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Aaron Judge MVP Odds: Where Does the Red-Hot Slugger Rank Among AL Contenders?

The 2022 MLB season is shaping up nicely. The Yankees' star right fielder Aaron Judge has powered his way through to the top five in the AL MVP race. Ryan Kirksey breaks down the MLB AL MVP odds.
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Aaron Judge MVP Odds: Where Does the Red-Hot Slugger Rank Among AL Contenders?

The Yankees' star right fielder Aaron Judge has powered his way through to the top five in the AL MVP race. But where does he rank among the other players that are in consideration? Ryan Kirksey breaks down the MLB AL MVP odds.

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Byron Buxton AL MVP Odds: (+1600, Previous: +2000) (Bet $100 to Win $1600)

Knock on wood, grab your lucky charm, and cross your fingers because we already have 25 games out of Buxton despite some injury scares early on. That puts us at a 107-game pace for Buxton this year and with a little bit of luck we could get up to 125. That may not be enough for the MVP numbers race, but if there is anyone that can match the stats of the rest of the players on this list with a fraction of the games, it's Buxton.

Thanks to an impressive 11 home runs in 25 games, Buxton's .649 slugging percentage is the highest of his career. He needs to cut down on the strikeouts a bit (28.6%), but it's not an awful number. What is scary, however, is that Buxton's BABIP of .226 suggests there could be some positive regression coming his way. We may never get eight+ steals again, but the power profile is off-the-charts legit and would be enough to get him an MVP if he ever played 140 games again.

When it was confirmed that Buxton was not seriously injured, his odds began to shorten again, leading to where we are now with him as a +1600 longshot. He certainly has the talent so if this is the year you think he plays 135+ games, a few bets on Buxton is not the worst idea in the world.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. AL MVP Odds: (+1000, Previous: +350) (Bet $100 to Win $1000)

Guerrero has seen a slight drop off in his power in the month of May, but his biggest mistake this month is simply not being Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, or Shohei Ohtani. Even with strong season numbers, Guerrero sees his odds lengthen considerably due to the massive months of the players who follow him on this list.

We always knew that Vlad's numbers from his MVP runner-up year in 2021 would regress somewhat. So we shouldn't be surprised when he settles in as a .290 hitter with a .500 slugging percentage instead of the .300/.400/.600 version we got last year. Through the first six weeks of the season, there is a big three that has separated themselves in the MVP discussion, and Vlad would need to go on a monster offensive tear to catch them at this point.

Aaron Judge AL MVP Odds: (+550, Previous: Unranked) (Bet $100 to Win $550)

Aaron Judge's May batting numbers look like something out of a video you set to easy mode. He is slashing .322/.388/.763 with a crazy .441 ISO that shows how much power he has been contributing. In his 15 May games, Judge has eight home runs, 17 RBI, and 16 runs and has helped lead the Yankees to a season-best 28-9 record.

Below, I will ask some version of the question, "what would a hitter have to do to dethrone Ohtani's brilliance on both sides of the ball?" Well, the answer is a season like Judge is having right now. At his current pace of 0.4 home runs per game, Judge would finish the season with the magical 62 home runs. Of course, playing in Yankee Stadium would make that number all the more impressive considering the Babe Ruth and Roger Maris numbers of years past.

He is charging his way up the odds as quickly as anyone I have ever seen, but there is still great meat on the bone at +550. If the Yankees have a historic season, there is a high likelihood that a season like Judge is having would be rewarded. Aaron Judge seems to have great AL MVP odds.

Mike Trout Jr. AL MVP Odds: (+500, Previous: +800) (Bet $100 to Win $500)

Here is what I wrote exactly one month ago today about Trout's place in the MVP odds race:

"In terms of betting these MVP odds, +800 does look a whole lot better than +500 when you're talking about the best all-around player in baseball. But I don't see myself heavily investing here until I see the gargantuan numbers and a long stretch of good health. Will I miss on +800 with that route? Likely so, but I'll take +500 or +600 if we start to get the MVP Trout of old."

Well, the gargantuan numbers have shown up again and Trout is back down to +500 and second in the race just that quickly. In May, Trout is slashing .317/.414/.683 with six home runs and 13 RBI. For the season, he is second in both WAR (2.6) and wRC+ (223) and is once again looking like the most dominant offensive force in the game. He can't compete with Ohtani's pitching resume, of course, but Trout may just be in line for another MVP if this pace keeps up.

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Shohei Ohtani AL MVP Odds: (+250, Previous: +350) (Bet $100 to Win $2500)

Ohtani wasn't anything special with the bat in April, hitting just .247/.295/.427 for the month, but he has certainly picked it up in May. His OBP is up to .316 and his slugging sits at .478 as he begins to rediscover the power stroke that allowed him to hit over 40 bombs last year.

But it's the pitching where Ohtani has really made some huge strides. Among pitchers with at least 35 innings this year, Ohtani ranks sixth in WAR and strikeout rate and is down to a 2.82 ERA on the year. But perhaps the best news is that his walk rate is down to just 2.11 per nine innings. A career-high first-pitch strike percentage (63.5%) is setting him up well against hitters this year.

The combination of improvements in all areas led to his odds dropping to an unusually low +250 for this time of year. But it's hard to imagine any other hitter could do enough to match the offense and pitching that Ohtani can contribute.


OddsTeamPrevious Odds
+250Shohei Ohtani +350
+500Mike Trout Jr. +800
+550Aaron JudgeUnranked
+1000Vladimir Guerrero Jr.+350
+1600Byron Buxton+2000

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Proudest husband and dad you will ever find. When I'm not with my wife and two kids I split my time working in higher ed, grinding DFS and season-long, collecting silver age comics, studying behavioral economics, and drinking coffee. I once played Pat Connaughton in an actual NBA DFS lineup for money. Astros, Rockets, and Texans for life.


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