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How will Fernando Tatis Jr.’s return impact the NL MVP odds?

With Fernando Tatis Jr. officially eligible to return to the San Diego Padres from his suspension, we dive into how this news affects the odds for this year’s NL MVP Award.

Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres stands at third base during a spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels on March 24, 2023 at the Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

After 18 months away, Fernando Tatis Jr. is finally set to return to a Major League field when the San Diego Padres take on the Atlanta Braves on Thursday afternoon. A lot has happened since we last saw the star shortstop-turned-outfielder back in 2021 — from Shohei Ohtani announced himself as quite possibly the best player baseball has ever seen to rule changes that have drastically impacted how the sport is played — and so it could be easy to forget just how jaw-dropping a player Tatis Jr. is.

Make no mistake, though: In terms of raw talent, he’s up there with anyone, maybe even Ohtani. He led the NL in homers during that 2021 season while chipping in 25 steals — all in just 130 games. His impact will be felt everywhere, from San Diego to L.A. to every other potential World Series contender — and even in the betting market for the 2023 NL MVP Award. Tatis Jr.’s return has had him rocketing back up the board over the last few days (the fact that he annihilated Triple-A pitching during his Minor League tune-up didn’t hurt) and raises one key question: Is the Padres star a good bet to take home the hardware this year?

let’s take a look at how the odds for the 2023 National League MVP Award at DraftKings Sportsbook have shifted.

Updated NL MVP odds as of April 19th

Ronald Acuna Jr. +300 Trea Turner +650 Juan Soto +800
Matt Olson +900 Fernando Tatis Jr. +1000 Mookie Betts +1000
Nolan Arenado +1000 Pete Alonso +1300 Manny Machado +1500
Austin Riley +1600 Freddie Freeman +1700 Francisco Lindor +1700

How Fernando Tatis Jr.’s return impacts NL MVP race

You could make the argument that Tatis Jr. represents the best value of any name up there. We know the Padres will be competitive enough for him to be playing in significant games, and we know the media attention will be immense. We also know that Tatis Jr. can do just about anything on a baseball field — unlike more one-dimensional sluggers like, say, Pete Alonso or Matt Olson, who’ll have to hit a truly prodigious number of homers to stand out. Juan Soto is currently hitting below the Mendoza line, while Trea Turner has inexplicably attempted just three steals despite everyone else running wild this year.

There are plenty of question marks with the names in front of and around Tatis Jr., and you could argue that none of them can match his upside — even having missed three weeks, the right fielder could put up a 40/40 season with the new pickoff rules. Add to that the fact that he’ll be awfully motivated to remind everyone of what he can do, and we could be in for a season for the ages.