The American League’s Los Angeles Angels and the National League’s Chicago Cubs are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of how they finished the 2016 season.
However, the Angels and Cubs were each led by young players who ended up winning MVP honors last year, with both of them listed as the betting favorites to take home the award again this year at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Despite playing for a team coming off a losing campaign, Los Angeles' Mike Trout will be going for his third AL MVP in his seventh season. Trout is a +125 favorite (bet $100 to win $125) to repeat, and he will be looking for the players around him to perform a lot better and get the Angels back over the .500 mark in 2016.
It is almost unfathomable that Trout would win the award yet again if Los Angeles does not have a winning record.
Meanwhile, Chicago’s Kris Bryant will try for two NL MVPs in three years of his MLB career after helping his club win the World Series last October. Bryant could not have played much better in his first two seasons, following up his 2015 Rookie of the Year performance with an MVP and World Series title, all by the age of 25 years old.
The Las Vegas native is +225 chalk to beat fellow Sin City resident Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals to a second MVP award. Harper is the +300 second choice to win it for the first time since 2015 even though he suffered through a disappointing 2016.
After posting career-best numbers by hitting .330 with 42 home runs and 99 RBI two years ago, Harper's batting average plummeted to .243 with 24 homers and 86 RBI last season. It is hard to believe that Harper is still younger than Trout and Bryant at 24.
Trout’s top competition in the AL looks to come from 2015 MVP winner Josh Donaldson (+650) of the Toronto Blue Jays and Manny Machado (+650) of the Baltimore Orioles. Donaldson is the oldest of the players mentioned here at 31, while Machado is also 24.
Another youngster who may challenge Bryant and Harper in the National League is 22-year-old shortstop Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Seager is the +800 third choice to win MVP behind the former winners, and his candidacy will likely depend on whether or not he can follow a similar trajectory to Bryant after winning Rookie of the Year in 2016 and the Dodgers can also find a way to repeat as NL West champions.