AL MVP prediction and odds: Angels ace Shohei Ohtani still the choice

Jimmie Foxx, Hal Newhouser, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Frank Thomas and Miguel Cabrera. You know what these seven names all have in common? They’re the only ones to win back-to-back American League MVPs. You know who’s next to join that list? Two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani.

And with +100 odds still available on Ohtani for AL MVP via FanDuel, you need to jump on it now. Every sportsbook has Ohtani as the current favorite for AL MVP, but none are offering +100 odds or better other than FanDuel. This is as good as it gets. 

Ohtani definitely had a better first half offensively in 2021 — led MLB with 33 home runs, .698 slugging percentage, .419 isolated power and four triples — compared to this season. But he’s been a much better pitcher before the All-Star break this year — 9-4 with a 2.38 ERA in 15 starts and the second-best SO/9 (12.72) in baseball — than he was last year. And “Showtime” is pitching better than ever right now. In his last six starts, Ohtani is 6-0 with a minuscule 0.45 ERA. It gets better, though. During that span of 39.2 innings pitched, Ohtani has allowed just two runs, has struck out 58 batters, walked just 11 and yielded just 20 hits. Not bad, right? 

Best of all, he doesn’t need to remain this dominant to repeat as MVP. If Ohtani can hit 30 home runs, drive in 80 runs, steal 20 bases, win 11 games, strike out 160 batters and make 20-25 starts — all stats he’s on pace to meet or surpass — there’s no reason Ohtani won’t repeat as AL MVP. Is it fair to other position players, specifically Aaron Judge, that Ohtani gets to impact the game in more than just way? Maybe, maybe not. But who said anything about fair and unfair?

As we saw last year and in years past, Ohtani playing on a bad team doesn’t matter. The fact he doesn’t play the field — outside of when he pitches — doesn’t matter. As long as Ohtani doesn’t miss significant time due to injury for the remainder of the season, it’s going to be hard, almost impossible for anyone else to win AL MVP. Ohtani might not win unanimously like he did a year ago, but he should still win. 

The Play: Bet Shohei Ohtani for AL MVP (+100 odds via FanDuel)

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