Both Mike Trout and Bryce Harper signed monster contracts this offseason, but are they the best value bets to win MVP this season?
A little more than two weeks after free agent Bryce Harper inked a 13-year deal worth $330 million with the Philadelphia Phillies, Mike Trout outdid him with a 12-year contract for $430 million to become the highest-paid professional athlete of all-time. Trout officially agreed to remain with the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, and he and Harper are the favorites to win MVP honors at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Trout is hoping he can make good on that money by putting together another MVP-caliber season as the American League favorite to take home the award for a third time at +150 (bet $100 to win $150). Meanwhile, Harper is listed as the NL favorite at +600 to win MVP for a second time overall and first time with his new team the Phillies.
But neither Trout nor Harper has earned the MVP award over the previous two seasons as All-Star outfielders, with the latter previously playing for the Washington Nationals. Harper won NL MVP in 2015 when he slugged a career-high 42 home runs and hit a career-best .330. Trout won AL MVP in 2014 and 2016, and an argument could be made for him winning it in 2015, 2017 and 2018 if the Angels were not so bad.
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve won AL MVP two years ago while Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts earned the honor last year. Altuve and Betts each took home bigger prizes though those particular seasons, with both winning a World Series.
However, taking home a title is icing on the cake for these star players, with outfielder Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers falling short last season during his NL MVP-winning campaign. A year earlier, Giancarlo Stanton put up mind-boggling numbers for the Miami Marlins with Yelich as a teammate in winning NL MVP for a poor Miami Marlins squad before cashing in with a big offer from the New York Yankees.
Picking this season's MVP winners right now is difficult, but winning should definitely be part of the equation. That said, Stanton's current teammate Aaron Judge is a best bet for AL MVP at +700 on those MLB odds because he is more than capable of putting the Yankees over the top this year. Stanton is +2500, which shows you how much Judge means to the team.
In the NL, Paul Goldschmidt is another best bet in his first season as the first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals after coming over in a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Goldschmidt's odds offer a lot of value at +1200 now that he is playing for a much better team capable of winning the Central Division and the pennant if all goes well.