It’s been a painful few days for three of the top NL MVP candidates. Manny Machado suffered an ugly ankle sprain on Sunday, but it seems like he has avoided the worst-case scenario. Bryce Harper has missed the past few games with an infected blister on his left hand. And Mookie Betts was placed on the injured list Sunday due to a cracked rib.
Let’s look at the current NL MVP odds and discuss how these ailments will impact each player’s chances of taking home the hardware.
Paul Goldschmidt: +175
Manny Machado: +450
Pete Alonso: +700
Bryce Harper: +850
Mookie Betts: +950
Ronald Acuna Jr.: +1500
Trea Turner: +2500
Freddie Freeman: +3000
Nolan Arenado: +3500
Francisco Lindor: +3500
Machado has not been placed on the injured list yet as he was reportedly moving around well Monday. The San Diego Padres are hoping he can make a quick return to the lineup. Machado had +3500 odds on Opening Day to win MVP, but he has worked his way up to +450 as he currently leads baseball with 4.3 FanGraphs WAR. He has carried the Padres offense while it has been without Fernando Tatis Jr. Prior to the injury, Machado was listed on DraftKings Sportsbook at +475 to win.
Harper’s MVP odds haven’t really moved since Opening Day (+900). Although he shouldn’t be out much longer, he would need to go on an absolute tear over the second half of the season to give himself a legitimate shot at his third NL MVP award.
You can pretty much write off Betts’ MVP chances. He was phenomenal for about five weeks through the end of May, but he has taken a big step back in June as both he and the Dodgers have slumped. He’s on the IL for an indefinite period of time with an injury that could linger and really affect his swing, so you can all but forget about Betts here.
Lastly, we should mention that Goldschmidt opened the season at +4500 to win NL MVP. He has deservedly taken over the top spot after registering an absurd .376/.446/.695 slash line with 16 homers and 57 RBIs in 55 games since April 22. Goldy leads the Senior Circuit in average (.339). He trails Pete Alonso by three home runs and six RBIs for the league lead in each category, so a Triple Crown isn’t totally out of the question for Goldschmidt.
But Machado is the better defensive player — which is why he leads in WAR — while putting up stellar offensive numbers as well. If Machado’s absence is brief and he returns without missing a beat at the plate and in the field, he looks like a good MVP investment. Voters will certainly give Machado more credit if he can guide San Diego to an NL West title over the Dodgers, something that was considered unthinkable on Opening Day. Goldschmidt’s Cardinals winning their division wouldn’t be nearly as surprising.