abreu (White Sox)||+2800|
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr (Blue Jays)||+2500|
|Gleyber Torres (Yankees)||+2900|
|George Springer (Blue Jays)||+3000|
Odds as of April 8th at FanDuel.
Ohtani’s Angels teammate, outfielder Mike Trout, is still the overwhelming +220 favorite to win the AL MVP.
Ohtani a Unique Specimen
The closest thing that baseball has seen to Ohtani was the legendary Bambino, Babe Ruth. But even though Ruth was a dominating pitcher, when was dealt by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees for the 1920 season, he was switched from pitcher/outfielder to full-time outfielder.
— MLB (@MLB) April 5, 2021
Ohtani is doing double duty, and excelling at both. He’s batting .300 and has slugged a pair of homers in six games. He leads the AL in triples (one) and stolen bases (two). His OPS is 1.033. Ohtani also shows a 1.93 ERA and seven strikeouts through 4.2 innings pitched.
On successive days last week, he threw a pitch at 101 mph and hit a home run that left his bat at 115.2 mph. That’s the hardest-hit home run ball in the majors so far this season.
Injuries Always a Factor
Let’s face it, any player can get hurt. However, the chances of a player pulling double duty as a pitcher and an everyday player doing time on the injured list grow exponentially. Pitchers, especially, are prone to serious injury.
Even though the Angels opt to deploy Ohtani exclusively as a designated hitter on his non-pitching days, he’s still frequently found his way into sick bay. The team is opting to be more aggressive with Ohtani this season.
They’re allowing him to bat for himself when he’s pitching. As well, he’s no longer being rested the day before and the day after his starting pitching assignments.
Shohei Ohtani was forced to leave the game after being slid into at home during this fluke play. pic.twitter.com/vMurRAHsgo
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 5, 2021
Ohtani shows a lengthy history of injuries during his MLB days. In 2018, he went on the IL with a Grade 2 UCL sprain in his right elbow. At season’s end, he underwent Tommy John surgery. The 2019 campaign saw Ohtani go back on the IL, in need of season-ending surgery to repair a bipartite patella.
Last season, Ohtani was removed from the team’s pitching rotation after an MRI showed a flexor strain in his right elbow. In his first pitching assignment of the 2021 campaign, Ohtani left the game after being involved in a home-plate collision.
Ohtani a Longshot to Be MVP
Recency bias has much to do with the sudden move in Ohtani’s MVP odds. Early in the season, he’s accomplished some spectacular achievements.
We are really watching something special in Shohei Ohtani 😮 pic.twitter.com/RIGNuByH0L
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 5, 2021
More than any other sport, baseball is a marathon campaign. Historically, Ohtani hasn’t proven capable of staying upright for the entire race. His MVP candidacy seems unlikely to end well.
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