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Expert handicapper Ben Rolfe has studied the market and tells us who he's backing for NL MVP

BEST BET: (2u) Christian Yelich @ +750

  • Yelich has been among the top two in the National League in WAR in each of the last two years

The reason we’re backing Yelich

Yelich came extremely close to becoming the first player in a decade to win back-to-back National League MVP awards last season. In fact, as per the Fangraphs leader boards he actually tied the winner of the MVP award, Cody Bellinger, with a WAR of 7.8, despite playing 26 games left. Had Yelich of seen over 600 PA last season then there is a more than realistic chance we would be talking about the reigning MVP here.

Since arriving in Milwaukee, Yelich’s career has taken off. In Miami, he was a solid contributor across the board, but with the Brewers he has firmly established himself as one of the elite hitters in Major League Baseball right now. In the last two seasons, Yelich has 80 home runs, 52 stolen bases, a .327 batting average and 425 combined runs and RBI. In a park that offers plenty for hitters, I expect to see Yelich right there when it comes to the MVP discussions in the second half of the season.

(1u) Ronald Acuna @ +1000

  • Acuna hit 41 home runs and stole 37 bases while combining for 228 runs and RBI in 2019

The reason we’re backing Acuna

Acuna is one of three young superstars we are going to feature here. He exploded onto the scene in 2018, but his follow up performance in 2019 was perhaps even more impressive. The only slight concern when it comes to Acuna has been his strikeout rate over 25%, which was the second highest among top-20 hitters in 2019. In just two years in the majors, Acuna has hit 67 home runs, stolen 53 bases and combined for 370 runs and RBI. When you also consider one of those two years was slightly shortened due to service time issues then those numbers are even more impressive. Acuna is all set to put together a monster season in 2020, as he continues to develop in the majors. Additionally, Acuna is on a similar path to last years MVP, Bellinger, who won rookie of the year two years prior to taking home the MVP award. If Acuna’s career follows a similar trajectory, then 2020 could very well be his year.

(1u) Juan Soto @ +1000

  • Soto led the Washington Nationals to a World Series in 2019 at the age of 20

The reason we’re backing Soto

The only slight concern here is that Soto may feel the pressure that comes with being a World Series Champion in 2020. Last season he was a huge part of the Nationals march to the title, making regular clutch plays and proving he is more than capable of handling himself on the biggest stage. It was not as if he was bad in the regular season either, as he hit 34 home runs, stole 12 bases and combined for 220 runs and RBI. Soto has shown a lot of promise through his first two seasons in the majors and has the opportunity to play a starring role with a lot of attention focused on the defending World Series Champions in 2020.

(0.5u) Pete Alonso @ +3400

  • Alonso won NL Rookie of the Year in 2019 hitting 53 home runs in the process

The reason we’re backing Alonso

Alonso’s 2019 season may not have been one of beauty, but it was one of brutality and domination for the young hitter. Alonso cleared the fences an impressive 53 times on his way to winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award. He will now be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Kris Bryant, who followed up a 2015 NL ROTY award with an MVP award in 2016. However, Alonso will have to make history for the Mets in order to win the MVP award. No Mets player has ever won the MVP award, despite the team having had six ROTY awards. Alonso certainly has the talent but can the Mets challenge deep enough into 2020 to make him a viable candidate is perhaps the biggest question. Even if they cannot, a small wager on Alonso is extremely likely to be a fun wager to get to follow in 2020.

Article Author


Ben is a football guru with years of experience covering the NFL. You can always count on Ben to pick a winner on Sunday!


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