Chase Utley: One of the Best Ever

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American League MVP Sleepers

 As I talked about in my national league article, there is nothing more fun than scanning through the betting odds for sporting awards. Sometimes you'll see something really silly (like Kyle Schwarber being one of the top favorites for National League MVP) or sometimes you will find a hidden gem (Steven Kwan was +7500 to win rookie of the year last year. Sure, he didn't win, but he finished third. He probably had something like the 50th best odds. I bet a lot on both him and Julio (along with some on Adley after his midseason breakout) and made a lot of money on Julio. Point is, Kwan +7500 was an all time value.) Let's look at the current preseason odds for 2023 AL MVP and see if there are any goofy lines/hidden gems.

Jose Trevino +30000

There is a zero percent chance that Jose Trevino wins MVP. Not a 0.1% chance, not a 0.01% chance, a 0% chance. He simply does not have the skillset to have an MVP level season. He is a very good player and is arguably better than certain players who do have the skillset to breakout to an MVP level, but he simply does not have the ability to do so on his own. It's crazy that he has better MVP odds than Corbin Carroll.

Danny Jansen +30000

Unlike Trevino, Jansen certainly has a path to win an MVP. It would start with a significant injury to Alejandro Kirk that allows Jansen to maintain full time catching duties. This is not necessarily a likely outcome, but is is certainly a plausible one. I see Jansen as an offensive threat with a very strong all around skillset and a high ceiling. Is he one of the very best catchers in the league? No, but he certainly has that capability for a breakout. He has the defensive chops to at least variance his way into an excellent season, and he would be in the middle of an excellent lineup. Again, these are 300 to 1 odds, and I'm not saying the guy is a superstar. If you're a Blue Jays fan who isn't too fond of Alejandro Kirk for some reason, then this might be a fun little bet to toss a few bucks on.

Steven Kwan +25000

As much as I love Steven Kwan, I think he simply doesn't have the ability to win an MVP. +25000 odds might still be worth it, but it just doesn't seem probable at all for me. Let's put it this way: Steven Kwan has a significantly higher chance of being a hall of famer than being an MVP winner.

Riley Greene +25000

Riley Greene, on the other hand, seems like excellent value at +25000. The guy had a solid age 21 season, good enough that it inspires confidence for me without being good enough that it inspires the oddsmakers to move him the front of the line. The guy is a star center field prospect with all of the skills needed to breakout if he puts things together. Surely he would win once every 250 years.

Randy Arozarena +15000

There was a time that I would be chomping at the bit to throw down money on Arozarena. He certainly has the raw ability to become a true MVP player, but at this point, the guy is 28 and is just as frustrating as ever. He is still an excellent player, but his defensive and baserunning lapses make it hard to believe that he has a true shot at MVP. Still, once every 150 years doesn't seem too improbable. 

Gunnar Henderson +10000

Gunnar is the AL's version of Corbin Carroll. Truly excellent player that is already established despite still being a rookie. The oddsmakers respect him a bit more than Corbin, but I still think Gunnar easily wins this award once every 100 theoretical years. A superstar breakout season with plus defense at the hot corner for a blossoming Orioles team is exactly what the MVP voters ordered. 

Teoscar Hernandez +7500

I do NOT think this is a good bet. I'm a little confused as to why Teoscar has better odds than Randy when they are extremely similar players, with the exception that Randy is younger and better. 

Jose Altuve +7500

The dude is coming off of one of his best career seasons and has 75 to 1 odds? Yes, please. The playoffs are a concern but c'mon now. I think Altuve is a guy whose quality as a player exceeds his chances of actually winning an MVP at this stage in his career, (not unlike Steven Kwan), but 75 to 1 for one of the best players in baseball is too juicy to pass up.

Adley Rutschman +2500

This isn't exactly a steal, but the dude has MVP written all over him. One of the best prospects we've seen, has an incredible rookie season, and is poised to follow it up with an exceptional sophomore year. Buster Posey won an MVP very easily, and Adley has a good chance to be on that level. Him winning once every 25 years seems like easy value.

Shohei Ohtani +200

The rest of the guys are solid bets, but Ohtani is the real value here. The dude just put up 9.0 and 9.6 rWAR in back to back seasons, and it just feels like his best is yet to come. His competition isn't nearly as stiff as you would think (Judge obviously took home the award last year, but it's hard to see him performing like that again. No one else is really built like that at the current moment, at least with Trout's massive injury concern.) In my opinion, he should be the odds on favorite every year until we have to ask whether or not he is in his prime. For now, especially with the shift being banned, this should be a no brainer. With the pitch clock and banned shift, Ohtani could easily pitch 150 innings of plus plus ball, steal 50 bases, hit over 300 and hit over 40 home runs. No one is winning the award over him unless they literally break a mainstream record yet again.