We’ve reached the middle of April, which means the dust has started to settle a bit after a hectic opening few weeks — hot starts have cooled off, contenders are starting to emerge and everyone is beginning to get a feel for the new rules that have reshaped the Majors. All of which makes this a good time to check in on the 2023 AL MVP race: Who’s looking like the favorite? Who’s risen the fastest? Who might be a dark horse?
Let’s dig into the latest odds over at DraftKings Sportsbook and see how things have changed since the beginning of the month.
Updated AL MVP odds as of April 17th
Shohei Ohtani +120 Aaron Judge +700 Mike Trout +750
Yordan Alvarez +1100 Adley Rutschman +1100 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. +1200
Rafael Devers +1800 Wander Franco +1800 Julio Rodriguez +1800
Jose Ramirez +2200 Kyle Tucker +3000 Bo Bichette +3000
AL MVP race: Takeaways and best bets
Early-season injuries have knocked Corey Seager and Byron Buxton down the list compared to opening weekend, while Julio Rodriguez’s odds have fallen from +800 to +1800 amid a slow start. The AL East trio of Adley Rutschman, Wander Franco and Bo Bichette have continued to rise with fast starts on contending teams.
Really, though, the headliner here is Ohtani, who’s tightened his grip on this award even more — with odds down to +120 from +170. It’s not hard to see why: He’s looked like a top-10 hitter (.883 OPS) and pitcher (0.47 ERA through three starts) in baseball, all in one unprecedented package. If he keeps playing like this over a full season — and if the Los Angeles Angels finally contend for a postseason spot — it will probably take another historic season to deny him his second MVP trophy. But let’s speculate anyway; who might be able to put up the numbers (and the narrative) to knock Ohtani off his perch?
Best bet: Wander Franco, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
Sure, Tampa finally saw its undefeated start come to an end with two losses in Toronto this weekend. But this is still a team on a historic pace and playing historically dominant baseball — with Franco at the tip of the spear. His introduction to MLB was derailed a bit with injuries in each of his first two seasons, but this was a player once thought of as a generational prospect, a switch-hitting shortstop with the rare power/speed potential to post a 40/40 season.
Finally fully healthy, he’s making good on that promise so far, with four homers and three steals to go with a .987 OPS atop the Rays’ fearsome lineup. If Franco does go 30/30 or 40/40, and Tampa makes a run at 110+ plus wins, that could be enough to threaten Ohtani — which makes Franco a good value at +1800.