Only a few weeks left of the MLB season, so now is the time to take a look at our updated MLB player prop picks for 2021.
Can Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Win AL MVP?
|To Win AL MVP|
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||+850|
A few weeks ago, it seemed all but certain Shohei Ohtani would win the AL MVP award. With about 20 games left, he is still the favourite – but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is making it a race to the finish.
Vlad Jr. recently passed Ohtani for the league lead in home runs. Vlad also entered play on September 14 leading the AL in batting average, runs scored, and hits. He is four RBIs behind Jose Abreu. If he can catch Abreu, he would become only the second player since 1967 (Miguel Cabrera in 2012) to win the MLB Triple Crown.
Now, the question for voters (and bettors) is what is more impressive – Shohei Ohtani’s pitching and hitting numbers or a 22-year-old winning the Triple Crown. One thing to consider is Vlad’s Triple Crown could be more impressive than Cabrera’s. Cabrera did not lead the AL in hits or runs scores – something Vlad is currently doing. Vlad’s numbers this season are also historic for his age – matched closest by Joe DiMaggio in 1937.
Players 22 or younger with 45+ homers in a season:
💥 Vladdy Jr. (2021)
💥 Johnny Bench (1970)
💥 Eddie Mathews (1953)
💥 Joe DiMaggio (1937)
Elite Company 🏆 pic.twitter.com/Kph96FVmz7
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 14, 2021
MLB voters do not value team success as much as any other sport, which is one knock against Vlad Jr. The Blue Jays are the hottest team in baseball and hold a Wild Card spot. The Los Angeles Angels are well out of the postseason picture despite Shohei Ohtani (and Mike Trout).
Ohtani’s pitching numbers have slipped a bit, which could hurt his MVP candidacy, especially if Vlad continues to tear apart the baseball. Overall, the MLB odds on Vlad Jr. are worth betting him to win the AL MVP.
NL MVP Prediction – Fernando Tatis Jr. the Player to Back
|To Win NL MVP|
|Fernando Tatis Jr.||-240|
With a few weeks to go in the season, Fernando Tatis Jr. is still the leading choice to win NL MVP. That is despite missing 32 games. Tatis leads the NL with 38 dingers this season and a slugging percentage of .629. That is also despite a dip in production after the All-Star Game.
The challenge for Tatis is the San Diego Padres face an absolute gauntlet to end the season. Every team on the Padres remaining schedule has a winning percentage. The schedule includes multiple series against the Giants – who Tatis is only batting .208 against this season.
However, even if Tatis struggles against the Giants, he is still the best bet to win the NL MVP. His hitting numbers are better than Freddie Freeman – who has 30 more games played than Tatis. Bryce Harper has a better OPS than Tatis (1.032 vs. .997) but has 13 fewer extra-base hits and 17 fewer stolen bases.
For Harper to catch Tatis, he will need another three weeks of batting .341 (which is his average since the All-Star Game). That number has dipped to .316 in September, although he does have six home runs in 11 games. However, he has not doubled this month – which could cause his OPS to dip if the home run totals cool.
AL Cy Young Predictions – Gerrit Cole or Robbie Ray?
|To Win AL Cy Young|
An injury to Cole to his last start versus Robbie Ray’s worst start in over a month have these two locked in a tight race for AL Cy Young with a half-dozen series left to go on the schedule. In Cole’s return last night, he was dependable against the Orioles. He did not do much to strengthen or weaken his case for the award.
Ray gets the go in a matinee showdown today against the Rays. He has pitched the Rays excellently in two starts this season. Ray has given up only six earned runs in 27.0 innings (2.00 ERA). He has struck out 33 to only three walks in those four games.
If Ray pitches well, he could become the new favourite to win the award. And even if he does not, he still has better value. He will get another shot at the Rays next week. Plus starts against the Twins and Orioles to end the season. The path is there for Robbie Ray to win the Cy Young.
NL Cy Young Prediction – Max Scherzer Feels like a Sure-Thing
|To Win NL Cy Young|
It is crazy to look at Max Scherzer right now – age 36, three Cy Young Awards, 2019 World Series Champion – and think, this is the best he has ever pitched in his career. Since joining the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade, Scherzer is unhittable.
Max Scherzer got his 3,000th K this past weekend.
Has he locked up the Cy Young? pic.twitter.com/OuRsRhs4Wa
— Stadium (@Stadium) September 14, 2021
In eight games with the Dodgers, Scherzer sports a 0.88 ERA, 0.667 WHIP, .158 opponents batting average, and .419 opponents OPS. When he won consecutive Cy Youngs with the Nationals his ERA was 2.75, WHIP 0.937, opponents batting average .189 and OPS .594. His total numbers for 2021 with Washington and the Dodgers are better than that.
He is doing what Jacob DeGrom was earlier in the season. Before his injury, he was the consensus pick to win the Cy Young. However, with 92.0 innings pitched, he fails to qualify for the award. That makes Scherzer the favourite and our pick to win the NL Cy Young.
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