The MLB’s Most Valuable Player Award Races Are Narrowing

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Suppose you have a son or a daughter and they follow in your footsteps to do your same line of work. Suppose they find success. You’d be proud, right? But now imagine you’re one of the best people to ever do your job, and you watch as your child starts to become a superstar in your shared profession.

That’s how Vladimir Guerrero feels. The former slugger and Hall of Fame outfielder is still a relatively spry fella at 46 years of age. He can walk down a busy street and get attention because he batted .318 and hit 449 home runs in his career, which ended a decade ago. But Vlad now spends most of his time watching Vlad Guerrero Jr. hit a baseball, and it’s fun. So much fun.

As of Tuesday, Vlad Jr. is leading the American League in home runs, RBIs, slugging, on-base percentage, and OPS. He’s also leading the loop in hits, which goes to show you that some writers still use the word “loop.”

This week, most teams will hit the 81-game mark, which signals the halfway point of the MLB season. It’s time to take a serious look at the races for the two MVP awards.

It’s Either Vlad Jr. Or Babe Ruth Jr. In The American League

There are three rules you should know in regards to the Most Valuable Player race in the American League in 2021:

  1. Sportswriters are the voters.
  2. Sportswriters love RBIs and home runs. Love them like Miley Cyrus loves tattoos.
  3. If you can pitch and hit home runs, people will dig you too.

It’s a two-man race in the AL between Vlad Sr.’s kid and Shohei Ohtani, who is basically the modern Babe Ruth. You know, The Great Bambinoooooo.

Here’s something amazing: Ohtani ranks in the top ten in both Wins Above Replacement for position players and Wins Above Replacement for pitchers. No player has done that, not even Babe Ruth, since the days of Grover Cleveland in the White House.

FanDuel Sportsbook

  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. … +100
  • Shohei Ohtani …  +110

PointsBet

  • Shohei Ohtani …  +110
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. … +110

One Of These Three Players Will Win The NL MVP Award

The NL MVP race is a little more crowded, and it brings a pitcher into the mix. You may not think a pitcher should be MVP. You may think pitchers have the Cy Young Award, and they should be content with that. You may think pitchers don’t play enough innings and games to be in the MVP mix. And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife…and you may ask yourself…

Ah, but the Talking Head behind this column says the field is down to just three: Jacob deGrom of the Mets, Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres, and Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves. (It seems to help your MVP credentials to be the son of a former ballplayer, eh Junior?)

Here are the current MVP futures odds for the NL Most Valuable Player Award:

FanDuel

  • Jacob deGrom … +125
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. …  +175
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. … +380

PointsBet

  • Jacob deGrom … +120
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. …  +170
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. … +345

I have a feeling that the voters are going to give this award to deGrom as long as he stays healthy, makes his starts, and keeps his ERA at historic low levels. Remember, with ERA low is good, like the limbo, cholesterol, and the minutes of Carpool Karaoke you have to sit through.

How much interest is deGrom garnering with his microscopic ERA this season? Consider this graph from Google Trends, which shows the interest on Google in the three NL MVP candidates over the last 30 days:

It feels like a year when the pitching numbers will just be too much for even the two “Juniors” to overcome. If you like to gamble, if you call yourself a gamblin’ man, (first stop calling yourself this…you should never give yourself a nickname) think about going in on the futures bet for deGrom to win the NL Most Valuable Player hardware.

Your Special Baseball Moment Of The Week

How about that summer solstice? Did you enjoy it this year? What’s that, you missed it again? It’s understandable, since the solstice is less important to us today than it was back when we were small bands of people who survived on agriculture and worshipped the God of Rutabaga.

But last week on June 21, the date of the annual summer solstice (which occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun), another annual event took place, this one in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Midnight Sun Game has been played for more than 100 years at midnight on the summer solstice when the sun is out nearly 24 hours a day in Fairbanks, which likes to call itself the northern-most city in the United States.This year, more than 3,000 fans watched the Alaska Goldpanners defeat the Everett Merchants, 3-0. At first pitch, the sun crested over the horizon and well…just stayed there, like it always does that time of year in Fairbanks. The photo of the Midnight Sun Game below is from 2016. Two future Hall of Famers have appeared in the Midnight Sun Game: Tom Seaver and Dave Winfield.

About the Author
Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes

Writer and Contributor
Dan Holmes is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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